Fort Triumph is a game about doe-eyed puppies. It’s not. It’s a generic medieval fantasy turn-based title that could quickly disappear in a rather large bargain bin selection. Still, if you give it a chance, you might side with those console gamers who say you can play this sort of thing without a PC.
They’d be right as CookieByte Entertainment and All in! Games‘ entry into the genre is straight from a PC, only without a mouse. It’s not incredibly new in that it changes the game up, raises the bar and all that hyperbole, but there’s a fair bit of variety, and if you can get past the challenges, it’s a title offering lots of depth.
Fort Triumph is a little bit hard, even if you change the difficulty settings. I did this to fast-track the review, but in truth, it didn’t make that much difference. As a turn-based game, you need to strategically place your units to overcome the enemy – usually when the odds aren’t too favourable. That said, if you’re likely to overpower them, there is an option to auto-win, so there’s a slight arcade feel to it at times.
Fort Triumph Review (PS4)
But some of the elements that make Fort Triumph different to other titles is the world map and base-building features. In the campaign, you’ll venture out into the misty procedurally generated world to ravage resources such as coin and magic to invest in your HQ and buy recruits and consumables from merchants when on the road. All the while you’re exploring, enemy units will be doing the same thing, so you’ll need to put a stop to them by engaging in battle.
The map clearly states your objectives, so it is possible to ignore the active enemies and instead concentrate on those guarding loot. It’s not the biggest of areas to explore, but due to the increasing number of enemy units pinching all your resources, it’s wise to invest in multiple patrols, switching up your heroes to include a balance of ranged and melee combat. With a sprinkle of magic.
Heroes are hired from the base and are random. Their name, class and level will show, and more specifically, their price – the higher the level, the more expensive. Level indicates experience and a more accomplished skill tree. Heroes can also equip two items to improve their stats and consumables, such as a health potion or Capri Sun.
What’s On The Menu?
Fort Triumph is intuitive in its design and will be familiar to anyone who’s played a turn-based game with RPG elements, though the menu system is a bit clunky. Switching through the menus with various hotkeys is a bit clumsy and, therefore, a little easy to buy something you didn’t want or reverse engineer where it is you need to access. However, you don’t spend much time in these sections as this is typically for recruiting and building your base.
Combat is the core gameplay and is usually fun. Making use of the environment is fundamental to survival, but the standout here is using this positioning to attack your opponent, such as pushing rocks or trees onto them or kicking them through the wall of a house. In early battles, I was able to win from calculated pushing tactics alone.
But that didn’t last long.
Death comes quite often, and though you can toggle permadeath, you have to revive the characters from your base. Ideally, you should level up the characters by using them to perform as many kills as possible; alternatively, hire them from HQ ‘pre-packaged’. Not too far into the game, enemies get multiple turns and debuffs, effectively killing your characters in one move. It’s super frustrating. Ideally, it’s the tried and tested tactic of having tanks up front, with your ranged at the back, though it’s not always that straightforward.
As for the variety of classes, they’re good. Archers were my favourite unit, though they were like glass cannons: set out of the way with overwatch on and it’s a killer, but allow an enemy unit to get too close irrespective of the archer’s level and equipment, they’re probably going to get wiped out. Other units include magic dealers, said paladins and barbarians. Magic dealers are great for manipulating the environments from afar, the paladins are perfect tanks, and though they don’t have the best defence, barbarians can lay on multiple attacks.
A mouse beats a controller hands down, but the controllers work well on the PS4 and are swift and accurate. Besides manoeuvering around the battleground, you can zoom in on the action, and Fort Triumph is a good looking game. The map presentation is a bit dated, but everything else looks good. A typical fantasy-like score accompanies the action, which sounds good, but is often understated. You’ll also pick up a few acted dialogue pieces, but it’s predominantly text through the campaign. The multiplayer side of things aren’t as important, nor the skirmish as it’s pretty clear what that is.
The tone of Fort Triumph is mildly conflicting. It’s almost as if they were going for a comical approach like Orcs Must Die! 3, but they bailed out at the last minute as the humour never really hit the right notes for me, other than the odd amusing character name. If anything, it’s more of a serious nature with cartoony visuals. I glazed over the story elements in the campaign as they were a little generic, but the gameplay outweighed this oversight. Once you establish who your strong players are and invest in them, it’s much more rewarding. You have to suck it up and take those one-hit-kills inflicted on your team with a pinch of salt.