The market for phone-gaming applications has been ripe for the taking for years, and now it seems that major gaming developers have turned their attention to iPods and Androids, such as when Nintendo released Fire Emblem Heroes on Thursday, Feb 2.
The app runs as a mini version of the original game, first introduced to America after the characters Marth and Roy were added to Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube. Acting as an amalgamation of all the original releases, the game is shaken up enough to be interesting, but it’s very obvious that the engine is not as powerful as the ones for the original games.
A turn-based strategy game, the series combines the movement elements of chess, making units move across tiles while using traditional role playing statistics—such as the ones seen in Pokémon—to determine the health of a unit, as well as damage dealt, damage taken and speed of attack.
Heroes begins as the player character, a hidden “avatar,” is warped into another dimension, or “realm,” and meets Anna. Anna is a recurring character throughout Fire Emblem games known as a traveling merchant, but in this game she is a general recruiting heroes from other realms to fight in her war. You continue this service and recruit characters from past games to join you on your quest.
This is where the game’s micro transactions come into place. In order to gain new characters, a player has to spend “orbs.” Like Mario Run, these transactions don’t completely absorb the player’s time, as orbs are rewarded after clearing missions on the campaign trail.
For Fire Emblem fans, Heroes offers a great way to see all of their favorite characters battling together. From early protagonists Marth and Roy to the heroes of the newer releases of Conquest, Fate and Awakening, it’s great to see all of the franchise’s big names battling it out, even if the game is simpler in its mechanics.
The spending orb system is interesting, as it feels more akin to gambling than anything else. Heroes are ranked in a star system from one star to five stars, and they bluntly tell you that you have a 3.6 percent chance of rolling a five-star hero like Marth or Roy. The ability of characters to have different stars is noticeable later in the game, as a level-one four-star fighting a level-one two-star is very even, and the same rated level-twenties proves a huge disadvantage for lower star heroes.
I can’t really tell how much of a learning curve there is for people who aren’t into Fire Emblem, as I’ve been playing the games since Sacred Stones came out for the Gameboy Advance, but it seems promising to lead new fans to the game. It’s simple enough to not be overly demanding but still keeps the core aspect of the series I grew to love.
Overall, if you have the chance check it out, Fire Emblem Heroes is a great time killer.
Eric Ryan is a third-year student majoring in English-writings track. He can be reached at ER821804@wcupa.edu.