Triangle Strategy Demo Review

Every screenshot in this article is a screenshot taken in-game by Lily Cabibi-Wilkin.

Triangle Strategy for the Nintendo Switch is a game that’s been in the corner of my eye since it first appeared in the Feb. 17, 2021 Nintendo Direct under the name Project Triangle Strategy. It’s being developed by Square Enix and Artdink, and is led by producer Tomoya Asano, known for the Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler games. While the full game is scheduled for release this March, the demo was released after last Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct. I spent about four hours playing through it.

Exploring Wolffort Territory.

The graphics of Triangle Strategy are exquisite, a fascinating blend of pixelated and realistic graphics. It’s a bit like playing Minecraft with a shader on – the flames, water and flags blowing in the wind stick out amongst the blocky landscape. The character models are easy to tell apart with a few exceptions. 

The tourney.

However, the character profile designs don’t fit the voices or purported roles of the characters very well. Every character either looks like a wafer-thin 12-year-old or an overly bulky old dude. When all the playable characters are supposed to be competent fighters, it looks a little weird. Otherwise, the voice acting is good (the game automatically boots up with English voice acting, though Japanese is also available), though it sounds like the English dub of an anime at times. At time of press a full list of voice actors had not been released for either Japanese or English.

The background music is nice, though there was one music choice towards the beginning (the scene with Travis and Trish) that was a little odd. There were also some instances where music that was much too serious for the scene, but overall it wasn’t an issue.

The story of Triangle Strategy is supposed to be the largest element, and players will spend more time in cutscenes than they will playing the strategy battles. The plot is fairly standard – you play as Seranoa Wolffort as he becomes Lord of House Wolffort, participates in a tourney and embarks as an envoy on a diplomatic mission. Also in your party are your fiance Princess Frederica Aesfrost and her attendant Geela Breisse, your best friend Prince Roland of Glenbrook and his knight Hughette Bucklar, your butler Benedict Pascal and his assistants Anna Pascal and Erador Ballentine.

Serenoa’s appointment as Lord of House Wolffort.

In the continent of Norzelia in the wake of the Saltiron War, the three nations of Glenbrook, Aesfrost, and Hyzante have reached a peace agreement, and now have set their sights on a mining venture. However, tensions are still noticeable, and it is up to you to keep the peace or tear it apart. This is done through the few dialogue choices you are afforded, though it is not clear what each choice does. Each choice simply gives you a notification that “Seranoa’s conviction has strengthened” but it’s not clear what that means. You also mysteriously get the same notification for speaking to certain people or completing combat training.

I’m not sure what caused Serenoa’s convictions to become so much stronger, nor am I sure what I gain from it.

There is also an interesting gameplay feature: exploring the environment and speaking to certain people unlocks additional dialogue choices. In one portion of the demo, you must decide whether to travel to the frigid Grand Duchy of Aesfrost or the sandy Holy State of Hyzante. This choice is decided by the seven people in your party, who hold their own opinions – three want to go to each nation, one is undecided. However, if you’ve collected enough information during the exploration period, you can persuade certain members of the party to vote for the choice you want. I have mixed feelings on this – on one hand, it’s nice to be rewarded for exploration, but on the other hand it feels a little cheap to have a group vote and then let you tell everyone how to vote. (Side note: I recommend making a separate save file before you do the voting sequence, so you can go back and play both the Hyzante and Aesfrost routes. Otherwise, you’ll have to start the game from the beginning if you want to play the other route.)

Once you finally get to the combat in Triangle Strategy (there is about one combat in each chapter), it plays out like your normal turn-based combat. Each of your characters has different abilities and ranges, and you’re encouraged to experiment. A notable element is the directions: at the end of each turn you have to tell your character which way to face, and you can get a critical strike on a character if you hit them from behind. The same can also be done to you, making these directions important. Height is also an important factor, and you can deal more damage to an enemy if you have the high ground. My only complaint is that the ranges of your characters are too small to be useful on larger maps, even characters that you would expect to have a larger range like pyromancer Frederica and archer Hughette. I spent a great deal of time during the combat in Hyzante just trying to get within range of the people I was trying to attack.

Some final notes: There are cats in the game, and while you cannot pet them you can interact with them and they meow at you. I picked the Hyzante route because I thought they would be more tolerant of Frederica than her scheming half-siblings in Aesfrost, yet upon voting was immediately informed that the nation of Hyzante is extremely prejudiced towards Rosellans (Frederica’s race). The tourney was hyped up over the first chapter and a half but consisted of one round of combat. 

Overall, Triangle Strategy has its quirks, but it’s a mostly solid game and I’m looking forward to playing the full version when it releases. I recommend it for people who like strategy games, but also for people who like visual novels and worldbuilding in general. The main campaign is supposed to be 50 hours long, so if the game sounds interesting I recommend trying the demo to see if you think it’s worth 60 of your dollars and 50 of your hours.

The demo does not capture the wedding.

Categories: #Life

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