I don’t play too many mobile games. Some of them are pretty good, but they all eventually become more of a chore or a mindless way to pass the time, as opposed to actually being any fun. Time will tell if the same happens with Fire Emblem Heroes, but this game is easily my favorite mobile game thus far. And why bother playing any kind of game if you’re not having fun with it?
Fire Emblem Heroes released just recently, and is essentially a toned down Fire Emblem game in terms of mechanics. You have your standard rock-paper-scissors style of combat with swords, axes, lances, bows, etc. On top of that, it includes all of the usual bonuses and penalties involved with weapon and unit types; flying units are still incredibly weak to bows, armored units are still slow and strong against melee weapons but susceptible to magic, and so on. Also, the game offers some good variety in attacks and skillsets, depending on the unit. The different maps are simpler versions of maps from actual Fire Emblem titles, too, so it’s kind of fun to see certain maps and think, “Oh, I remember that mission from so-and-so.”
But, Heroes’ arguably best feature is its unit selection. Much like Hyrule Warriors or Dissidia Final Fantasy, this game offers a “best of” cast from the franchise’s history. Several dozen characters from most of the games in the series are here, so you can potentially create the dream team you always wanted, under two conditions. The first condition being that you can only have four characters on any set team, rather than the dozen or so you could fit into a squad in one of the main games. The second factor is luck. Summoning new characters will yield random results, so if there’s that one character you really want, but you keep getting copies of someone else…tough. Plus, not every game in the series is represented as of this writing, and Fire Emblem titles such as The Sacred Stones or Path of Radiance have little to no presence. Hopefully, more will be added in the future.
The game’s presentation is mostly good, as well. Everything looks nice, the menus are relatively easy to figure out (although a little confusing at first), and the combat animations are entertaining. Character portraits are drawn by a variety of artists (some better than others), and their little chibi forms in combat are cute. One thing that keeps nagging at me, however, is the game’s voice work. Most characters’ voices sound completely fine, and it’s cool that so many characters are being voiced for the first time, at least to my knowledge. Some lines sound like they were given only one take, though. Considering how many experienced voice actors are attached to the project, it’s a little jarring sometimes. Also, a few voices don’t sound quite right for their respective characters, but that might just be me nitpicking. It’s not enough to ruin the experience, but enough to raise a few eyebrows.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed Fire Emblem Heroes over the past few weeks. The game is definitely not perfect, but it’s an enjoyable and accessible entry in the franchise. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a game with this kind of fanservice, even if it has something of a fanfic-y, “toss everything in one bowl” kind of story. It has a relatively smooth difficulty curve that gets legitimately tough in the higher levels – especially if you make mistakes – and the limit to how much you can do in one sitting has never really bothered me, despite what some people will say. As a bonus, there’s only one form of microtransaction, as far as I’ve seen, and ignoring it won’t hinder you in the slightest. Fire Emblem Heroes has a surprising amount of depth, and I’ll probably continue to play it for a while before boredom starts to set in. I’m just hoping for more content from the games in the series that haven’t gotten any love in this game yet.