Fire Emblem Heroes (iOS) Review

By André Eriksson 03.02.2017 13

Review for Fire Emblem Heroes on iOS

Nintendo opening up to smartphone releases might be one of the greatest things to have happened to the mobile platform. With popular titles, such as Super Mario Run and Pokémon Go, the company has enjoyed huge success. Will Fire Emblem Heroes follow this up, and maybe even surpass the earlier releases? Read on as Cubed3 leads its army forward to victory!

Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to predict how close to the mainstream Fire Emblem as a franchise would get. Equally, if not even more, unlikely would it seem that Nintendo would release a Fire Emblem title for smartphones. That time has come, though. Fire Emblem has become one of Nintendo's core franchises and is no longer considered as niche as it once was. All of this is thanks to Fire Emblem: Awakening, which truly managed to appeal to the masses in the West.

This has created a fissure in the fan base, though, between those who enjoyed the older titles and those who prefer the new ones. Both sides have one thing in common, however: they have their eyes focused on Fire Emblem Heroes.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Heroes on iOS

In Fire Emblem Heroes, heroes from both older and newer Fire Emblem titles are collected to duke it out against each other in short strategic battles of (mostly) four on four. The story is extremely generic for a title such as this. Some evil empire is using portals to other worlds to pull out heroes to use to storm the kingdom of goodness. The latter must collect their own heroes with the help of a legendary summoner (also known as the player) to fight back. In other words, an obvious excuse plot to justify that all Fire emblem characters can meet up in the same game.

A good plot is - as proven again and again in the gacha genre - not needed to create a great gacha game if the gameplay does enough to keep players hooked. It is easy as a Fire Emblem veteran to feel worried that the meat of the combat would be removed in such small-sized battles. Thankfully, Intelligent Systems has done a wonderful job of translating the familiar combat system into a small and quick system in which each battle rarely takes more than five minutes to fight, but is still more than capable of delivering the quality of gameplay long-time fans of the franchise have come to expect, where each decision matters… Well, not as much as in the older Fire Emblem games, as the permanent deaths - thankfully, for a gacha F2P title - are not here. Instead, the penalty is given in the form of losing the EXP gained by that character.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Heroes on iOS

Speaking of the F2P elements, Fire Emblem Heroes is extremely soft on the player, almost to a fault. It is possible to play through the entire main story in one massive sitting without having to fork out a single penny for it, thanks to the Nintendo Points earned throughout the quest, which can be used to buy energy that is cheap in itself (one orb for full refill, and one orb is given after each level).

To add to the fact that no cash is ever really going to be needed, Nintendo seems to be releasing a daily event with a low rank hero/heroine (which can be promoted to high rank, of course) for free in case the player beats a fairly simple stage, which means that, inevitably, long-term players will have access to play with all of their favourites. How much money and waiting will be spent on this title is entirely up to how much the player wants their favourite characters maxed out in their roster as soon as possible, which is a very nice approach towards the genre, as the choice to spend money will always be on the user.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Heroes on iOS

This, mixed with the wonderful gameplay and huge gallery of characters available at launch, makes Fire Emblem Heroes a great hook in for new players of the franchise, and is equally a game where older fans will feel right at home. It is rare to see such generosity when it comes to freemium games, but Nintendo seems to have really found a beautiful balance between honey and vinegar in the gacha genre. The fact that the publisher gives out Nintendo Points to use for energy at the end of each chapter means players never have to choose to pull from the gacha or progress with the game. It is indeed a beautiful way to get people hooked, and form a long-term relationship towards the game and the franchise for newcomers.

At this point, Fire Emblem Heroes feels like the gacha genre, and mobile gaming in general, done right in every possible way. The only thing that can go wrong here is if future updates are terrible or non-existent - something that, with Nintendo's previous track record, seems extremely unlikely. For now, fans and newcomers alike just have to enjoy what might very well be one of the strongest gacha titles ever released.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Heroes on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

It is difficult to find any issues at all in Fire Emblem Heroes, save for the (up to this point) very obvious excuse plot. Besides that, though, the battle system is as solid as fans of the franchise have come to expect, and the freemium aspect is extremely generous, as it is possible to play through the entire main story without seeing a single pay gate, or even having to spend orbs at all. This, mixed with the generous amount of orbs given through normal gameplay, as well as the daily free character, makes Fire Emblem Heroes one of the most generous gacha games on the market and a title that any TRPG fan should download immediately.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I'm quite surprised that this doesn't seem to be faring too well on the UK iOS charts. It's being promoted a lot on the AppStore, but maybe just not quite finding the right market yet.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Also surprised. It is an extremely solid game, and yet falling in on spot 39 here. It seems to only be in EU too as the game seems to sell well in both US and Japan. I really wonder why that is the case, it is an interesting topic to touch upon as afaik JRPGs aren't really any less popular here than in US. Maybe it is the gacha putting people off guard? Or maybe Kingdom Hearts Unchained X holding their customers tightly (which I KNOW is super popular where I live).

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

Who else is playing this then?

My friend ID is 4330392183

Not touched it other than the tutorial on day one. I don't feel too inclined to jump in, for some reason.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I am playing. I'll add you in a second. My friend ID is 4020 971 251.

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

Mine: 7472184429. Is there any way to change my username?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Misc. > FAQ/Etc. > Change Nickname

Oddly, the friends list doesn't display the usernames, just what looks to be specific character names. Can't work it out.

I've no idea who André is because it shows up as "Luna" but you show up with "Az" on the name, so by the sheer fact that I've only added two people, I now know. Seems confusing 1.) that you have the archaic Friend Codes system in place, 2.) if you add lots of people who have unrecognisable usernames then you'll never know who's who.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Other mobile f2p games I've played use friend ID codes, so might be the simplest way on the format. I don't really mind IDs on mobile, since it's not like I care for a proper system-wide friends list on my phone.

But I can't understand the naming system in this game, for sure.

Edit: Ah yeah, I see. Since you can assign any username you like, if you don't know that André has called himself Luna in the game, you might not know which one is him when adding a few folks to your list. It works like that in other games, but without a unified friends list or the option to tag a friend with your own unique name, it's more difficult to work out who is who.

( Edited 10.02.2017 14:15 by Azuardo )

Yeah, if I add 5 friends and only one has a recognisable name, how do I know who is who? Meh, doubt I'll be playing much of this anyway. Seems like a nice idea, but I've barely touched Super Mario Run since launch, either, and never go on Miitomo. I just don't bother with phone games.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

That is because that is the name I use in game Adam. .___.

EDIT: But yeah, sometimes these games gets slightly annoying trying to separate RL friends from game friends...

( Edited 11.02.2017 21:01 by Andre Eriksson )

The difference between illusion and reality is vague to the one who suffers from the former and questionable for the one suffering form the later.

To be fair, I don't know who so many of my friends on PSN are simply because I don't know who is who any more with their usernames. PSN etc really need a nickname function like Steam, where you can assign your own names to your friends.

Mines 2747309878

Nintendo Network ID: LKR000               PSN: LKR000     
3DS: 1246-8696-120                              GT: LKR101

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