Fort Triumph - HoMM meets Xcom!

What a pleasant surprise this game is turning out to be. Released today on Steam in full, and my first hour has been a joy. It has the town building and map exploration of HoMM, combined with combat similar to Xcom. I doubted this store description when I first read it, but so far, it has been exactly that. The HoMM parts are more similar to HoMM3 than the more recent titles, and that is just perfect to me. You build town upgrades to allow more units per team, or to allow additional teams, or various other perks. The teams are not made up of stacks of units, but instead, individual heroes with special abilities and spells. There are physics abilities during combat that allow you to kick a barrel into an enemy, or knock a tree over on top of an enemy, as examples. I believe it goes deeper than that as well later on, combining moves that will have you kicking your own teammates into obstacles, chaining into yet another obstacle or enemy.

My only gripes so far are minor. The dialogue is a bit childish in its attempts at humor. This may well just be my own taste, but it isn’t a big enough deal to impact my enjoyment so far. Also, I wish some of the dialogue was voiced. I think this is a missed opportunity by the devs here. I couldn’t help but think how awesome it would be to have the narrator actually speaking his parts instead of making the player read it.

Sounds intriguing. How is the music?

It’s really good. Not quite to the level of HoMM, but still decent.

Why are all these good looking similar games coming out at the same time? I don’t have enough hours for this!

Looking at the screen shots on Steam the first thing that popped into my mind about the tactical combat was Final Fantasy Tactics/Tactics Ogre type games. Which is not a bad thing, IMO.

My first thought upon seeing the graphics was that it looked like a mobile game. Glad I ran across the game here because now it’s on my wishlist.

The game is actually more challenging that it looks. So far, the AI has been pretty decent. I’ve actually lost 1 battle that didn’t show as being high in difficulty.

Should also mention that the enemy also has units out exploring the map, like in HoMM. I was surprised by this the first time I came across one.

Played through the tutorial and a bit on the strategic map. Cute game, thanks for bringing notice to it.

Looks like nothing is real-time, even on the overworld. Interesting.

I just find it interesting that the developers on Steam can apparently just casually namedrop big franchises to explain what the gameplay is like.

Now you mention it that is eyebrow raising.

This looks very interesting, and I have watched some videos, particularly DasTactic. My concern is that, at its core, whether combat is really about “physics” meaning lining things up and kicking them into each other. I’m having a terrible reaction to this, just UGH!

  1. Is this really the core of the tactical gameplay?

  2. Is this actually enjoyable in practice?

This is as hearsay as it gets but I have seen exactly one post on another forum talking about how much he enjoyed this aspect, and how it allowed “Galaxy brain” stuff in combat.

The devs are live-streaming gameplay of this right now on Steam. It looks like fun to me, but I may want to wait for it to go on sale – $24.99 right now.

The physics stuff is pretty critical, because you are always outnumbered and your characters don’t do a lot of damage (at least at first, I haven’t gotten that far in yet). So, lets say you’re fighting eight enemies with your four characters. Your tank can run out and swing his mace at someone, but it probably won’t do enough damage to kill the enemy. In other games, they’d provide the mace with a stun ability. Instead, this game has you run up and kick an environmental object into the enemy to stun them. Better yet, you might be able to stun a couple enemies by knocking them into each other. Your mage can then stun another one or two enemies. Your archer can then pick off an enemy that has been knocked out of cover. Better, maybe your archer can pull an enemy back next to your tank for an opportunity attack. Finally, your barbarian can run around the periphery stunning or killing isolated enemies as needed provided it doesn’t expose them to too much retaliation. Potions and abilities also can provid an extra action to run away from potential retaliation.

Without multiple stuns, even your tank would succumb to the large number of enemies that would attack them. The barbarian is even more vulnerable. If you’re archer or mage can’t directly attack anyone effectively, you can leave them in overwatch, but that is only one attack, which isn’t usually enough to kill an enemy, so it comes back to disabling a sufficient number of enemies so that your tank can survive.

It really is a neat combination of using cover to protect yourself and removing enemy cover, or using it against your enemies to survive. So far, I haven’t seen enemies use the physics against me, but I’m hoping later enemies do. Enemy archers are very smart about using cover, so you’ll need a strategy to deal with them or their cover, as you also take out their melee brethren.

Sure the story is kind of corny, but it isn’t enough to detract from a pretty cool game so far.

Enemies have used physics against me, so you have that to look forward to.

I just realized characters are limited to level 8 in Act I. I had been wondering why I hadn’t been leveling. I guess I should have created more than 1 party. Might have (want) to start over.

Yeah I agree with everything @belouski said. There’s a lot going on in the combat part of this game. The physics is just 1 angle. You also have cover, direct and indirect damage dealing abilities, and then there are skills. Every level-up you get to choose from 3 skills presented, and they are very different. For example, my magic user could pick a fireball skill, which can cause direct and indirect damage, or a blink spell which would allow her to teleport to a different position (to flank an enemy, etc). All of these choices and combat mechanics provide for an interesting and varied experience every time. And yes, the AI can use all of this as well.

Like a lot of these types of games, I think the tactical maps are too busy. HoMM2/3 had this part right. I just want to see what the situation is without a lot of terrain graphics in the way.

I haven’t played enough to have a final opinion, but it seems like a good effort, just lacks the ‘magic’ of HoMM2 and 3. Worth picking up on sale, for sure. Really makes me long for a graphically updated HoMM3.

Unlike the HoMM tactical maps, don’t you think Fort Triumph’s tactical maps need to be well populated, given the physics-based combat, which, for those who haven’t played since Day 1 of EA, was the game’s initial hook?

Yes, probably. It’s just hard to see what’s going on with all the graphics. Not a game breaker, but I would prefer a more simplified look.