Fire Emblem: Heroes proves that Nintendo can do mobile gaming right

I’ve been playing Fire Emblem: Heroes since it released. One year ago.

A fantastic distillation of RPG goodness, in the palm of your hand. Filled with over 160 characters to collect, each with unique art, soundbites, and story. I didn’t think that it would pull me in, when I first tried it. At launch, it was a capable game. But supplant my 3DS?

A year in, it has totally replaced my 3DS.

Fire Emblem Heroes gets updated roughly every two weeks. There’s always daily quests (to grind items to upgrade characters) to do, double XP on the weekend, and biweekly events. No matter which characters you initially start with, Nintendo has made sure you will always be viable in the asynchronous Arena mode. Eventually, you will have all of the characters in the game. Unlike other gacha games, the odds are ever in your favour: each time you pull a lower-levelled unit, the odds of pulling a high-level increase.

It plays out similar to chess. Four movement types define the battlefield: the mighty Knight-class, the Flyer-class, the Armor-class, and the Soldier-class. Ranged weapons have a range of two squares, capable of firing across chasms, over troops, and across rivers. Melee is brutally efficient. Until it isn’t.

My main team consists of low-tier units: a common lance-type - Lukas - is my tank, a frail healer with a knack of surviving mages - Wrys - can teleport to heal other units, Nino - a mage who is often given as a daily reward - handles ranged, leaving my final mage - Tharja - to mop up survivors. Didn’t pay a cent for 'em. Didn’t need to.

I don’t quite understand Nintendo’s pricing strategy. To get five random gachas, one would either need to do a few quests OR stump up $18.00 (CAD). Who the hell is going to drop that much on random pulls? Not me, that’s for sure.

And I told Nintendo that. I want to give them money for making such a compelling and fun game. Maybe if they were less generous with the in-game gacha giveaways, I’d have stumped up. If it were cheaper, certainly.

If you’re looking for a mobile RPG that can be enjoyed in short bursts, FE:H is perfect.

This is why I’m not worried about the upcoming Mario Kart Tour. Nintendo can do mobile gaming right. They know how to make a fun game, without gouging, to build goodwill.

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