Now that Super Mario Run is out in the wild, Nintendo is ready to turn even more of its hit franchises into addictive, bite-sized mobile experiences. The company's next smartphone outing is Fire Emblem Heroes, a smartphone-friendly take on the popular strategy role-playing series that lets you mix and match characters from throughout the franchise's history.
Launching on Android on Feb. 2 with an iOS release to follow, the free-to-play Fire Emblem Heroes will look familiar to anyone who's played the series' core installments on consoles and handhelds. Fire Emblem is basically fantasy chess, with a combat system that has you and your enemy take turns moving characters throughout a map and attacking bad guys with a variety of special abilities. Each hero has a special attack type, creating a rock-paper-scissors flow of figuring out who beats who.
Fire Emblem Heroes takes that same core gameplay and optimizes it for smartphone screens, with small maps, easy-to-see characters and the ability to slide your heroes across the battlefield with touch controls. As with the core games, you'll be treated to a brief combat animation every time two characters meet in battle.
According to the game's official website, you'll be able to collect and customize characters from all over the Fire Emblem universe, from classic heroes such as Marth and Roy to newcomers like Alfonse and Sharena. You'll also be able to summon random heroes during battle by using special orbs that you can earn by beating story missions or purchase with real money.
Fire Emblem Heroes tells a simple story that casts you as the protector of a kingdom at war, which should set the stage for the game's solo missions. The game will also have a multiplayer component, as well as training missions and limited-time challenges that let you unlock new characters.
If Super Mario Run (which finally hits Android in March) was the Nintendo mobile game for everyone, Fire Emblem Heroes has a chance at appealing to a more hardcore crowd. While Heroes might not have the sweeping story and deep relationship-building aspects of its console counterparts, the thought of being able to enjoy the series' addictive tactical combat on a smartphone is pretty tantalizing.
Heroes is just one of several big Fire Emblem games arriving over the next few years. A new Nintendo 3DS installment dubbed Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is arriving in May, while hack-and-slash spin-off Fire Emblem Warriors is arriving for both 3DS and Nintendo Switch this fall. Speaking of the Switch, Nintendo confirmed that it's working on a new core Fire Emblem game for its upcoming home console, which is exciting news for a series that's mostly been confined to small screens.