Fire Emblem Heroes is free to play, but extra characters and other content are available for an additional fee. The mobile game also requires a constant internet connection, like other Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Run.
After the huge success of Niantic Labs’ Pokémon GO, Nintendo partnered with mobile developer DeNA to create Super Mario Run, which debuted last December. Fire Emblem Heroes is the second game birthed from that partnership and will not be the last.
While Fire Emblem series might not be as well known to the casual gamer as Mario or Pokémon, the Nintendo faithful will surely recognize the franchise.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Fire Emblem Heroes is a Turned-Based Strategy Game & Truly Free-To-Play
Just like previous games in the franchise, Fire Emblem Heroes is a turn-based tactical strategy game that gets more in-depth the farther along you play. According to Polygon, the game is streamlined for speedy play sessions and touch controls. Unlike Super Mario Run, the game is truly free-to-play even though there is a stamina meter that controls how often you can fight at one time.
You can still buy additional characters and stamina refills with real money, like most of the games available on smartphones. Fire Emblem Heroes uses an in-game currency known as “orbs,” which you can buy through the app store of your choice and spend in-game.
Some of the missions may cost more than one stamina to play, and stamina is said to be recovered at the rate of one point per five minute (up to 50).
Beginning with a 8×6 grid map, gamers are able to summon hundreds of characters from the Fire Emblem series to attack opposing players. Here is the game’s official synopsis:
A world with two kingdoms: the Emblian Empire, which wishes to rule all worlds, and the Askran Kingdom, which stands in its way.
You are a summoner with the special ability to call upon legendary Heroes from different Fire Emblem worlds. In order to save the Kingdom of Askr from destruction, join the Order of Heroes and face a never-ending challenge.
2. There Are 15 Other Games in the Series & Your Characters Can Permanently Die
While casual gamers may not have heard of the Fire Emblem series, the franchise has existed since 1990 when Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light came out for the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
Another notable aspect of Fire Emblem‘s gameplay is that your characters can permanently die in battle, removing them from the rest of the game if defeated. Players who do not want their characters to be completely removed from the game can simply choose casual mode instead of classic.
According to Kotaku, experienced Fire Emblem players rather play the game’s classic mode, opting to have their characters face a permanent death. The game obviously has to be played a little differently as your heroes will not respawn once their energy is drained, but that seems to be the most-appealing aspect to the series.
Luckily, Nintendo has announced that your characters in Fire Emblem Heroes will not permanently die.
3. Unlike Previous Fire Emblem Games, Players Cannot Weirdly Touch Other Characters
One of the weirder aspects to the Fire Emblem series is that, in the Japanese editions of the games, players can touch other characters in the oddest of places. There is even a minigame in Fire Emblem Fates where you can pet other characters.
Similar things appear in the English editions of games, although nothing too graphic. In the English edition of Fates, players can still accrue status bonuses for getting intimate with party members. The animations in the game are left from the Japanese edition but it isn’t an interactive experience.
So far, there is no word on whether Fire Emblem Heroes will have a petting option. Given that the game is likely trying to appeal to a wide demographic, it is unlikely you will be able to get jiggy with characters of Heroes.
4. You Will Need a Constant Internet Connection to Play
Like Nintendo’s first two mobile games, Fire Emblem Heroes will require a constant internet connection in order to play the game. According to The Verge, a Nintendo spokesperson told the website that “the game connects to servers intermittently, and the amount of data used is within the normal range you could expect for smart device games.”
5. You Can Summon Characters, But You Can’t Get Married or Have Kids
It appears as if summoning new characters is going to be a big part of Fire Emblem Heroes, as gamers will split time between progressing through missions and customizing your squad of heroes. In order to get new characters, you will have to summon them (which of course requires orbs).
The process of summoning new characters is random and the game element even has a name in Japan: “gacha,” a shortened version of a famous Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound toy vending machines make. Gacha is a controversial style of play, considering you are basically gambling and sometimes using real money to do so.
Another common element to past Fire Emblem titles is relationships. Fire Emblem Awakening allowed players to marry certain characters, which you could then have up to 13 children that can be unlocked as playable characters.
Fire Emblem Fates added same-sex marriage for the first time, although none of these elements are available in Heroes.