Zatikon – Jazz it up with Zatikon!

Apr30 Or is that Jazz it up with Zatarain’s?  We’re not talking about rice.  We’re talking about the new game Zatikon from Chronic Logic.  Chronic Logic is the company that made Gish, or at least I think so.  Actually when you look at their website they have a lot of games, more than most companies that have been in the business for as long as they have.  Apparently according to Wikipedia they also publish (or is that distribute) indie games from other authors.  It’s cool though, I’m fairly certain Zatikon is a Chronic Logic Original.  They’re so awesome they’ve got their own MobyGames entry!  Or at least they must be awesome, because not everyone has an entry on MobyGames ;-)  And why the heck am I gushing, I don’t even really know the company.  I played the Gish demo like once (before I was reviewing games) and found it too odd for my tastes.  Okay okay, so what is Zatikon?  It’s some sort of strategy game, like chess (but not really like chess) or Stratego (okay maybe more like that, umm I don’t know).  Let’s find out about this interesting game.

ZatikonSS03 So I fired it up and the first thing that happened was it ran through some update thingy.  Then after that I had to make an account.  Even though it’s the demo, wait a sec, apparently the game is free, however, you get more stuff if you register.  Not really sure how this works out.  Maybe it’s true shareware, or maybe they just goofed?  I don’t know.  In any case, I was taken to the tutorial first off.  The game is about landing on your opponent’s castle which is located opposite of you.  (In this case you are on the bottom, the opponent which in my case was the computer, was at the top.)  These castles are presented on a chess-like checkered board.  Each turn you have five “commands” you can issue (or more or less, it depends on the game or level I think).  First thing you want to do is deploy men.  In the right hand side bar are buttons for which type of man you want to deploy, such as Knight, Archer, Pikeman, and so forth.  Each of these figures has certain places they can move on the board, and certain range they have for their attacks.  Deploying, moving and attacking all have their command cost.  Once your commands are done, you can end your turn.  There is a small time limit to the turns about 1 minute 30 seconds, which, if you don’t use up your commands by then the turn automatically proceeds to the other player.  Otherwise use up your commands, and end your turn when you’re done.

ZatikonSS01 Man there’s a lot to this game, in fact there’s a free game guide on the Chronic Logic website to help you out.  It’s turned based strategy at it’s finest.  Sort of a cross between Risk and Chess I guess you would say.  I was mistaken earlier about the free verses not free stuff.  It appears the base game is free, however there are “campaigns” or add-on packs which you must pay for which adds various units and things.  As far as the interface goes, it’s pretty easy to control.  Mostly point and click.  There’s buttons in the sidebar on the right.  There are squares that light up and tell you where to move and attack.  Because deployment costs turns they turn gray and you can’t use them until your next turn.  There seemed to be a lack of a pause button, however, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe you can exit to the menu and resume then or something, I’m not sure because I didn’t read about a command or option to do so.  Other than that it’s pretty easy to play.  When you finally win, you end up getting gold for it, which you can later purchase other units (other types of men or whatever) than the defaults.  There is more than just single player though.  There’s the “constructed” game, which means armies you’ve created, and you get to play against other’s on the internet.  Random is internet play with a random army.  You can play online cooperative against the computer.  In any case a lot of choices.

ZatikonSS02 The graphics are decent.  It seems to be composed of mostly real old time artwork.  (Real paintings), and the music in the menu is like classical.  In the game, the artwork is adequate,  iconized depictions of your army on a checkered board.  The sounds are adequate too.  Sorry I don’t have much to say, they didn’t impress me, but they didn’t depress me either :-)

Final Analysis:  This is fun like Chess, and risk, and games like that are fun.  I will probably play some more soon, I invite you to give it a try, because the base game is free.  You will like it.  It comes in Windows, Mac OSX and Linux flavors.

Name: Zatikon

Developer: Chronic Logic

Price: Free (add-on’s cost money though)

Where you can get it:  Here

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