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Fire Emblem Heroes

Fire Emblem Heroes is a tactical RPG where players collect and summon heroes from a span of Fire Emblem games to fight in a simplified grid and turn-based combat system.

Publisher: Nintendo
Playerbase: High
Type: Mobile Tactical RPG
Release Date: February 2, 2017
Pros: +Collect heroes from various Fire Emblem titles. +PvP arena. +Signature turn and grid-based tactical combat in a simplified form.
Cons: -Stamina system limits gameplay. -Repetitive maps. -Surface level tactics. 

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Fire Emblem Heroes Overview

The Askran Kingdom clashes with the Emblian Empire in an epic fight for the world in Fire Emblem Heroes, a mobile tactical RPG that uses a simplified version of the signature grid- and turn-based combat system. Begin the adventure as a part of the Order of Heroes to assist the Askran Kingdom in their plight. Summon heroes from multiple Fire Emblem titles, such as Lucina, Takumi, and Roy. Use the rock-paper-scissors cycle of weapon types for an advantage with Fire Sword, Wind Axe, and Thunder Lance. Equip heroes with a weapon and a defensive item, along with one skill, such as Astra or Night Sky. Form teams of up to four heroes to take into the PvE story campaign. Measure up against other players in PvP Arena Duels. Tackle the limited-time Hero Battles to defeat certain heroes and recruit them as allies.

Fire Emblem Heroes Key Features:

  • Fire Emblem Franchise for Mobile – Fire Emblem makes it way to mobile platforms with its signature playstyle in a simplified version.
  • Collect Heroes – summon heroes, both new and old, from various Fire Emblem titles.
  • Equip Heroes – outfit a hero with a weapon, defensive item, and a skill.
  • Weapon Types – learn and use the cyclical weapon type system of Fire Sword, Wind Axe, and Thunder Lance.
  • PvE and PvP Content – play through PvE story maps and test your strength against other players in PvP Arena Duels.

Fire Emblem Heroes Screenshots

Fire Emblem Heroes Featured Video

Full Review

Fire Emblem Heroes Review

By, Baruch Spinoza

It’s not often mobile games catch my attention, but I’ve played more Fire Emblem Heroes than ought to be admitted in social circles. Nintendo has made a successful splash in the mobile sphere, after the wet noodle starts that were Super Mario Run and Miitomo. Maybe because Fire Emblem’s core gameplay translates better to mobile. But it’s at a cost. This isn’t the deep, anxiety-inducing tactics game you may have played on a system. Fire Emblem Heroes is very much a mobile game. The question is, does it hold up once you’re invested.  

How Does It Play

You head onto the tactical field commanding four heroes, typically facing against four enemies—though AI sometimes throws in an extra or forgets their scribe back at the castle. The entire gridlocked map fits between your phone’s screen. It’s small. And that makes matches quick. You tap your heroes, move them into a space, and if they’re in range, click on an enemy and engage in combat. Tension is minimal, if you’re character dies you get them back at the start of the next fight; no need to worry about losing a hero permanently.

Sometimes matches last less than a minute. And that’s desirable in a mobile title, where most players are swiping in quick bursts. The game’s tactical element is primarily negotiating rock, paper, scissors heroes against one another; specified by a corresponding color—red, green, blue—with a few neutral classes thrown in such as archers, sorcerers, and healers. So long as you avoid the mandibles of your hero’s weakness, whichever hero has the higher level typically wins the fight.

Strategy is surface level, only showing up in PvP sometimes. I’ve baited beginner players by pretending to retreat or pincer their forces only to turn around and wipe out their heroes one at a time. But checker tactics doesn’t work against players who have grinded levels or played the gacha machine long enough to build an all-star cast. FEH’s tactics become who has played longer, and who has the better lineup.  

Plus, some heroes are overpowered, stomping on almost every other hero. I doubt balance between the ever-expanding cast of characters will never exist. Early on when I started playing I and got the character Gunter who has swept almost every fight I’ve been in, including PvP. His only weakness being sorcery. So it’s not as if you can maneuver your pawns prudently to overwhelm the enemy. It’s more, you want a team full of queens to win every time.


FEH’s story plays on a multiverse in peril to give its hero collector explanatory power: an 8th grader which is subduing the heroes of FE games to do her bidding, until you come along and slap common sense back into them. The narrative is told through quick fired sequences, as colorful characters look to you to be their General Patton: the only tactician who can win the war. By the end of the first chapter the exposition lets up, and you’re given quick intro and outro transitions before being scooted along to the next battle. They’re short and sweet, never feeling like a nuisance, while giving context to your battles.

The protagonist cast of characters is an endearing bunch, with childish, energetic dispositions. And it’s clear there will be a neverending secondary character entourage, both from previous Fire Emblem titles, and new ones to fill up the library. I imagine there’s an artist locked in Nintendo’s cellar, drawing new characters under a lamp that’s way too hot, and he'll keep pumping out heroes, one event after the other. I like it.

Character even have different aesthetic designs; compare Gunter and Roy: one’s got a gritty, almost  Yoshitaka Amano appearence while the other is far more Saturday Morning Cartoon. The designs are fun, and there’s a small satisfaction in seeing new heroes.


Character Collector

You don’t earn characters in Fire Emblem Heroes; you gamble for them. Orbs are handed out like poker chips, five of which can be traded to pop a color-coded orb of fate, revealing a hero who has a 50% chance of being a three star dooker. Remember, Fire Emblem Heroes is a hero collector—it’s in the name. And some player’s aspirations to win one character or another is what’s going to keep the servers running.

Collecting new champions is compelling, and I found myself fiending for new names to smack around in battle. But paying isn’t compulsory. The game delivers a healthy number of orbs for completing story quests, fighting your through the towers, fulfilling achievements, etc. The funnel eventually starts to grow dry: if you have the persistence to beat the story missions three ties in a row, once for each difficulty. Still, I never felt cheated out of expanding my roster. By the time I finished the story I had enough heroes to fill a high-school classroom with underachievers.

Multiple Ways To Play

The story moves quick. If you want to sit down and bang it out in one go you absolutely could if it wasn’t for the stamina system, which is why there’s more than just a good versus maniacal girl story to entertain, and reward. Special maps exist as limited time event challenges, pitting you against specific heroes. Special maps aren’t only hero fights, they coordinate with whatever event the game is currently running. Completing them grants additional rewards—meaning more orbs to gamble.

There is of course Arena Duels where you test your might against other players. Winning allots items that will let you rank up your heroes, so it’s a must if you want to be competitive or min/max your team. Plus, there’s your rank to worry about if you like to show off. Then there’s the Training Tower, which is the place to go if you want to level up heroes. Training Tower levels allot more experience than missions, so say you get a new champ and you want him to be combat ready, head to the tower.

In Fire Emblem Heroes you have myriad ways to send your heroes into the battlefield. Variety is good. It keeps any one engagement from becoming stale, and I appreciate the Training Tower because it allows me to level up heroes I otherwise would never use. The game has diversity but its stamina system means you have to choose wisely.  

Stamina System

And here is, what is probably the biggest complaint anyone who enjoys Fire Emblem Heroes but still gives it a thumbs-down after 20 hours of play will argue: “The stamina system prevents me from playing all the time.” Yes, they got you. Nintendo got you good. You got, got. Once you reach the “end-game,” meaning you’re spending more time in the arena than anywhere else, you’ll notice that the amount of stamina needed to complete tasks only lets you get in a good three or so rounds of combat before you’re asked to re-up with a cash shop item or call it quits until you’re charged.

Unfortunately for you Fire Emblem Heroes is a mobile game, and it’s banking on a hardcore playerbase that’s willing to spend cash, whether that be because they want to keep playing and rising through the ranks or because they’re addicted to filling their dungeon with heroes they’ll almost never use. I never found the stamina system to be a issue. In fact, Nintendo almost got me to pay. But I’ve also approached Fire Emblem Heroes is small bursts. The point is you can’t look to it to be you go-to game. It’s something to play during downtime from whatever else you do, an intermission snack, not the entree.

But I do have a fix. Nintendo, I’m looking at you. An easy solution for players who just want to revel in the gameplay would be to add low-cost stamina matches—or stamina free—with either limited rewards or no rewards. Then players could slap enemies for as long as they want without feeling constrained.

Conclusion - Great

Fire Emblem Heroes isn’t offering the deep tactical combat that some series veterans have come to expect. FEH doesn’t pretend to either. It wears its casual friendly and addictive gameplay proudly, and it should. It’s an oddly mesmerizing experience, especially when you find yourself fiending for one more match, one more spin of the roulette wheel to see what hero I’m adding to my dungeon next. The game is a fun distraction, an easy to pick up and play title, a great mobile game. And that’s important to remember, “great mobile game.” It’s not a game to invest all of your hours in; it’s a game played in quick burst fires. Still, I have to praise Fire Emblem Heroes for its colorful cast and addictive gameplay.


Fire Emblem Heroes Screenshots


Fire Emblem Heroes Videos

System Requirements

Fire Emblem Heroes System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Android 3.2 and up / iOS 9.0 or later.


Fire Emblem Heroes Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Fire Emblem Heroes Additional Information

Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Directors: Kouhei Maeda, Shingo Matsushita
Producers: Masahiro Higuchi, Yu Sasaki, Hideki Konno
Programmers: Yuji Ohashi, Ryo Watanabe
Artists: Mai Kusakihara, Yusuke Kozaki
Writers: Kouta Nakamura, Kouhei Maeda, Satoko Kurihara, Yuu Ohshima
Composer: Hiroki Morishita

Platforms: iOS, Android

Languages: English, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French, German

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Development History / Background:

Fire Emblem Heroes is a mobile tactical RPG developed and published by Nintendo, the Japanese gaming giant behind series like Super Mario Bros. and Pokemon. Fire Emblem Heroes brings the popular Fire Emblem franchise to mobile platforms for the first time. The game was released on February 2, 2017.