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Fire Emblem Heroes: Tactical Mobile Success

Fire Emblem Heroes

The beginning of February seems like an odd time for a AAA-based game to come out. Usually, the beginning of the year games are already out while companies begin working on the next ones. However, at the beginning of this February, Fire Emblem Heroes was released on mobile.

I’ll admit I was very worried about Fire Emblem coming to mobile. Sometimes AAA games just don’t translate well to mobile. In most cases, they aren’t meant to. After just a few days of playing Heroes, however, I’ve decided that it did not suffer the same fate as many mobile mishaps that have happened recently. Nintendo was able to stay true to Fire Emblem‘s core mechanics, mix it with some popular mobile game mechanics such as summoning new heroes and earning different currencies to level up various things, and create a great mobile game that Fire Emblem fans won’t leave out of the series.

Even Forbes has written about it – over three times. It’s obvious at this point it isn’t just loved by long-time fans. While others have already given their opinion on it, I’d like to add my voice to the endless praise it’s been getting as well. I honestly think it deserves it.

First and foremost, the game is free. That’s always a plus in my book. Yes, it has micro-transactions, however I can’t count off for it since I have yet to even need or want to consider spending money. I haven’t had any problems whatsoever with stamina or orbs (the currency you use to summon more heroes) and I’ve gotten through about four chapters already. You earn rewards of various types just by completing chapters or quests if you want to level up your favorite heroes. I haven’t had to grind once, but I don’t think I’d even mind if I did since I never get tired of Fire Emblem‘s tactical battles. Even then, the game gets progressively harder and I’ve gotten to the point where I definitely notice the change. The game follows the classic flow channel any game designer knows to make the game just the right level of hard.

The story itself is a less complex than previous Fire Emblem games, but that is to be expected. Mobile games are usually casual games and casual gamers in general don’t care to read a whole lot of text when they just want to play the game. Still, beloved characters get involved as well as new ones, bringing a few subplots with them. As a writer and avid gamer, I haven’t figured out where the story is heading yet, which is also a plus. If I can guess the plot it instantly becomes less entertaining. I think the story is just enough to keep the more invested players interested and still small enough not to get in the way of more casual players’ enjoyment.

The graphics of Fire Emblem Heroes are, of course, brand quality. They’re clear, colorful, and just downright gorgeous. The music is also in the classic Fire Emblem style. It’s exciting to listen to, but also not distracting. In terms of aesthetic, I really can’t complain. After over 20 years of Fire Emblem games, Nintendo has it down to a science at this point, so that’s no surprise.

The controls are next to perfect. I want to say they are perfect, but I have one small problem with them. There’s no undo. This is a problem I’ve always had with Fire Emblem and Fire Emblem Heroes is no different in this regard. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier about the controls and all the helpful information you get during battle. I also appreciate the lack of perma-death, as that would definitely make this game infinitely more difficult and probably make it less accessible for the more casual mobile gamers.

The only other thing is that I haven’t found much of a use for friends yet. I’ve sent and received requests but I’ve yet to find out what use they are (other than perhaps bragging rights about who has gotten further along and who has a higher tier). I suppose I’ll see soon enough, but so far it doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on the game.

I won’t say anything more because I think Fire Emblem Heroes is a game worth experiencing. It’s a great game, especially when you look at others’ attempts to translate to mobile (including Nintendo’s own attempts like the disaster that Pokemon Go used to be). I can see the game encouraging those new to the series to pick up the the main series games as well (a tactic Nintendo used for Pokemon Sun and Moon). Considering the number of Fire Emblem games recently announced, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.

Now, go break out that smart phone of yours and give it a try. You can grab the game in the Google Play Store here and in the iTunes store here.

Want to add to the game’s praise or point out a flaw I missed? Feel free to comment below!

Review overview
Story
Aesthetics
Controls
Overall Playability/Gameplay
Accessibility
Rebecca is forever a Nintendo-junkie and game design student. She favors action/adventure and RPG games, though she won't object to sitting down with The Sims every so often.