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iPhone  header logo

Lionheart Tactics

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Hear me roar

Product: Lionheart Tactics | Publisher: Kongregate | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG, Strategy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.6
 
Lionheart Tactics iPhone, thumbnail 1
I have a confession to make: I don't much care for strategy role-playing games.

I understand how they work, I get why people enjoy them, and I can point out the differences between a good one and a bad one, but I don't often derive a lot of enjoyment from them.

There are some rare exceptions to that rule, and I'm hoping that Lionheart Tactics is going to be one of them.

Why? Because I'm pretty much committed to reviewing it over the next seven days here on Pocket Gamer, and it's being billed on the App Store an, 'epic turn-based RPG'.

Which, to me, sounds exactly like a strategy role playing game.

First impressions

Lionheart Tactics has started out like any other SRPG I've played in the latest ten years, which is to say that it looks and plays a lot like a Final Fantasy Tactics or a Disgaea 3.

It's turn-based, and you have individual heroes with their own specialities. There's the leader, who appears to play like a standard warrior; Cerys the Archer, who specialises in attacking from distance; Redd the Guard, who is heavy and powerful; Brother Rook the healer; and the nimble thief Locke.

You can hire more heroes using currency, and you'll need more troops since each carries the damage they took in the last round into the next. There doesn't appear to be permadeath (God, I hope there's not permadeath) but they will need to heal before you can use them again.

Heroes have special abilities at their disposal. The Hero Skill is a special attacking or defensive command, and the Gaea Break is a very powerful move that builds gradually as you take damage.

The field of battle is made up of tiles, which heroes traverse and battle across, and the action is viewable in a fully 3D world so that you precisely prod the exact tile you want your unit to move to. Even if you fluff up the input, you can undo your move.

You face off against enemies using standard strategy tactics: take high ground for the advantage, gang up on enemies, take out healers for easier victories, and so on.

Though it feels very familiar, I'm still rather liking the game at the moment. I didn't think I would be, so that's definitely in the game's favour. Here's hoping that feeling lasts for the rest of the week.

Day 3: Breathing a sigh of relief

I can confirm there's no permadeath. Phew.

Now that I know this, I can try out different types of tactics without fear of losing a valuable member of my team. It's also meant that I'm investing a lot of time in upgrading my party's abilities, and returning to previous areas to level them up.

IAPs explained
You can get 500 Crowns for £2.99 / $4.99. You can use them to speed up heal timers so that your party can get back into battles at full strength faster.

You can also exchange Crowns for Coins, should you need a little extra cheddar to pay for upgrades.

In addition, there's a New Player Pack that contains a Level 15 Paladin Recruit, 750 Crowns, and 3000 Coins. It's yours for £4.99 / $6.99 and is a pretty good deal for what you get.

I'm returning each day to collect the money that accumulates automatically at my castle. I'm also steadily moving through the single-player campaign, where I'm rewarded with items and cash.

You can automatically assign the best equipment to your squad - this speeds up the process of getting into battles. You can manually assign items, too, should you so desire.

Currently, any monies I receive go on more training to improve the skills of my heroes, or on purchasing weaker heroes so that I can sacrifice them to my main team, making them more powerful.

There's still a barrier to me continuing to play, though. It's the health of my team, really, which is usually battered after just a couple of encounters.

Having to wait for their life bars to refill so that they're at optimum combat strength is a bit of a pain. I'm not finding it a great pain, sure, but it's definitely a drawback if you're looking to sit down and sink a load of time into this lengthy SRPG.

Day 7: Head over heels

After a full week, I'm a little bit in love with Lionheart Tactics.

It's winning me over to JSRPGs with its gradually increasing difficulty, and its steady introduction of gameplay ideas and advanced strategies. It's an entry in the genre I can get behind, because it doesn't automatically assume I have hundreds of hours of previously acquired knowledge about how the genre works, so I'm learning its systems and putting them into action effectively rather than merely scraping through by spamming basic attacks.

I'm not only using the special moves, but I'm also thinking about positional play and how I can best use my place on the field to my advantage.

One of my favourite opening gambits at the moment is to allow the enemy to approach my position and fire a volley of Multi-Shots with my archers. Then with a weakened enemy, I rush in with my hero and Captain Redd.

The Hero gets in first to deal damage, and Redd (whose spear strikes one square further than regular attacks) then goes in for the follow up. If I think they'll need it, I use my Cleric to protect them from damage with a spell too.

Having hit the level cap for various members of my squad, I'm now using Stones to Promote them, which resets their level but maintains their stats. I don't think I've cared more about a party of heroes in any game of this type, even if I'm a little cool on the narrative that's brought them together.

What gets me a lot more fired up is the presentation, which is excellent. Each hero has plenty of detail in their design, and incidental animations that add to their little personalities. This quality applies to, and benefits, the moment-to-moment play, as each unit type is easily distinguishable from other unit types. If there's a criticism here, it's that new items and gear don't seem to change the appearance of your heroes, making it difficult to tell between two different archers in a unit.

This would have been a nice addition, since there is asynchronous multiplayer against the squads of other players here, and it would have been fun to show off the cool loot your team has picked up.

That's a minor gripe, because really there are only minor gripes when it comes to Lionheart Tactics. It's one of the best strategy games you'll play on your mobile this year, and serves as a fantastic example of how to do free-to-play right for a core audience, without compromising on artistic vision or gameplay depth.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.
 
Lionheart Tactics
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 21 March 2014
If you even remotely enjoy Final Fantasy Tactics or Disgaea, you owe it to yourself to play this beautiful, welcoming SRPG
 
Have Your Say
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Joined:
Feb 2014
Post count:
290
Khaya Lamu | 14:09 - 30 March 2014
U guys can skip timers.Just forward ur own clock from option then the timer will end.I've use this method on DT1 and it work's perfectly.
Joined:
Jun 2013
Post count:
79
Jeffyg3 | 22:31 - 25 March 2014
Ok. I take it back. Hated the idea of timers and IAP, but my curiosity of this game took over, and after playing it for hours this game is actually pretty good. Ill complete part of the campaign, then finish then come back later and play again when my characters are healed or trained. Gameplay is good, tho light compared to others in the genre. Though nowhere near the greatness of Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion (didn't really like Mercenaries, was a step down) or Final Fantasy tactics, but pretty good. I think it's worth a try, even if it has crappy wait timers
Joined:
Mar 2014
Post count:
3
crimson king | 09:39 - 24 March 2014
By the way, I don't like IAP/ freemium at all. But I vote with my wallet, and recognise that developers don't have a responsibility to spend their lives catering to my specific tastes.
Joined:
Mar 2014
Post count:
3
crimson king | 09:25 - 24 March 2014
@curtis One option to download at £20 might be perfect for you, but it certainly wouldn't be perfect for them. You don't represent the market majority. They get much, much more exposure and long term revenue with this method. Making games is a job. It isn't a dedication to appease games who think the world revolves around them. If people stop using IAP, then you'll see more one time purchases.
Joined:
Jun 2011
Post count:
27
chaos_envoys | 16:02 - 23 March 2014
online only? wwwwwwwwww
Joined:
Dec 2012
Post count:
105
Eriatarka | 15:52 - 21 March 2014
(exceptions can be made for games like clash of clans where they are an integral part of the game mechanics/balancing, rather than a frustration that gets in the way)
Joined:
Dec 2012
Post count:
105
Eriatarka | 15:51 - 21 March 2014
havent played this and probably wont, but no game with timers deserves more than 6/10 or so
Joined:
Jun 2013
Post count:
79
Jeffyg3 | 19:27 - 19 March 2014
Anything with timers is definitely a "oh screw you developers" type of game. Yeah, no thanks
Joined:
Jan 2010
Post count:
518
curtisrshideler | 17:07 - 19 March 2014
This game would be PERFECT for a touch screen... Yes. IF they stop putting in timers and IAP. The way it is, I had to delete it. I'd rather invest my time into FFT where I know that there isn't a server holding my save or I don't have to wait AT ALL to play the next battle. One price for one perfect experience. If they would have given us the option to download this game for $20 with no IAP, it would be perfect for me... and them. Then they'd have my money.
Joined:
Dec 2008
Post count:
1338
klouud | 15:11 - 19 March 2014
Finally!! We do not have enough games like this on "mobile". This type of RPG is perfect for a touch screen.
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