Square Enix has done and continues to do a great job of supporting the Nintendo Switch. Their latest release on the system might be their best—Triangle Strategy. The game takes players on a journey of political intrigue in a fantasy world.
Square Enix has perfectly balanced excellent storytelling, exploration, and tactical turn based battles. Triangle Strategy is quite possibly one of their finest releases to date on Switch. That being said, there are a few things that keep Triangle Strategy grounded with room for improvements in the future.
Triangle Strategy Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Square Enix
Genre: Role-Playing, Strategy, Adventure
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Intriguing Political Struggles
Triangle Strategy builds a solid foundation for the experience you will have by creating a believable, strong story. It is a story riff with politics, arranged marriages, and more. You play as a young Lord-heir of the House Wolffort, Serenoa Wolffort.
At the game’s opening, your father, Symon, abdicates his position as Lord of the house and one of the ruling families of Glenbrook, setting you in his place instead. As Serenoa, it is your job to oversee a large gathering of three nations as they attempt to secure and maintain their rocky and tense alliance by beginning a joint mining venture.
All three kingdoms – The Kingdom of Glenbrook, Grand Duchy of Aesfrost, and the Holy State of Hyzante – are bringing some expertise or materials to the table in order to make this venture happen, for the betterment of the three kingdoms. As new Lord, Seneroa must welcome the three kingdoms to Glenbrook, host a tournament in honour of the new venture, and make sure that everyone goes home happy.
It would be a pretty lousy game if everything ended up perfect, and things quickly derail. When the tournament ends, the King of Glenbrook tasks Serenoa with being an envoy to either the Grand Dutchy of Aesfrost or the Holy State of Hyzante. And so some of the unique gameplay elements to Triangle Strategy are born.
Lots of Moving Parts
The gameplay in Triangle Strategy is varied, and can be broken down into many different categories. There are cutscenes where you aren’t really required to do anything but pay attention. As a deep narrative experience, these take up the bulk of your experience.
Here you will learn more about the political issues both internally and externally plaguing the three kingdoms. You will also learn more about the characters you meet along the way, tensions that exist, and so much more. While it might be tempting to quickly skip through the dialogue, it is paramount to the experience.
When not in cutscenes, you’ll spend the rest of your time exploring environments and battling in turn-based battles. The exploration phase is also incredibly important to the gameplay loop. This gives you an opportunity to engage with your party members or local townsfolk. And, it is also an opportunity to visit shops, find hidden items on the map and assess the terrain.
It is important to take special note of where the high points on the map are, where the ladders and ramps are, and so on. It comes in handy later. The exploration phase is also where a lot of decision making will occur. From time-to-time, Serenoa will engage with friends who will give him a number of options to select from in terms of an answer, each of which can slightly influence the story.
I found the best way to tackle these situations was not to build the character I wanted based on traits. But, to actually answer questions honestly, as if I really was in that situation. For me, this created a much more immersive experience, which I believe was the goal when Square Enix included this additional feature.
The final major gameplay element are the turn-based battles. If you’ve ever played a turn based game before, a lot of what you experience here might seem pretty common. You can set up the battlefield and choose participants before things even start. This gives you some control over what you want to happen on the field.
Once in battles, you will use tactical manoeuvres, and the strengths of your fighters, to hopefully win! Certain enemies are weak to certain types of attacks. And, all attackers receive a bonus when attacking from a higher location than their adversary. Attacking from behind deals more damage. And, sandwiching an enemy between two allies might allow you to take additional attacks!
There are quite a few strategic elements at play in these battles. While many are won by killing all enemy units, Square Enix does a good job of making battles fit the story. In one early example, you are only required to get a specific character to a specific point on the map. As you enter this particular battle, the party knows there is no winning. And, therefore the sole goal is to get character A into building B. I love the variety, and appreciate how this requires a different strategic approach than a “kill all enemies” battle would.
But wait! There’s more!
What we just discussed isn’t even all of it either. The Scales of Conviction also adds an interesting new gameplay element where you will be required to convince your fellow travelers of taking specific paths. While you can try to influence their decisions, it will ultimately come down to a vote amongst party members, where the majority rules.
This aspect, however, will make each trip through Triangle Strategy – and you will take many to get multiple endings – exciting and different.
Visually and audibly stunning
Thankfully, Square Enix recognized that the fantastic and interesting gameplay loop they created needed to be backed by outstanding visuals and stunning audio. For the most part, they have. Although there is a decent amount of less than stellar voice acting, the visuals and soundtrack are the perfect match to the gameplay.
After playing for about 25-30 hours, the music has not worn on me yet, and the environments – even those I visit multiple times – continue to look impressive and are fun to explore.
Triangle Strategy is a compelling experience, even for players who aren’t fans of the genre
Even if turn based tactical strategy games are not your cup of tea, there is something compelling about Triangle Strategy that might pull in even the most skeptical of players. With a variety of difficulty options and the heavy reliance on cut scenes, this could be a gateway tactical game for those less enamoured by the genre.
On the flip side, hardcore fans might find the constant dialogue and story driven cut scenes to be a bit much, taking away from the games exploration and battle moments. Whether a longtime fan of the genre or just dipping your toes in the water, Triangle Strategy is a compelling title with too much upside to ignore.
+ Outstanding story
+ Strong tactical battles
+ Gorgeous environments
+ Beautiful soundtrack
– Somewhat suspect voice acting
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF TRIANGLE STRATEGY
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5