Differing takes on RPGs, especially strategic RPGs are a welcome take in today’s gaming industry. Seeing the success of games like Bravely Default and their 2.5D styling, Triangle Strategy follows in this approach to massive success. What can be considered close to, if not the pinnacle of the artistic medium, Triangle Strategy is a triumph in both presentation and storytelling; welcoming the best aspects of classic SRPGs of old and introducing new concepts and ways to augment gameplay that fit a modern audience. With other gameplay mechanics like the scale system creating a unique take on story progression, Triangle Strategy presents itself as a truly refreshing SRPG that will gladly take hours of your time and make it feel like minutes have passed.
Triangle Strategy’s greatest strength, and at times its weakness, is the story. The game moves at a snail’s pace for the opening hours, and honestly might as well be considered a visual novel at that point. When it comes to worldbuilding, the game is stellar. It sets the scene for both the characters and surrounding politics to come, and does a great job of it; even if it is a bit verbose. That would be the main dissuading factor to the game, as not many might be accustomed to the sheer amount of exposition dumped in the opening parts of the game. That being said, the exposition is all stellar. The stage is aptly set for the politics the game revolves around, and how the foundations of each country and their motives affected how they interacted with the world around them.
The political power plays can be expected from certain characters, but they’re all still really entertaining to watch. Seeing plot threads resolved at later parts of the game, or how characters utilize their status to leverage decisions never gets old. Paired with character stories that are optional later in the game, the development for each character is nothing short of stellar. Being equal parts curious and eager to further learn about character backstories and how that shapes their combat style and role in the story creates an engaging experience for the player, and this is the case for pretty much all the characters. This extends to the optional characters outside the main cast as well, as they each receive their own character stories that elaborate on their motivations and backstories. Everything about the cast is succinctly tied to the main house and party of the game, and makes the world feel fleshed out and storied well beyond the single game it exists as. This is before even mentioning the 2.5D artstyle, which is stunning by all accounts. Triangle Strategy looks incredible on the Switch, and it wouldn’t be far off from cinematic in certain scenarios. The use of particle effects for water, grass and fire as well as how well the lighting looks on the nighttime maps is stunning. Triangle Strategy is an achievement for the artstyle and a shining example of how to modernize sprite art.
The combat in Triangle Strategy is incredibly solid as far as SRPGs go, and attempts to create niche uses for every character. While some are better suited to some situations, maps have a level of verticality that can be scaled using the skills of other characters, or flying units that can strike from vantage points. This creates unique situations even as far as grid based combat goes, ensuring that skills are used to not only kill other units, but to traverse the map and set up future turns. This is shown early as well, as one of the first characters you receive is a dedicated support. Doing next to no weapon damage and having all of his skills be buffs, Benedict shows the player early that there are ways to not just brute force maps. The real brunt of the damage done should be left to dedicated damage dealers, and there are ways to augment that damage too.
In a similar manner to Fire Emblem games, tiles have buffs and debuffs that can change damage modifiers and accuracy, making it harder to hit some units or easier to traverse on horseback. Triangle Strategy goes further in this regard, however, incorporating weather and elemental effects that can change the landscape. Grasslands can be set ablaze, rain can generate puddles that can be frozen or electrocuted, and units can be blown away by wind. These effects create unique ways of strategizing, and effectively encourages use of characters that might not have seen use. A great example of this is Picoletta, an acrobat that can throw items further. The items invoke the elemental effects without the use of magic, so they’re effective traps as well.
Triangle Strategy is a stellar RPG with a beautiful score and art, and combat strategic enough to fully involve the player for hours at a time. With an incredibly well written story that can be replayed multiple times to run through different choices, those looking to get lost in a medieval fantasy world would be remiss to miss Triangle Strategy. By all accounts this is a must pick up for strategy fans on the Switch, and hopefully there’s more in the cards for this IP.
Score: 9 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch