Sunday, March 10

Review: Braveland Trilogy [Nintendo Switch eShop]

With an eShop that’s packed to the gills with content, every game released needs to be able to make a solid impression or risk being ignored. In the case of Braveland Trilogy on the surface level there seems to be some promise. With a relatively attractive look, a hex grid that compliments strategic play acting as a battleground, and 3 distinct (though each only lasting a few hours) campaigns it sets a decent groundwork. Unfortunately, with strategic play that’s only middle-of-the-road at best it struggles.

Starting with the positive each campaign will charge you with amassing a relatively small army of units as you progress through a relatively simple story. In each turn on the battlefield you’ll move your groups of units into place, trying to make smart and effective use of your various ranged and melee units to whittle down the enemy forces and find victory. After each battle you’ll be awarded coins (with some automatically removed as the units you’ve lost are replenished automatically), which you can then use in the overworld to purchase specific gear, specific special abilities for some of your units or simply more of a given unit (though there’s a cap on each so you can’t super-stack any specific one in particular).

Where the primary issue lies, unfortunately, is in the battles themselves. While a hex grid may be in use, and there are usually a few elements blocking some spaces, the level of strategy is limited at best. In particular my frustration is with the fact that ranged units can pretty well fire anywhere, though with distance there will be a penalty, making positioning of units you want to protect a bit pointless as they can’t be given cover. Typically this will leave your healer units vulnerable, not to say their limited charges per battle make them as useful as they could be anyway.

Just in general battle isn’t very satisfying and lacks the degree of nuance I’d expect in a solid strategy title. Too often battles devolve into might makes right and crashing up against each other until one side falls. Special abilities could have helped to minimize this but, for the most part, they’re just variations on a theme and hardly game-changing. You could hope that each of the game’s 3 chapters would throw something new and exciting into the mix but for the most part outside of some ultimately mild variations the issues with the combat remain, the units involved just look a bit different and may have some slightly different flavor.

While the Switch doesn’t have an abundance of strategy titles, unfortunately it’s hard not to look at Braveland Trilogy and concede that most of them are better than this. While it may have a polished look and use elements that would imply greater depth the satisfaction factor just isn’t there. If you’re able to play with a friend going head to head for a little while may spice things up a bit but so many units and their attacks are just too vanilla to generate much excitement. In a pinch it may provide some mild strategic fun but it’s simply too dull to stand out.

Score: 5.5

  • 3 campaigns, each with their own story and unit variations
  • Grid-based combat gets some things right, though admittedly not enough

  • Strategically the game lacks both depth and excitement
  • While there are mild variations in each character’s campaign they all suffer from the same issues with blandness