For the fourth entry in Nintendo’s foray into mobile gaming, Fire Emblem: Heroes, isn’t particularly deep or incredibly fun, but it is definitely a bona fide success for what the Kyoto company is looking for.
What I mean by that statement, is that FE:H does exactly what it sets out to do in an all around package that is easy and quick for consumers to pick up. It drives deeper engagement and attention to Fire Emblem much in the same way Pokemon Go drove interest and sales for Pokemon Sun and Moon.
To put into context what I’m taking about, take a gander at Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima had this to say about the company’s mobile strategy during an interview with Time Magazine.
” This is a great tool for us to push our IP to a large number of people,” Kimishima said. “This is a great way to introduce them to our franchises and characters, and thereby bring them back to Nintendo’s dedicated hardware as well as introduce them to Nintendo’s expanded software library.”
Jumping in, FE:H is a turn based strategy RPG that features a heavy capsule machine mechanic. Players take control of four major heroes from across any of the Fire Emblem games and take on other armies made up random NPC’s and enemy heroes.
The heroes range anywhere from first FE protagonist, Marth, to the extremely bodacious Camilla of FE: Fates. All of your favorite heroes from the FE games are here. All of them.
FE:H brings to mobile all of the turn based strategy players of the FE series have come to expect, just simplified. The rock-paper-scissors mechanic is present . Instead of equipping weapons and the like, characters are beholden to the weapon they come with.
Speaking of the heroes, this is where FE:H becomes annoying. Summoning heroes requires the in-game Summoning Orbs which are acquired through playing the campaign levels or logging in. The orbs of course can also be purchased. It takes 20 orbs to summon five heroes in one sitting. However, the summoning of heroes in the game is completely at random – in a way similar to popular mobile games like Puzzles and Dragons.
There are stories where completionists/collectors have spent upwards of a $1000 and weren’t able to collect all of their favorite heroes. What makes this an even deeper and more annoying mechanic is that all heroes come with a ranking. A 5-star Barte is going to be much stronger than a 1-Star Chrom. As this is a FE game, there are ways to rank-up star levels for heroes, however it takes an incredible amount another ridiculous in-game currency/item.
Keeping in mind that FE:H is fundamentally a free-to-play title with micro-transactions, the “multiplayer” arena is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Players can choose to move past the regular game modes and battle AI-controlled teams from other players. Winning at the arena provides points and in-game items as well as a chance to “make friends”.
All-in-all, FE:H is an incredibly solid mobile game. And as mentioned before, it does what Nintendo probably set out to do, introduce a generation of gamers to the Fire Emblem series and IP. One can only believe that this will help direct gamers and players to more full gaming experiences such as those promised on the Switch. If gamers choose not to, FE:H is also a pretty good cash grab, supposedly having already generated $2.9 million in revenue.