Game: Fort Triumph
Genre: Strategy, RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Xbox, PS4 and PC)
Developer|Publisher: CookieByte Entertainment | ALL IN GAMES!
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price: UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99 | USA $19.99
Release Date: August 13th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Plan of Attack
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Fort Triumph is a turn-based tactics game with a fantasy setting. After making its mark on PC, it’s now making its way over to the Nintendo Switch. If you like planning your next move and thinking things through this could be your next game to sink plenty of time into.
When you head into story mode you play as a plucky band of typical heroes a warrior, mage and archer. They are running a little short on coins so they need to take on any mission they can find in order to pay off those expensive bills you get in a fantasy world I guess. The story is delivered in text boxes only. There is a slice of humour added to the mix but it didn’t feel like it always hit the mark. The more I played through the campaign, the more the story didn’t really grip me and I actually found myself more keen to skip long dialogue sections to get to the much more engaging combat the game delivers. What did instantly appeal is that the campaign is randomly generated. Every time you start, the overworld map and the individual battles you head into are all different. This gives you plenty of incentive to replay through the game. Provided of course the game’s mechanics hook you.
The Overworld Map
Your campaign starts with an overworld map. Your objective is clearly highlighted and you move a mage-like sprite around, almost like a piece on a board game. You can choose to explore the world searching for items, finding trees or statues to buff your stats temporarily, or attack random enemies. Before you engage in a battle you are given an idea of the difficulty to see if it’s worth your trouble. A feature I liked here is if the enemy is a very low level you can skip the battle with an auto-win feature. Saving you time with the battles that are a little too easy. You can choose to engage in the battles if you want to. Of course some conflicts can not be avoided.
Turn Based Battles
The goal of each battle is to destroy the opposing enemies. In some maps the enemies are quite clearly highlighted but in the larger battles you need to explore out of the area to reveal where the enemies are hidden. If a hero falls in battle they are gone for good, adding an extra layer of caution to battles. If this design is not your thing the game does allow you to switch it off before you start a campaign.
You start the game with only three main heroes, each of which have their own specific perks. The warrior being best with melee and the archer and mage being more range based. When you select a hero in a battle you are given an indication of how far you can move them and the percentage change of an attack being successful. Being defensive can be a useful strategy. Rather than pursuing you can have ranged heroes stand nearby and shoot enemies that cross their line of sight on their turn. The choice is yours and there is much more to each hero than this simple description.
You can level each character up, customize their abilities and mould them into a band of heroes to suit your gameplay style. You have a main base of operation in the overworld map. Here you can build more buildings to upgrade your heroes stats, as well as recruit new heroes. All provided you have enough coins, that is.
Use the Environment
One of the game’s more unique mechanics is how you can use the environment to get the edge in battle. You can kick enemies into objects or kick the objects or even enemies into other enemies to cause damage. If an enemy is hiding in cover, say behind a tree, you can destroy the tree and watch the log fall on their head causing additional damage. As the player you have a plentiful supply of strategies at your disposal to turn the tide of battle. None of these features are mandatory for success but it does provide a unique spin on the formula.
Warm Graphics and Long Loading Times
Graphics are warm and colourful. On the overworld map, the design is hand drawn with some pretty interesting detail added to the landscapes. This is particularly impressive as these maps are randomly generated much like the battles themselves. When you head into a battle screen, the graphical focus shifts to a low poly 3D style. There is a cartoony feel to the character and enemy designs but it fits. There’s a decent amount of colour which brings the forest environments to life and even makes the dark dungeons or castles appealing. There’s also a excellent orchestral soundtrack to accompany you into battle.
In terms of performance I found the game to generally run fine in handheld and TV modes except for one main niggle. In maps, where there were a large amount of enemies on screen, when it moved to their turn, sometimes the game would take a substantial amount of time to load as the enemy calculated their move. I did discover later that the game does let you speed this process up but it’s a shame you can’t just press a button to speed it up in the moment. Seriously, it felt like I could make a coffee while I waited for the enemy to ponder away.
Reading Glasses and Tutorial
The first obvious niggle is the initial load times are pretty long, when you head into a battle and when you exit. The menus of the game feel very cluttered. When you look at the map screen, menus are all around the borders of the screen. The text is also very small in handheld mode. Starting to think I might need reading glasses for this system. When you head into the menus you also need to use the triggers to scroll through the menus. It just feels overly complicated and unnatural to use.
I also didn’t feel the tutorials did the best job of getting you to grips with the game mechanics. The game tries to break you in gently by setting up some scenarios to use the game mechanics. Trouble is I found it didn’t quite clearly highlight where you were supposed to use certain moves. This meant I failed a few times on the tutorial before things finally clicked. Instead I learned more through trial and error. It probably took me about 4 hours before the game really started to click with me. Not so good if you’re looking to pick up and play but rewarding if you’re patient.
Plenty of Options
There are a lot of options to sink your teeth into and keep you busy for a horrific amount of hours. The game offers multiple difficulty settings and multiple campaigns to play through. The campaigns alone will keep you busy for plenty of long gaming nights. You are able to save absolutely anywhere even during battles, a very welcome feature especially if you need to head off for a real life emergency.
Maybe you don’t fancy the campaign or you want to play with a friend. You can create a skirmish with a combination of human and AI combatants and simply pass the controller or Switch to a friend when it’s their turn. The only trouble with multiplayer is it’s not a pick up and play game. This game does require both players to get some experience of the game’s mechanics to get the most out of it.
Conclusion – Onward to Victory
If you are a fan of strategic RPG’s Fort Triumph is well worth sinking time into with a wide variety of options for players of all skill levels. The random generation keeps things fresh every time and being able to save anywhere makes the game quite appealing even if you can only spare a few minutes at a time to play.
It took me a while before the mechanics really started to click with me. But when it did I guess you could say I considered this strategy game a… Triumph! Sorry, I’ll see myself out.
Final Verdict: I Like it a lot