Don’t let the cute looks fool you; Battleheart is hardcore combat.
iOS gamers who love strategic battles are surely looking forward to seeing Square-Enix’s classic turn-based battler, Final Fantasy Tactics, on their iPhones and iPods within the year, but for now there’s more than enough battling and stat-raising with various fantasy RPG class-types in Battleheart. Brought to the appstore by Mika Mobile, the makers of the now-classic Zombieville USA (which shows in BH’s distinct art style and animation), Battleheart is something similar to Final Fantasy Tactics.
Well, really, both titles have as many differences as they have similarities. FFT is in semi-3D, while BH is totally, flatly 2D. Both games have a ‘cutesy’ look which is a bit of a disconnect from the simple fact that they’re both about WAR and COMBAT and KILLING. FFT has a complex, high-hat epic tale with plots within plots, threads that interlock and intertwine. Battlehearts just has you and your comrades defending the kingdom (well, at least, at first). But in the end, both games share one big commonality- you have to take a bunch of cute, SD-looking recruits and turn them into the most bad-ass, efficient and awe-inspiring death-dealers on the battlefield and mow all opposition down in every stage.
The controls in BH are deceptively simple- you can have up to four party members on the field at once. You take control of each one by simply tapping them with your finger to select them, and then drawing a line to any point on the field- on any unoccupied spot to make them move, on an enemy to make them attack, or on a comrade to do some beneficial move (such as healing). For the most part, your members will do their assigned task until you take command of them again and have them go somewhere else or fight something else, or they die.
In between battles you earn gold and experience, which you can parlay for better equipment, armor and weapons, and to access powerful skills and powers as your dudes or dudettes rise in level. You can grind as much as you want in stages you complete. Instead of creating party members from scratch, you recruit them from the local tavern, where unhired warriors, thieves or other potential members (there are supposedly 8 different classes of characters) hang out.
So far I am enjoying BH pretty much- the controls are perfect for the touchscreen of the iOS devices, and whether it’s on an iPhone or a larger iPad, it’s pretty easy to pick your guys out even in the middle of a messy melee (though mistakes can lead to some trouble, but heck- see if in real life giving orders on a chaotic battlefield would be any easier). I’ve yet to plumb the depths or go the distance yet in this game, but so far I’m enjoying taking my time and grinding as I advance.
Battleheart is available now on the appstore for $2.99, and it’s a Universal app, which means it works full-screen in full resolution whatever your iOS device. FFT seems still a ways off, so nicely I’ll be busy and happy till then. Full review to come soon.