Zoria: Age of Shattering


Review by · March 7, 2024

Over the last five years, turn-based RPG fans have been blessed with a range of options on PC. The recent commercial and critical success of Baldur’s Gate 3 has shifted the genre back to the mainstream, with many gamers keen to explore similar offerings. Tiny Trinket Games developed their single-player entry, Zoria: Age of Shattering (Zoria), over the last seven years, with the small team recently moving to full-time work to complete their opus project. While it does not reinvent the genre and stumbles on style and presentation, Zoria is a bright and breezy tactical RPG offering a generous helping of character options, oodles of colorful loot, and an added flavor of survival and base-building mechanics.

The game begins with the customized creation of the player avatar, Captain Witherel, before selecting a class from nine available options. Class choices are rooted in genre staples, including the slow-moving Sentinels, who can absorb immense damage, or Rangers, who can operate more effectively at range, lay traps, and pin down opponents. Each class has a varied ability tree to upgrade as they gain experience and level up. In a more unique twist, they also have abilities that interact with the map during exploration.

From here, the story opens with an illustrated montage: The nation of Iziria seeks to violently occupy the kingdom of Elion and is close to victory. The Izirian use of forbidden Death and Necromancy magic seems to give them an edge, and it becomes the Captain’s mission to hold the Elion line and turn back this tide. The story is nothing spectacular, but it does tell a narrative that goes deeper than geopolitical conflict, and the cosmic revelations towards the latter end offer a different spin on the rural, high-fantasy world it begins in.

To complete this mission, the Captain and up to four followers (who can be recruited throughout the story) explore area maps in real-time, journeying to sites of interest and undertaking main and side quests. Some areas of the map are only accessible to specific classes, so this adds a gentle persuasion to expand your team and try alternative party formations. The followers do have some personality, but it is limited.

Zoria is a brightly defined world at the standard zoom level, but it’s not unique compared to other rural, high-fantasy settings. It contains several biomes: grasslands, ancient keeps, crystal caves and suchlike. Even with incidental details and scenery, they are not inspired nor do they display eye-catching style in the same way as The Iron Oath or Ruined King: A League of Legends Story. Characters and creatures are also painted in lush, primary colors, although their design does not push the boundaries of the genre either: wolves, bandits, and golems are the expected sort of enemy fodder.

A player character navigating through some dark trees in a top-down view in Zoria: Age of Shattering.
We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one.

Combat smoothly switches to turn-based using a gridless map and two-action economy system. Battles are quick and don’t bother with specific victory conditions or annoying escort or timed missions — it’s all purely a fight to the death. At this point, class abilities are used frequently, as well as characters’ underlying statistics, such as strength or magical attack. Abilities are not flashy or cinematic, and graphical effects are pretty low-key. Magic abilities require mana, while others require Focus gained by using basic attacks and fighting continuous battles. The more the party engages in combat, the more fatigued it becomes, which reduces character stats significantly. Resting at camp reduces fatigue, assuming the party has enough supplies. This means regularly rotating your formation is a key strategy in this aspect too, and even more important considering how valuable supplies become in the other core systems of the game.

There is a unique kink to this approach. As combat initiates from a real-time map with enemies freely moving around, it is simple to lure a single mob member to a quiet corner of the map and pulverize them. Rinse. Repeat. I realized that I could lure over individual enemies for most of the combats in the game, aside from a few set-piece battles if I so desired. But this soon becomes a more thoughtful choice between lots of small, fatigue-draining combats or larger combats luring in more foes. In these battles, where I was trying to save on having to rest too often in order to use supplies and consumables elsewhere, the full range of character abilities came into play and the game felt most tactical.

A character luring several enemies at once into combat in Zoria.
Shoulda just took ’em one at a time round the back…

Looting, upgrading, and crafting items is another central system in Zoria. A massive array of options should appeal to those who love working a good stat boost. In some ways, it’s almost too much. The amount of loot lying around the very first map area and available after the very first combat is significant, and it never stops. Everyone drops loot. Everything. Most barrels have something useful lurking within. Crystal formations stand silently, waiting to be harvested. Mushrooms await. Coupling the sheer amount of loot and craftable items with the fact that every weapon or armor piece is uniquely named, statted, and rarity-coded, this approach becomes genuinely dizzying. There’s undeniable fun in knowing that every combat drops something that might be useful, and this design choice only adds to the larger-than-life approach the game takes. But still, if you’re not into the fastidious organization of many item types and the accompanying storage faff, this may not be your bag.

The options don’t end there. In short order, the Captain gains access to a fort that offers free resting, a place to craft items, and different buildings to upgrade. These are standard fantasy tropes: an inn that unlocks cooking recipes or an alchemy lab that unlocks more advanced and powerful consumable mixtures. There’s even a missions board that followers not currently in the party participate in to gain experience and acquire rare resources. Building upgrades require a team of specific classes to research in real time, reinforcing the need to gain and use a range of followers. The whole raft of improvements links cleverly with the survival systems. Upgrades and missions require supplies and money, which puts a further choice on how much you portion these precious basic resources.

This push and pull of timed systems and portioning of supplies and money offers Zoria’s most strategic aspect. I need supplies to complete follower missions and to build my fort, but I also need them to heal and rest when I’m out exploring. Or I need my Focus to be high and want to make use of my timed stat buffs when I’m out in the field, but the longer I spend wandering around, the more I lose these benefits in combat. It can get even more compelling: maybe there’s a nearby Shrine to buff my stamina — do I take the risk of using it now to complete a quest using a semi-battered party, or do I leave it and rest, losing all my stored Focus and buffs? Heck, do I even have the right follower to activate the Shrine? Do I head back to the fort to think again?

This risk/reward dynamic adds originality to the game that isn’t found much elsewhere in the genre, and it’s a design that offers a level of choice in how players address the game and what balance of priorities they want to give to their fort, item crafting, and their combat readiness. It’s perfectly viable to focus on keeping your core party rested and not focus on your fortress or crafting. Equally, you could pour everything into having the widest range of followers leveled up and equipped and avoid having to rest too often by using them more frequently. It also makes onboarding for those newer to the genre very welcoming; you can’t really go too wrong on the easiest difficulty playing the game your way.

Inside a dim building with a few bright blue lights and big structures to the front, left, and right in Zoria.
A rarity: no loot on screen.

Some issues hold Zoria back. Combat selection can be fiddly, both through the hotbar and enemy selection in combat. This is compounded by a smallish default text size with no way to resize it. There are other odd choices too, such as how you can highlight interactive containers and switches but not enemies, some of whom can be difficult to see in the darker maps. Inventory management could also be improved — while there’s a handy tab for each character to show equippable items, the selection does not default to this, and considering how much loot there is, this is a lot of extra clicks.

These quirks also extend to the general presentation: past chapter summaries in the game journal disappeared for me, and unsolvable quests remained in my ‘incomplete’ log. There are occasional typos and awkward sentences in the dialogue, and the fact that this is only partially voiced (sometimes stopping midway through a character’s single spoken response) makes the effort feel abrupt. The narrator voice offers the most consistent approach, but even this has sections that are left silent. Music is also largely bombastic and pretty uninspiring; you can pretty much guess the scoring for the gloomy caves, misty swamplands, and besieged fort. It all served to take me out of the game world after dozens of hours rather than absorb me in it.

There are other odd logic presentations to consider: friendly NPCs exist in the world, but if you initiate combat in their proximity they will remain oblivious. This includes your military. The party can be running from a horde of chasing enemies and still access a merchant along the way for as long as is needed. And these dudes never stop chasing. Any lured enemy stays with you for as long as you want to click. Again, it took me out of the world and offered a reminder that the nicely crafted scenarios and interactivity with the story would only go so far. I get that Zoria is not aiming to be a fully interactive RPG, and that combat takes precedence, but logic like this just seems off.

Overall, Zoria: Age of Shattering is an engaging tactical RPG with a few drawbacks involving its presentation and graphics. It offers a wide range of player choice and class synergies, and the survival mechanics add to this. I had to genuinely think hard about prioritizing party survival, creating new weapons/armor, or upgrading my fort. Tiny Trinket Games is a small indie team working in a complex genre, and I hope to see them accomplish more in the same vein; their passion is palpable. Zoria won’t shatter your expectations, but it will meet them if you relish the clever interplay of turn-based combat, survival, and crafting systems.


Lots of character options and abilities, combat is pacey and smoothly implemented, tons of unique loot to find and craft, survival mechanics offer compelling choices.


Presentation issues can take you out of the world, story a little lackluster, loot can become overwhelming and inventory systems could be more robust, visuals are bright and bold but lack detail and originality.

Bottom Line

Zoria can offer a compelling tactical experience, but presentation and graphical weaknesses dull the shine.

Overall Score 81
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Mark Roddison

Mark Roddison

Hi, I'm Mark! I've spent most of my life in the education sector, but away from this world I like nothing more than to slip into a good fantasy or sci-fi setting, be it a good book film, TV series, game, or tabletop option! If it is a game, you won't find me too far from the turn-based games. From Final Fantasy, to Shadow Hearts, to Baldurs Gate, to the Trails series, all have me hooked. When not indulging in cerebral turn-based nirvanas, I enjoy soccer, fitness, and music where I tutor keyboard and guitar professionally, as well as having an unhealthy obsession for progressive metal as well as some 80s synthwave. I nearly forgot I also have a lovely wife and little boy who also make great co-players! :-p