Fire Emblem Heroes is an incredibly high value, free to play game. It’s easy to compare it, piece by piece, to its handheld predecessors but rest assured, Heroes is a simple and highly polished mobile game that has given me hours of fun for no money… Yet.
Heroes utilises the same turn based combat style of traditional Fire Emblem games, in which you move your characters one at a time, chess style, in an attempt to wipe out the opponent’s characters before your own. The Heroes story is straight to the point – as a Summoner, you’re sent to fight past legendary Fire Emblem warriors who are being controlled by an evil empire. As you move through the story and defeat chapters, you free the enemy characters from evil. The main story line is nine chapters long, and a little repetitive and lacking in substance overall.
The mobile currency in the game is called Orbs. You earn these while levelling up, and you can spend them to summon past heroes for your team, replenish stamina, and revive characters in battle. This process is accessible enough for a new comer to the series to understand, although I’m not sure if grinding for Orbs to summon that high level Lucina would have the same allure for someone new to the franchise. You can, of course, also purchase Orbs for real life money.
Doing the daily challenge quests to boost your roster of heroes is a more wallet friendly option. There are plenty of ways to stay amused in the game, and unlike with some other mobile titles, I’ve never found myself stuck with nothing to do. The amount of ‘stamina’ I have in game is almost always equal to the amount of time I want to spend playing, and it replenishes in about 4 hours. It’s worth noting you do need to be connected to the internet to play, but I didn’t notice any substantial increase to my data usage.
There’s no weapon durability, permadeath, or unit pairing in Heroes – but this more streamlined approach makes the mobile game much easier to play on the go. The mobile take on the classic Fire Emblem weapons triangle means some strategy is required, which is nice. And smart team building is key! Putting together a variety of teams with different strategies is probably my favourite part of the game, and while there are moments early on where the game can feel a little too easy, the difficulty comes in later chapters and grinding up through the levels more than once. The are plenty of opportunities for grinding, and finding optimal ways to beat certain characters and maps, but it’s just as easy to work on a couple of teams and merrily make your way through the story.
The maps are small, but the throwbacks to locations from past Fire Emblem games makes them so enjoyable while the quick, bite sized combat is par for the course in any mobile game. The game runs super smoothly, booting it up never seems like a chore, and diving into game-play is very simple.
Heroes beautifully introduces mobile game features into the history of a long-standing franchise, resulting in a game that moves like a Fire Emblem game and feels at home on your phone. And to those who are worried about the rise of mobile gaming leading to the downfall of console gaming – we have the yet-to-be-announced Fire Emblem mainline Switch game to look forward to next year! In the meantime, I am stoked to be able to spend more time with the Fire Emblem characters I love.