“The saints, the sinners,
The losers, the winners
It’s all their fault
Lets get some more alcohol
And wash them away“
– The White Buffalo
Previously we talked about Fort Triumph in many occasions (not least during my interview with the developers) and I’ve never concealed my expectations for the game. After all, who – in his right mind – wouldn’t want to play a sort of medieval X-Com?
Formally Fort Triumph is defined as a turn-based strategy game with two clear inspirations: HOM&M for the strategy section and X-com for the combat system. A good idea on the paper but what about the result?
Let’s see together.
Did you hear the latest? (The Story)
It all begins in a smoky and smelly tavern where, after midnight, it is even forbidden to make an evil laugh (!). Our three heroes are fiercely discussing about their dark future as mercenaries, while someone is plotting behind their back…
Nothing really new, the same old formula: an army of filthy goblins, a woman avid for power, and a reign in danger.
Obviously I cannot reveal anything more about the story, but we can safely say that nobody here will ever win the Pulitzer or the Nobel Prize for Fort Triumph. Mind you, this doesn’t mean that the story is bad or boring. It’s simply functional to the gameplay of the game but I’m sure that, with the exclusion of some little plot twists, nobody will remember it after the completion of the game.
Something that must be remarked, nonetheless, is that everything about the story is told with a humorous touch.
During the game, every single hero will always speak and act according to the canons of the fantasy genre but with an emphatic approach, that normally reduces the boredom. Unfortunately, the goal to be funny every single time a character speaks results – sometimes – in predictable or silly jokes.
But am I handsome? (The Graphic)
In my opinion, the judgment about the graphic aspect of the game must be necessarily divided into two parts and that’s because
CookieByte Entertainment decided to use two different styles for the two souls of the game.
And so, for example, the strategic section and the global map of the game are realized in pixel art, in a way that recalled me – under every single aspect – Heroes of Might and Magic. Believe me, this section is a real joy to watch and play, especially for old players like me! I really loved every single pixel the developers used to draw the map. Each enemy, item, or unit you’ll encounter during your playthrough, not only will remind you the glories of past, but it will also exude love and passion!
The combat phase, instead, is realized with the (mandatory!?!) use of 3D graphic. Wisely the developers, according to the humorous vein of the game, have decided to use a sort of comic style with bright colors, few polygons and blend texture. Mind you, your eyes will not have to bear nothing horrible or even ugly. Considering that we’re talking about an indie game, the 3D graphic is realized with expertise and is always pleasant to see, but, at the same time, it’s almost impossible to cancel the “already seen” feeling.
Same thing for the animation: they are nice but just a few and nothing really impressive. A greater variety would have been appreciated.
What we have to do now? (The Gameplay)
Ok, now let’s talk about the gameplay, the most important aspect of a game for a true turn-based lover!
In this regard there a lot of things to say.
First of all, as said above, Fort Triumph tries to merge two masterpieces of the past: HOM&M for the strategic section and X-Com for the combat phase, trying to put, at the same time, into this interesting mixture some original features.
So, for example, even if during the strategic section we have to go around the map searching for resources and magical artifacts exactly like in any chapter of H&MM, here we won’t have to bother recruiting or training troops. Our focus we’ll always be our “dream team” of heroes. Besides, in Fort Triumph we will have always a specific goal (or quest) to reach so the gameplay is much more focused than in HOM&M.
Obviously, between battles, you will have to develop your castle in order to gain some improvements for your heroes, but nothing really overcomplicated. The focus of the game is clearly the battle, so don’t think to find features like in any Civilization’s chapter. This isn’t necessarily a negative aspect of the game especially if the combat system is funny like in Fort Triumph, but sometimes you can feel bored doing the same thing for hours.
So overall, and at least for me, in this regard the game suffers from a lack of variety. I would have liked, for example, to have the chance to get some secondary quests or to adventure in some real dungeon or even to encounter some random event, different from “get the gold or the experience”.
With regard to the combat system, we can say for sure that this is quite funny and fast.
Obviously this is a great quality for a game that puts almost every effort in the quality of the battles. Since the beginning of the game, you’ll find yourself playing in small areas full of trees, boulders, and columns, but these are not the usual covers. Here, in Fort Triumph everything is in constant motion: the heroes, the enemies, and even the environment!
If you think, for example, that staying behind a large tree is a safe place for your characters you are doing a great mistake because a whirlwind or a well-placed kick can fall on you the cover! But that’s not all! You can shoot an arrow to grapple someone and something and smash them together!
The game really offers a lot of possibilities to damage your opponent or destroy his cover and this feature forces you to move around the map constantly! Funny, no doubt about it.
So, talking about the gameplay the only complaint I can make is about the repetitiveness of the situations.
As I mentioned above, most of the time the only thing the game asks you is to fight. There are no secondary quests (at least not in the real meaning), no strategic choices to be made, no dungeon to defeat and that’s all!