We live in a golden age of tactical games, with many strategic options available to people who prefer to think rather than act. This year alone we had Mario & Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and Floppy Knights, and with heavy hitters like Tactics Ogre and Marvel’s Midnight Suns still to come, there’s more where that came from. As if that wasn’t enough Triangle Strategy is now out on PC, and if you missed it the first time around then this is your chance to redeem yourself.
The continent of Norzelia is enjoying some peace after the three kingdoms finally put an end to the constant war. As the new Lord of House Wolffort, our hero Serenoa is dedicated to maintaining this peace and his relations with all the higher ups of the kingdoms. As I’m sure you can imagine this doesn’t last too long, and an epic journey of political turmoil, heartbreaking betrayal and tragedy ensues.
When it came out on Switch at the beginning of the year, there were some complaints about the amount of story in Triangle Strategy, which I could understand if it wasn’t exceptionally well written with amazing characters. The fantasy war setting has all the twists and turns of Game of Thrones or The Last Kingdom, and I was hooked from start to finish.
Words won’t always solve your problems in Triangle Strategy though, and more often than not you’ll have to lead your allies in battle against enemy soldiers. This is done with some very traditional grid-based tactical combat. If you’ve played anything from Final Fantasy Tactics to Disgaea before, then you’ll feel right at home here, and that’s anything but a bad thing.
You see, despite not bringing a great deal of new to the tactical table, Triangle Strategy takes all the best mechanics of its peers and polishes them to perfection. Taking turns moving your characters around and attacking your enemies has never felt so good, with exceptionally well-designed combat and plenty of options to consider in each battle.
I think what makes Triangle Strategy really special is how different each member of your party feels. Serenoa himself is a fairly normal swordsman, but when he levels he gets access to ranged attacks, an attack that delays the enemy’s turn and even a counter attack. Along with the Lord you have mages with various attacks, a monk with many options to strengthen your team and a ninja who can attack twice in one go. Figuring out the best way to use your favorites is a lot of fun, and before you know it, they’ll be teaming up to take down wave after wave of villains.
None of your troops have the power to face multiple enemies alone, but together they are unstoppable. By taking advantage of your units positioning and encircling the enemy, you will be able to chain follow-up attacks and deliver killing blows. Nothing feels better than pulling off the perfect maneuver and getting the drop on the enemies, especially since you get handy style points for doing so.
Between battles there is plenty to keep the party busy, with plenty of upgrades and equipment to manage. Each character has a skill tree for spending cash and resources, with many options for how to specify your team. You’ll also want to buy some Quietus Abilities, which are powerful moves that can be used at any time to turn the tide of a shard. The first of them I unlocked gave a free turn to a unit of your choice, and the second restored half the health of some units. To keep the game fair, you can only use these once during a battle, but you’d do well to remember them when you’re in a pinch.
As if the 35-hour runtime (at least) isn’t enough, there’s plenty of reason to replay Triangle Strategy once you’re done. This is because there are all sorts of decisions you’ll have to make throughout the story that send you on branching paths. The most important of these are not made by Serenoa directly, and instead he asks his close allies to vote on these decisions. Before the votes you have the chance to try to sway the party though, which leads to some interesting character moments.
My time with Triangle Strategy has only been on the Steam Deck, and I can happily report that it works flawlessly on the beautiful portable. The gorgeous HD 2D graphics really pop on that rugged screen, and being able to grab and play definitely helped those hours go by faster than they would otherwise.
Triangle Strategy is an exceptional tactical game, but it is not without its problems. The most notable of these is how sub-par you will be no matter what. Unless you grind and repeat optional missions multiple times, you’ll be at a disadvantage in combat, and this becomes even more of a problem when the game starts spawning in enemies to catch you off guard. Battles can end up taking close to an hour in the late game, so replaying them when you lose can be a drag (though saving the XP means it’s never for nothing).
Triangle Strategy is one of the best tactical games I’ve ever played, with perfectly polished combat and an engaging story. If you can’t get enough grids and don’t mind a little reading, then you owe it to yourself to play this game.