So it begins, Nintendo finally puts out a game on both Android and iOS that speaks to me. Fire Emblem has been a serious love affair since I first picked it up on the GC back in the day. Since then, I’ve made it my goal to play all of its iterations, from the NES and beyond. With the arrival of the Switch in a month and Fire Emblem Warriors to follow shortly after, Nintendo has blessed us with a fantastic mobile release called Fire Emblem Heroes. The best part of this new game is that its free! Yeah, free. Obviously, like any F2P game there are in game purchases, but we’ll get into that soon.
The core of the game is laid out quite simply. To get characters, you go through a summoning process, currently the game has two “summoning gates” each with specific characters from the various games Fire Emblem has had in the past. To summon characters, you need orbs which are the premium currency of this game. You gain 1 orb per chapter map completion, 10 orbs for linking your Nintendo account and orbs for other various achievements and completions. To begin a summoning, you need to spend 5 orbs, as you continue to spend the price for each consecutive summoning reduces. The best use of orbs is to use 20, this gets you a full round of summons which is 5. Plenty of people have been trying to game the system by uninstalling and reinstalling the game to redo the first summon ritual with 20 orbs, I on the other hand managed to get characters to be excited about on the first go, so I rolled right into playing.
The story of the game is quite simple, so its not much to think about. At times it can feel like a bit much and a little kiddie, maybe even not so well thought out. The overall idea makes sense, that a sorceress is contracting out people from different FE worlds and making them fight you, and the leader of your band, the Order of heroes. You’ll fight against many familiar foes through your trek and as such you’ll gain the means to summon these people as well, building your roster into strong dependable units able to take on many challenges.
The best part of this being a mobile game, is that the battle maps all fit on your screen, meaning you don’t need to move around a large map and strategize with 15+ units across a 100 x 100 grid. You are given an 8 x 6 map with 4 units per side and also given the heads up of what you’ll be fighting before entering the map. This allows for an easy and effective approach to each battle scenario. Granted, you only know the weapon types, so sometimes you’ll find yourself sending an axe wielding quick character against a knight class with a spear and still being ineffective. I for one have been sticking to the same 4 characters since the start, a dragon stone user (Tiki), a swords-man, a spear wielding Pegasus rider and my bow expert. These 4 have dealt with so much, I’ve only seen two deaths so far and unlike the old FE
games, its not perma-death. So, while losing a unit in battle is devastating in a 4 on 4 match, its not going to ruin you for the rest of your game life.
Moving on to characters and classes, each character has a rarity level which you can either summon them at or upgrade them to. The main issue with summoning is that it is all RNG based, so you can’t just decide to get a 5* hero, but to be honest, that would be broken as hell. Getting duplicate heroes gives you the opportunity to upgrade from 1* all the way to 5*s and once there, increase stats beyond if you happen across another 5* dup. The system is pretty interesting from a development stand point and works well. Each character even has a set of 5 skills. You have 3 main skills, as well as a defensive and a chargeable offensive skill. Tiki, currently has one of the best offensive skills I’ve seen in a while, where once charged, does damaged in a radius hurting enemies based on Atk over enemy def. This allows for huge advantages when you might be at a class or power disadvantage. All of this together makes for quick, intelligent and engaging game play, something that is really hard to capture on mobile these days.
Another notable feature is friend duels, you don’t play live with anyone but you can fight other people’s hero set ups for points and weekly treasures. These help out in the progress and improvement of your main battle squad and so on. You can also friend people within the game to get help in battles. It’s really useful if you have friends who are powering through the game and you are struggling a bit.
The only down side to these games is the energy system they use, but as a frequent F2P player I’m used to it. This game also starts you off with plenty of energy and each map isn’t too demanding on energy to play. Friend battles also have their own limit of three battles right way, but just like regular gameplay energy, the friend battle tokens refresh after time.
In the end, there is plenty to keep someone interested in this game for a long time. I’m pleased with the over all presentation, its alignment with other recent FE games and the simplicity of it all. The characters span from generations of the series which will keep any FE enthusiast happy. The use of sprites and joining it up with alternate art styles makes it feel like plenty of care was taken in the visuals. If you are a fan of FE or just a tactics person in general with an iich to have something in your pocket, you should definitely pick this puppy up. Don’t ask questions, don’t hum and haw, just open the app store and get it done, because I said so, and I just want whats best for you.