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Triangle Strategy Review (for Nintendo Switch)

Subtle and sublime are the descriptors that best fit the $59.99 triangle strategy. Subtle, because the strategy RPG’s highly accessible gameplay elements, impeccable balance, and narrative integration aren’t immediately apparent. Sublime, because the sum of its parts elevates the game, producing one of the most polished titles for Nintendo Switch. On top of that, excellent combat, engaging story facets, and divergent campaign routes keep you engrossed throughout the 50+ hour long game. It’s a shame that Triangle Strategy has such a banal name, because the game is just the opposite.


parley between chambers

Triangle Strategy takes place in a kingdom called Norzelia and focuses on three kingdoms, Glenbrook, Aesfrost, and Hyzante, that make up the titular Triangle. These nations formed an alliance after the devastating Saltiron War, but the armistice falters as the game begins. You take on the role of Serenoa Wolffort, heiress to the most prominent house in Glenbrook and a friend to the realm’s prince, Roland. It doesn’t take much for the powder keg to be lit, and what follows is a winding political adventure that touches on religious manipulation, invented fear, discrimination and the ignorance of a generation far removed from the ravages of war. These themes appear in the various combat situations; rich playable characters; and a branching, player-influenced story.

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At key points in the narrative, you will encounter situations that require you to make a critical decision. This is not as straightforward as simply selecting the appropriate text box; his party also has its own interest in the decisions. You influence party members by talking to them, sharing information you’ve learned while exploring, or reasoning with them based on their personality. History diverges depending on who casts which vote for you, so Triangle Strategy has amazing replay value. The story can change and pivot significantly based on these decisions, which in turn depends on what you’ve learned throughout the story. It gives you a surprising amount of agency, as it feels like you’re making genuine connections and decisions for your entourage.

Make decisions, big and small, for the fate of the kingdom.

Between the combat and story scenarios, you can explore the picturesque locations or watch events unfold in other regions that affect other factions. Still, the story follows Serenoa and her house exclusively, which keeps the plot concise. There’s a lot of dialogue in this story-driven game: when you’re not making decisions, you’re watching numerous cutscenes. This is particularly true early in the game, when Triangle Strategy is still establishing its world and characters. This makes the pacing feel a bit slow, especially if you just want to move the guys around on a grid. The action speeds up as the plot progresses, but this slowness does not completely dissipate.


Take up arms

Conflict is inevitable, and once the wheels of war begin to turn, Serenoa and her group must navigate increasingly difficult and dangerous skirmishes to advance. Combat is a standard turn-based affair, at first glance. You can take 10 units into battle, set their position on the map and use their attacks and special abilities to eliminate the enemy threat. Grid-based maps are reminiscent of the maps you find in Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem. Triangle Strategy shakes things up by adding additional layers of mechanics to this standard combat framework, while also giving you a set of tools to make informed stratagems on the fly, making encounters utterly engaging and addictive, yet still fiendishly challenging. .

Triangle Strategy offers a simulation mode at the beginning of a turn. This allows you to execute moves without committing to them, so you can see the damage they’ll do. Like Fire Emblem, Triangle Strategy has brightly colored grids that indicate movement and attack ranges, so you can clearly and easily see what each unit is capable of delivering in combat.

Simple but effective images.

You’ll rely on every class the game has to offer, thanks to Triangle Strategy’s excellent game balance. Roland, for example, is a cavalry unit with excellent range. His spear attacks have a massive range that extends two squares in front of him, essentially allowing him to hit two targets in one turn. Anna, on the other hand, is a highly mobile assassin who can scale any elevation with her special ability, backstab for critical damage, and become inaccessible for several turns. Each unit you recruit has unique abilities and perks, and all of them are incredibly useful.

Unique terrain features enrich fights. Height gives units an attack advantage, so archers shooting from above are incredibly powerful. Special abilities can create unique combos or environmental hazards. For example, you can set a tile on fire with fire magic and then unleash a wind-based ability or spell to spread the fire to your advantage. There are numerous combinations like this in the game, which really opens up the strategy.

Triangle Strategy is generous with information. Hovering over a tile shows which enemies can attack it, for example, minimizing the chances of a stupid decision that could cost you the unit or potentially the battle. The game even suggests which party members to take with you into a battle and lets you buy supplies or rank up units before jumping into a battle royale. These are wonderful and very convenient benefits, but they don’t diminish the overall challenge.

Gorgeous visuals and accessible action.

As your roster and skills expand, so do the challenges each scenario presents. A fight might limit you to a stage full of platforms with spike-ridden traps, for example. A later stage may drop you into a highly flammable game of chips. Another may put you in an uphill battle, where you fight a group of enemies as you make your way to the top. The combat experience is excellent. The only real opportunity missed is the lack of touchscreen controls. As a Nintendo Switch title, I would have liked it to select and move units with the touchpad when playing undocked. Triangle Strategy is fine without them, but the feature would be very convenient when playing on the go.


Classic images, modern aesthetics

I’m a big fan of the high-definition 2D look that Triangle Strategy employs, previously seen in Octopath Traveler. The set pieces are packed with detail, despite their seemingly pixelated facade. Each colorful diorama has some striking imagery to match the deliberately dated sprite work, such as the soft glow of light from windows at night, the shimmer of running water, or the gentle fluttering of fabric in the wind.

Also, the music is fantastic and dynamic, for starters. The orchestral score matches the flow of battle, so it’s triumphant and upbeat when you’re in the lead, and all the more dramatic and terrifying when things are bleak.

Triangle Strategy runs at 30 frames per second on the Nintendo Switch, and the frame rate remains fairly constant throughout the game. There are a handful of late-game situations where the framerate drops, especially during crowded fights, but thankfully it’s not too often.


A winning stratagem

Triangle Strategy is a riveting Strategy RPG with world-class combat, an engaging storyline, and a large cast of characters to become familiar with as you determine the fate of Norzelia. Story scenes and dialogue-heavy interludes can slow down the pace of the game, which can make the game feel like a drag if you’re not drawn to the plot. On the other hand, if you’re engrossed in the story, the decision-driven plot and excellent characterization are a huge plus. Coupled with excellent combat mechanics and charming visuals, Triangle Strategy boasts a winning formula and easily stands out alongside established franchises like Fire Emblem, Disgaea, and Final Fantasy Tactics.

For more recommended Nintendo Switch titles, check out The Best Nintendo Switch Games and The Best Nintendo Switch Games For Kids. For an in-depth video game talk, visit PCMag’s Pop-Off YouTube channel (opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window).

Triangular Strategy (for Nintendo Switch)

advantages

  • Highly strategic turn-based combat

  • Fascinating narrative, with story-altering decisions.

  • excellent replay value

  • Wonderfully dynamic score

The bottom line

Triangle Strategy is an excellent tactical RPG that brilliantly blends narrative-driven decision-making with refined elements of fantasy and strategy, making it a must-play for fans of the genre.

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