Gamers are always looking for free-to-play opportunities, and now Nintendo is fully embracing the business model for the first time with Fire Emblem Heroes.
Nintendo’s long-running Fire Emblem series made the jump to mobile devices this week with the launch of Fire Emblem Heroes. European and Japanese players were among the first to get their hands on it Thursday morning, and by the afternoon, the game was rolled out to both the App Store and Google Play for North American users.
“This is your adventure — a Fire Emblem that’s like nothing you’ve seen before!” said Nintendo in a press release detailing its new games.
That’s certainly true. Unlike the other, full-price Fire Emblem titles, which permanently give you heroes for use in the game’s tactical role-playing stages, Fire Emblem Heroes uses a free-to-play “orbs” system. Either by using real-world cash or by clearing levels in the game’s story mode, you can summon a variety of characters from past games like Lyn from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade — simply known as Fire Emblem outside of Japan — and Lucina from Fire Emblem: Awakening.
A number of these heroes have also made an appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series, either as a fighter or a trophy, including Awakening‘s Robin and Mystery of the Emblem‘s Marth.
Additional characters were voted into the game over the last few weeks, with Path of Radiance‘s Ike leading the poll. Ike is among the best characters in the series, so fans are doing their duty admirably.
Fire Emblem Heroes‘ story mode will also introduce a selection of all-new characters in the Kingdom of Askr, and an “Arena” mode will allow you to compete against other players around the world for the chance to win extra rewards.
Fire Emblem Heroes is just one of four Fire Emblem games that Nintendo plans to launch by the end of 2018. In May, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, launches for Nintendo 3DS, while Fire Emblem Legends hits both New 3DS and Nintendo Switch this holiday season. A full-fledged Fire Emblem game will then hit the Switch in 2018.
Updated on 2-2-2017 by Steven Petite: Added info about North American availability.