Fort Triumph (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based strategy
Developer: CookieByte Entertainment
Publisher: All In! Games S.A.
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Fort Triumph (Switch) – Review

Site Score
5.8
Good: Decent amount of replayability
Bad: Visuals and audio feel bland and generic
User Score
6.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

When we first learned of CookieByte Entertainment’s strategy title Fort Triumph, we were eager to jump into the game and try it out for ourselves. A fantasy-themed turn-based strategy game featuring permadeath and a story campaign? Sounds right up our alley! Our optimism was met with caution, however, as we’ve been burned by games that looked good at first glance before. Was Fort Triumph able to meet our expectations or was our disappointment immeasurable and our day ruïned?

Story

Fort Triumph’s narrative element is tied to the aptly-named Story mode, which sees you take control of a budding party of mercenary adventurers that team up to form a party of their own. Meanwhile, a mysterious hooded figure is teaming up with a Goblin Warlord for his own nefarious scheme. It’s only a matter of time before our band of heroes crosses paths with the bad guys, of course. The story is told through lengthy dialogues and features lots of exposition, but overall, it failed to keep our attention. Fort Triumph attempts to offer a humoristic take on classic fantasy tropes, but ends up undermining itself with overused jokes and self-deprecating humor. The result is that there aren’t any reasons to take the world-threatening plot seriously. Making things worse, is the way permadeath affects the flow of the story: if one of your characters dies, their plotline doesn’t end. Instead, it’s picked up by a replacement character, who continues that part of the story as if nothing happened.

Graphics

In a vacuum, there is nothing wrong with how Fort Triumph’s menagerie looks, but there isn’t anything remotely original about the character designs. Of course, there are reasons why fantasy characters look like they do, and the game sticks close to the archetypes because that is what people expect. That being said, we really feel like the heroes could’ve used something that gave them a unique visual flair. Instead, the designs that we’re getting here feel like they’re just as likely to appear in a pay-to-win mobile game as they are in Fort Triumph. Adding insult to injury, there is a lot of repetition used throughout the game, with enemies that are carbon copies of one another and even natural features like trees and rocks that get repeated over and over. There is also a distinct drop in detail whenever you’re on the overworld compared to while you’re on the battlefield. The cartoonish aesthetic works for the most part, and the game looks okay, but it lacks its own visual identity. On the upside, the visuals are simple enough that the Switch can run the game without performance hiccups.

Sound

Unfortunately, Fort Triumph doesn’t just lack a distinct visual identity, but also an audible one. The cutscenes aren’t narrated and the voice acting is limited to grunts and battle cries. As for the music, just try to imagine what generic fantasy action music sounds like and there is a good chance that whatever you’re hearing in your mind right now sounds exactly like the music found in Fort Triumph. There’s not a whole lot else we can say about Fort Triumph’s soundscape, other than that it’s utterly forgettable.

Gameplay

With the eShop blurb describing Fort Triumph as “a challenging fantasy turn-based tactics game where permanent death is a possibility at any moment”, we were expecting the game to be very similar to the Fire Emblem series. What we got, however, was far closer to a cross between Heroes of Might & Magic and XCOM. The game’s core experience lies in the Story mode campaign, though we preferred the quick pick-up-and-play style of Skirmish mode, which allows you to simply pick one of the four factions and then beat the snot out of the other three on a series of randomly generated maps. Players take control of small bands of warriors from a variety of races, with each individual character bringing their own special set of skills to the party. The aforementioned permadeath feature is present as well, although the emotional component of losing a party member, which is so present in the Fire Emblem series, is absent here. This is because the characters feel fairly generic and the campaigns simply aren’t long enough to really build an emotional attachment to the cast. Don’t get us wrong, losing a character affects the rest of the campaign, but it feels more like an inconvenience and less like you’ve just lost someone who you’re supposed to care about.

The actual fights are turn-based and provide a surprising amount of tactical depth, in part because you are able to use the environment to your advantage. You can use your attacks and magical powers to directly target enemies, of course, but knocking down a tree and hitting your opponent with it, or kicking an enemy into a rock (or into another enemy) might turn out to be more effective than hitting them with your sword. Ranged units can also make use of an overwatch stance and knowing when to use this can make all the difference. The key to winning fights in Fort Triumph lies in controlling not just your party’s prowess, but also in taking advantage of every aspect of the battlefield. By pushing and pulling your opponents to different squares, you can keep your weaker units safe and make sure that your tougher fighters always have something to kill within their range of action.

When you’re not taking on enemies in skirmish battles, you’ll be working on expanding your cities by building new structures and upgrading existing ones. These will then provide boosts to your heroes. Additionally, heroes will also unlock more random abilities as they level up. Abilities come in a variety of rarities, and the rarer an ability is, the better the effect. The fact that abilities are random (albeit still class-dependent) means that no two runs of Fort Triumph feel the same, and even characters that share a class might turn out very differently depending on which abilities you roll for them. Of course, RNG can still screw you over and you might end up with an underpowered party. If you do get lucky enough to obtain a rare ability, however, then can be sure that the character in question will turn into a powerhouse.

Figuring out how to upgrade both your buildings and heroes can be quite confusing as well, as the game’s lengthy tutorial section doesn’t really cover things outside of battle. After messing around with the various options and looking through the different tabs, figuring out how to manage things didn’t turn out to be too difficult, but a more in-depth explanation would’ve been welcome. The guild tab in particular is important to be aware of, as it allows you to increase the size of your party and inventory. Should you take the plunge with Fort Triumph, we highly recommend that you take your time to look at all the available options between battles, rather than simply move on to the next skirmish.

We also have to mention that although the overall gameplay experience on the battlefield was quite fun, we did have an issue with the lengthy load times between battles. The game also didn’t really make a great first impression, as it froze on us when we booted it up for the first time and was stuck on the loading screen until we force closed it and then started it up again. After that first instance, we weren’t able to recreate the issue. Fort Triumph has also been patched since, so there is a decent chance that you won’t encounter the issue anymore, but we still wanted to mention it. The fact that maps are randomly generated and that there is also an online component provides a decent degree of longevity and replayability for the game. Even if the aesthetics didn’t quite blow us away, you’re still getting a decent amount of bang for your buck. Even so, though we’re still going to suggest you take a look at any competitors before committing yourself to Fort Triumph.

Conclusion

All in all, Fort Triumph is a solid game from a gameplay perspective, but not a groundbreaking one. It’s the video game equivalent of junk food: you know exactly what you’re getting and it will satisfy your hunger for a while, but it’s not up there with high-quality stuff. The game is lacking in both originality and a decent story, but if you can get past those points, there is some fun to be had with Fort Triumph’s Skirmish mode. If you’re looking for a must-have “challenging fantasy turn-based tactics game where permanent death is a possibility at any moment” on the Switch, however, we’re going to recommend you just stick with Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Fort Triumph (Switch) - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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