The map your characters move on is a grid. You take turns moving all of your characters and using abilities and attacks, then the other team takes a turn. That is Fire Emblem. Add to that a cover system depending on where you are standing relative to your opponents, which decreases your chance to be hit, and you have XCOM.
Now add to this mix some dry humour, changing dialogue, cartoony style, and you’ve reached Fort Triumph.
In this classic tactical RPG, your individual characters level up as you fight. With each level they gain a new random ability (which you choose from out of two) and some more stats. These abilities range from a charge attack that rushes down fences and obstacles, to a fireball that, well, sets everything on fire.
The biggest difference between Fort Triumph and other tactical RPGs is the heavy interaction with the environment, so much so you use it to fight. Part of this game’s originality and difficulty comes from how hard you are punished for bad positioning. Imagine this: you’re pushing forward with one of your characters, charging through four enemies and thinking how cool and strategic that move was… only to watch your character die to everything else in the room.
The other part of its difficulty comes from the fact that as you progress through a level, you have to push forward into the areas that you have just partly destroyed to defeat the previous group of baddies. This means that you no longer have the cover options available to you that are really needed. But you can’t just not break things, as that is the best way to move through the levels.
I loved the character design, despite the fact to some people they might be a bit stereotypical. They are exactly how I pictured people playing an equivalent D&D character. You have the no-nonsense Paladin, the Edge-Lord Rogue, the Broken-English Barbarian and the Wizard that is just trying to make her way through life.
As you progress through the levels, you can pick up some new allies along the way. For instance, you befriend one of the Golbins terrorising the village who swears that he isn’t the real bad guy. It’s the even bigger bad guy making him do this. He then proceeds to join you and becomes a part of your team.
This game did take me some time to get into the swing of things. Just on classical difficulty, it took me a solid 17 attempts to succeed on the first level. After finally beating it and losing two of my characters, I then realised that those characters stay dead. With only two characters remaining to progress to the second, and arguably harder level, I decided to start afresh after ten or so attempts. This game offers a refreshing and pretty fun challenge, guaranteeing lots of laughs along the way. Fun fact: the dialogue between characters switched depending on which characters were still alive, leading to some fairly silly lines. The whole game is filled with a sense of adventure and fun, and it definitely feels like the developers had a blast making it.
I give this game 4.5 quacks out of 5.
Fort Triumph is currently available on Steam for Early Access. As an indie game that focuses on its players, I would highly recommend giving Fort Triumph a shot yourself.