On February 2, 2017, Fire Emblem fans finally received the next installment in the beloved Nintendo series. This time, tackling the mobile gaming world by releasing it on iOS and Android.
The franchise has steadily pumped out what is now 14 games since its inception in 1990. This is also the very first Fire Emblem game I have ever played as I wasn’t aware of the series as a child, and then the task to start from the very beginning has always felt so daunting to tackle. With Fire Emblem coming to mobile, it seemed like now is the time to crack into the world of Fire Emblem when I already had it in my pocket at all times.
The player gets summoned into the game by Anna (an Askran) with the divine Breidablik. The Breidablik is a bow that shoots out heroes instead of arrows. Anna informs the player that the Askrans formed the Order of Heroes to stop the Emblians from opening gateways into other worlds, and that she needs help to do so. Anna acts as a guide as the game unfolds to explain how the different aspects of gameplay work while also acting as a playable troop herself.
The game itself is free to download. Heroes earns it’s money off of in game micro-transactions on items. Examples of items to purchase include “orbs”, which can be used to buy heroes, and Crystals which are used to level those heroes more rapidly. The prices are a bit higher than some other mobile games, but the items themselves are quite easy to gain in game, so it’s very much a price of convenience than something that is necessary to play. The game does encourage spending by offering discounts when summoning multiple heroes with orbs. The player is charged 5 orbs for the first summon, then 4, and so on, but the discount stops when backing out of the summoning screen forcing multiple summons to be done all at once or spend more overall.
Heroes is very much a “tactics” sort of game, reminiscent of Final Fantasy: Tactics, and even bringing back memories of Yu-Gi-Oh Dungeon Dice Monsters. During each fight the hero has a certain amount of spaces they can move and a certain range of where they can attack enemies in that range. Positioning and movement is a huge component in fighting opponents. Hero health regenerates after each fight and each fight costs stamina which regenerates over real-time.
Heroes also relies on the tried and true type advantages system that many other RPGs employ. Every hero has a check and balance, so crafting a well rounded team is key to victory here. When spending orbs to summon heroes, the options to chose from are the type of hero, not the exact hero. This encourages players to scrounge for every orb they can to complete their roster.
The first downfall of the game is the amount of battery it uses. After playing for an hour and fifteen minutes, it chewed through 63% battery at low to medium brightness. Another downfall is the looseness of the storytelling which could turn off those looking for a more immersive experience. Heroes feels like it just sets some framework and then leaves the player to it.
The final drawback of Heroes are the seemingly never-ending updates to the game. Updates to the game do not continue once the game is minimized. This forces players to leave their game on to download, essentially locking the phone down during the process.
Overall, Heroes is certainly worth the time. The greatest push towards a “yes” is the price, or lack thereof. Nintendo handed out a fully playable game for free that is a part of an already praised franchise. The good most certainly outweighs the bad, as the bad are mostly just gripes about convenience.
Players don’t need to be longtime fans of the series to find enjoyment here. Mobile apps are designed to reach a wide audience, which makes game play more relaxed to cast a wider net. So why wait? Go help Anna defeat the Emblians!