Similar to Super Mario Run before it, Fire Emblem Heroes is attempting to be two different things at the same time. First, it’s Nintendo’s major new release and the latest entry in a long-running and much respected turn-based strategy franchise from the well-known studio, Intelligent Systems. Since it has a dedicated fan base, it has a lot to prove. Second, it’s a free to play mobile game and designed in part to get players to come out with cash to play longer or to unlock new characters. These two differing aspects should make gamers somewhat feel at odds with this game. However, for the most part, Heroes balances the two disparate aspects, and this result in a streamlined game that almost resembles Fire Emblem, but in a game that will feel really at home inside your phone and while playing it.
The core of Heroes similar to Fire Emblem games is its turn-based battles. You take turns moving units with your opponent on a 2D board, similar to what you do in chess. The goal of the game is to wipe out the other side before they can similarly massacre you. There are different and various soldiers that can be used such as axe-wielding knights, ranged archers, mages with healing spells, as well as different maps that require unique strategies for each. And the best thing with the combat in the game is the sense of scale. Skirmishes are much smaller in scale because each map is designed to fit entirely on your phone’s screen. Thus, your team of soldiers is limited to four, and this is definitely small compared to the dozen-strong armies you see in other games. This setup strikes up a nice compromise. It’s just big enough to require strategizing, and yet fast enough to play on the go. Heroes also makes great use of the touchscreen, using smooth and instinctive controls that allow you to move and attack with a single motion. For a complex series similar to other games, it’s impressive how comfortable Heroes feels on a one-handed device.
Video Courtesy of Youtube:
The game includes a variety of modes. It features the standard single-player campaign with, unfortunately, a very short and disappointing narrative. It also has limited time special maps and asynchronous battles where you can put your team up against the team of another player. You can also play through different story missions in multiple difficulty levels, but this can get very tricky the further you go deeper into the games. The compromise with the free game is that after each battle, you essentially lose some of your energy, and so once you run out you’ll need to recharge for about 4 hours, or you can regenerate by spending some premium currency. This premium currency, called “orbs,” is the glue that holds the whole experience together. Orbs are not only used to unlock playing times but also to revive fallen soldiers in battle or to unlock new characters to add to your team.