I've never played a Fire Emblem title. Honestly, I don't like strategy RPGs, but with so much anticipation over the latest Nintendo-published mobile game, I just had to try it out.
The game begins with you, the hero, being shot into this land by some horny lady, named Anna, in order to free the heroes from the Emblian Empire. The Emblians are running around, world to world, like assholes, stealing heroes from the series. It's up to you and your trusty hero summoning bow to save the day.
That’s about it for story. At least, that’s all I’ve seen. Given all the sexy butts in this game, I’m guessing it’s not the story that’s hooking people.
Mobile games. I'm not really a huge fan of ‘em. There aren't enough Ridiculous Fishings out there. Most games are Puzzle Quest knock-off knock-offs, tapping games, or ports with terrible virtual controllers. They very rarely seem to take advantage of the smartphone's functionalities (e.g. multi-touch, accelerometer, mics, cameras, etc.) and dumb everything down to a few swipes and a lot of tapping. Not very engaging, but great at wasting your time.
Players find themselves on a 6x8 grid, taking turns, and swiping to move and attack enemy characters. When characters come in contact with one another, we see their sprites move to a separate plane interacting with one another while more detailed (i.e. sexy) character portraits fly across the screen, usually perking their butts up while swinging their long swords.
All this visual action helps make the game feel speedy and action packed. However, like Pokemon, I could see these battle animations getting annoying and slowing down progression. Luckily, you can turn them off in order to allow for quicker battles. For now, they are just what I needed to get me into the genre.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the swipey nature of mobile games lends itself well to this type of strategy RPG. It's much faster to swipe to the square you want instead of boop-booping your cursor a million times to the square you want to move to. I actually find this to speed the gameplay up quite a bit and makes the genre more enjoyable to me.
It's hard to stay objective about the art in mobile games. I understand why it's used, but the whole puppet animated, 2D illustration thing is really starting to wear on me. Something about the way things (like hair) deform bothers me. It's such a mobile game look that shouldn't, but totally comes off as "cheap" when I see it. Overall, the game looks good and cohesive.
The game makes sure to give proper voice acting and art credit to each character. The character portraits look great, but there's a disparity in the quality of the artwork with some characters looking more sketchy or less polished than others. I'm not saying any of the art is bad, but it's jarring to me when I summon a new character who's art is of a completely different quality than the opening characters you’re introduced to. If I were to guess, I’d say that’s how the art was handled in whatever game that character is from, but what do I know?
The interface is clean and easy to navigate, but, either I’m dumb or the game did a poor job explaining what each screen is for. I was told that there were rewards in the Quest menu, but I didn’t find these until a few days into the game when I decided to finally touch the home button and stumbled upon the Quests and Missions menu. The game stops guiding you early on, which is great, but a little more education on the menu options would have been nice.
The voice acting is nice and adds a some perceived value to the game. However, it is rather limited and starts to sound more like a Ramones song.
There's a silent mode in case you're without headphones and don’t want your mom thinking you’re watching anime porn.
Overall, I think they did a great job striking a balance between (what I know of) the core gameplay of the series and making it mobile accessible. Unfortunately, that means all the trappings of a free-to-play mobile game are present.
There are the multiple, in-game currencies which you can quickly obtain with your real world monies. You gamble your Orbs in order to win more heroes. You end up getting a lot of trash characters or duplicates which you can feed to your other characters so they may grow up to be big and strong. We’ve seen this all before, and it’s fine as long as you know what you’re getting into.
You can, of course, wait for your stamina to replenish at a rate of 1 every 5 minutes. You have a maximum of 50. At first, this doesn’t seem too bad until you’re using 10 or 15 stamina per battle. And that 50. That’s the cap. You can’t increase it. I’d say that’s one of the most aggressive get-you-to-pay systems out there.
I’ll probably keep FE Heroes on my phone for awhile, grow bored, and eventually uninstall it. It’s perfect for a bus ride, or while waiting for Hulu commercials to pass. Overall, I don’t think there’s enough substance to keep a first-timer interested for very long.