Fresh off the heels of entering mobile gaming with Miitomo and Super Mario Run, Nintendo takes another big mobile step. This time, they bring Fire Emblem Heroes, the mobile spin-off of the popular Fire Emblem series.
Nintendo Goes Gacha
Heroes‘ most noteworthy claim to fame, however, lies in the fact that this is Nintendo’s first attempt at mobile free-to-play. Fire Emblem Heroes presents itself as a ‘gacha’ game, that is, a game where new playable characters appear via purchase using either in-game currency or real-world money. Furthermore, ‘gacha’ games use the element of chance, as a hero you buy can either be mediocre, or powerful. Notable ‘gacha’ games include Marvel Contest of Champions and Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.
Fire Emblem Heroes‘ Gameplay and the Weapon Triangle
The playable characters you get from Heroes then enter strategic turn-based battles, like a traditional Fire Emblem game. An important game mechanic for new players first experiencing Fire Emblem would be the weapon triangle Very much like rock-paper-scissors (or jack en poy), the mechanics are simple. Sword (red) beats axe (green). Axe trumps lance (blue). Lance destroys sword. This color-coded scheme determines which units become most useful for certain enemies.
PvP also factors into Heroes, where you face AI-controlled player teams. Alternatively, the team you send out online will be controlled by AI, and battled by other players.
An All-New Fire Emblem Story
The mobile game revolves around two factions in the land of Zenith, the Askr Kingdom and the Emblian Empire. One aspect of the war acts as a major gameplay point: they both use Orbs. Orbs, in turn, summon heroes from other Fire Emblem worlds, for battle.
Speaking of Orbs, they act as the main method of summoning new heroes. If you want to play for free, you can get one Orb per battle. But if you have some cash to burn, you can buy Orbs using real money. It takes five Orbs to summon a brand-new character. Also, Nintendo will offer special maps where players can also obtain heroes, and the story missions may also yield a new character.
Prepare for War!
Fire Emblem Heroes launches February 2 on iOS and Android. Supported devices include Android (4.2 or later with 2GB RAM) and iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch running iOS 8.0 or later. Fire Emblem Heroes is developed by Intelligent Systems, in cooperation with Nintendo and DeNA.
Again, it cannot be stressed how much this means for Nintendo. After all, the company long avoided the mobile gaming scene and the free-to-play business model. Now, they hope to make the same kind of impact as other succesful games in the genre.