After nearly 6 decades, Nintendo finally had a new Nintendo Direct last week. One of the breakout stars was the announcement of a new TRPG, Project Triangle Strategy. Currently, this is just a working title, although I don’t mind it. This is a game from a small Indie dev from Japan called Square Enix. You’ve probably never heard of them.
Harking back to a 2.5D, more pixelart style, much like older Final Fantasy games and others, I have seen some speculation that this may be a spiritual successor to the Final Fantasy Tactics series. This is just hearsay, as I’m pretty sure there is no confirmation of anything yet. It also bears a striking resemblance to Octopath Traveler, the hugely well received game of the same genre also made by Square Enix.
To go along with the reveal at the Nintendo Direct, a Debut Demo was released for the Switch. The demo clocks in at 1.6GB and is free from the eShop right now. Square Enix will also be providing a survey to get feedback about the game.
What’s the message?
This is a debut demo and nothing in it should really be taken as final. That would be the official line at least, I’m sure that if nothing egregious is found a lot will be kept.
The main plot is that one nation has attacked a peaceful one, using a faked death of one of their royal line as the instigator. They kill the crown prince and the king and chase the now heir to the throne.
Your party is this new heir and his comrades as they escape his own capital and travel to a fortress nearby.
It’s not the most original plot in this demo but it’s sufficient. It starts off pretty well to be fair though, with enough darkness and intrigue to make me interested in the whole story.
As a TRPG you work on a grid with your party and the enemy team. You are moving each party member within a set range. Each party member will get a chance to move, use a skill, and choose the direction they will face.
There are plenty of classes and different skills to choose from too, like fire or ice magic, my fave being ice wall. Or attacking with a weapon like a sword or bow. The amount that you move and where can change depending on unit and your mount.
Choosing the direction that you’re facing can be important too as you get hurt more from behind, which can also lead into follow up attacks too. These are extra damage chances that involve multiple units on a team.
Attacking an enemy from the front, if there’s another of your team members directly behind them, will initiate a second follow up attack to deal even more damage.
There’s an elevation mechanic that can play a part in combat too. This can affect the distance a bow can fire for example.
The combo potential in this game is pretty phenomenal from what I’ve seen, with combining different magics and the environment, and follow up attacks.
Choices that you make during dialogue can change how the world views you. This can change different NPCs, with how they interact with you, and maybe if they’ll join your side.
It seems mostly like a pretty standard TRPG affair with some interesting combo mechanics.
What do I like so much?
The first thing is the kind of dark story. It starts right away with an invasion and a bunch of murders/executions. It’s a strong start, narratively, but I will say that the chosen art style does take away from this a little. However, it sets up a grittier and darker story which I like.
Then there’s what little we get of the soundtrack. There’s not much, as this isn’t a full game, but what is there is good. It harks back to more classic Square Enix works which isn’t an issue by any means.
The attack animations are surprisingly fantastic. Maybe “surprisingly” is a little rude but the animations surpass the graphics. With the very old-school 2.5D graphics being joined with elaborate and colourful attacks. Like my favourite which is Ice Wall, this creates three ice blocks across the grid.
There are a few things that I’m not really into with Project Triangle Strategy. The first thing is that I’m not a big TRPG guy, having only played a few and only really liking one, which was Fire Emblem Three Houses. I’m not the best judge on these kinds of things. I do have to compare it to Three Houses as that game is a masterclass.
Mt first point is the art style, I’m not a huge fan of it in this instance. I’m fine with a similar style in older games and even newer and similar games. For some reason, and I really can’t put my finger on why, I don’t gel with it. Something just feels off. It also doesn’t aid in the intensity of the story, things line an execution has much less impact in this style.
Then another big “issue” is that the combat is a little slower and not intuitive enough. Unlike with my first experience in Fire Emblem, the best choices and what each unit can do is less obvious. It takes more buttons and repeated checking to get to gripes with anything. It just needs some streamlining in my opinion.
Finally, and this may change in the final game, but there is so much dialogue. Now it is just the demo so maybe it would be split up better but so much dialogue. I also could be wrong but there didn’t seem to even be an auto-play option. This is not ok. With like what seemed like 10 times more dialogue than any actual gameplay, in a demo at least, it isn’t great.
What does it all mean?
Overall I think it’s an interesting plot to start off a game that has potential. It doesn’t feel very friendly to newcomers and has some things that I personally don’t like.
If you’re a fan of a lot of TRPGs or maybe something like Final Fantasy Tactics I think this is for you. It seems very targeted to that specific audience rather than a newer one.
For me, I am unlikely to buy and play this game as it is but that’s just me. What did you think of Project Triangle Strategy? Do you like it? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter and Facebook for more gaming stuff!
Project Triangle Strategy – Demo Impressions.
Written by Kyle Munn.