A reader encourages you not to dismiss all mobile gaming out of hand, and uses Fire Emblem Heroes as a reason why not.
Mobile games are dismissed by many hardcore gamers as silly little money-siphoning, over simplified rubbish. To dismiss a whole medium in one swoop is foolish. We wouldn’t do this in other aspects of our life. I would like to think that the majority of us would deal with individual cases on individual merits.
The game that has spurred me to write this is Fire Emblem Heroes. I have logged in every day since its release and have, on the whole, found that it has kept my interest. Although the number of freebies for the in-game currency has reduced lately, causing a lack of new characters to level up and train.
Basically, it’s a simplified version of the Fire Emblem games. You summon random characters with orbs, which can be purchased or gained through in-game bonuses. These characters vary in usefulness, depending on their stats, skills, and star rating. When you have your team of four, you can carry out training maps, story maps, and battle in the arena against other player’s teams. Albeit controlled by very dodgy artificial intelligence (the dodginess making it even more satisfying when you see that your team has actually managed to defeat another player).
I almost lost interest when I realised that once you acquired some good five star characters and levelled them up to full potential, there was a limit to how unique your team could be. Eventually everyone would have the same team, consisting of a mix of the best four or five characters, fully levelled up and identical in stats and skills. But then came the master stroke that changed the whole game.
This game has been regularly updated, tweaked, and changed since release, admirably so, but no one change had such an impact as the ‘skill inheritance’. This allows you to merge any two allies to give the target ally any skill, stat booster, or weapon. Meaning the options are now nearly infinite, and the search for the ultimate, unbeatable team is on.
I must also mention the graphics. Some find the cartoony style a bit grating against the usual Fire Emblem style, but I like it. It’s crisp and in my opinion much better than the art style of the new Fire Emblem Echoes, It looks MUCH better – cut scenes aside. The only mobile game that has surpassed it in this regard is the pixel goodness of Star Wars: Tiny Death Star. This was another mobile game that I had a good time with for a week or so, before it quickly became boring. But I’m sure the look of that game hooked me as much as anything.
I don’t really play many games on my phone and I would consider myself a hardcore gamer, but occasionally, some do make it through. The only others of note being the puzzle game Where’s My Water and Candy Crush. Now don’t roll your eyes, the latter was more out of desperation during a boring job. The former was the first app game I really got into and was surprised by the quality of this new-to-me genre.
Microtransactions is the elephant in the room. But due to the way in which these games are paid for, I have managed to enjoy all these many hours of frivolous entertainment for absolutely nothing. Zero pennies spent. I find it amazing that people actually pay money, and lots of money judging by the amounts stated for different packs of orbs in Fire Emblem Heroes. I don’t know how I feel about this, me getting to play for free, while others pay. But the games, in my eyes, are designed so that it is easily possible to get everything, if not more, out of the experience without paying anything.
They are, after all, touted as free-to-play. Bizarrely, in the case of Fire Emblem Heroes, I know for a fact that I would have quickly lost interest if I had been given access to a huge amount of orbs. It would have become merely a checklist of selecting the best characters, with the best skills, etc., grinding them to top level, and then…..stop. What would be the point in continuing if you had the best that you possibly could?
Surely it’s much more fun, more of a ‘game’ to work with the resources you have, slowly building up and designing a killer team with what you have randomly acquired through in game achievement and time. And having the excitement of wondering if you were going to summon that five star Hector (spoiler: you aren’t).
So everyone go and play mobile games and pay for them, so I don’t have to.
By reader themadmonk82 (gamertag)/themadmonk (NN ID)
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