Fort Triumph takes the familiar concept of X-COM — a tactical turn-based strategy series — and rolls in some fantasy role-playing elements. It's similar to what Ubisoft and Nintendo did with Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle but on PC and in a humorous fantasy setting.
Now available on Steam as an Early Access release, I took Fort Triumph for a spin.
My turn, your turn
Much like Ubisoft and Nintendo's turn-based game on Switch, Fort Triumph is a title I was anticipating but rather reserved since it's pretty easy to make the X-COM formula fail horribly. I was pleasantly surprised for a second time around. From the get-go, you're presented with a fantasy main menu with big text and elements and bright colors.
And that's continued throughout the game. The environment looks sharp and fantastical, characters are unique and the UI gets the job done. For a game that pulled in just shy of $80,000 on Kickstarter and has only just hit public (but early) release, it's very polished.
There are different maps and biomes that are used, including interior locations, caves, and more to keep it all feeling fresh as you progress through the single-player campaign. Interestingly, the engine randomly generates the map on launch, meaning you can restart a mission and have a different level layout.
Animations are crisp and fluid and the camera pans around as you'd expect in such a game. The rather large world is begging to be explored too, allowing you to visit places, raid bases, uncover secrets, and triumph to victory — and maybe save the world in the process.
Your squad of heroes all have their own abilities, some are melee and others are range-focused. Getting a grip on the party and making use of skills is one thing but taking full advantage of strengths and countering weaknesses takes some time to master.
Detected enemies are displayed on the right-hand-side, while your team is located on the left, showcasing health, available action points, and a bar representing progress made to the next character level. Actual RPG elements are rather basic here. There's a story that you take your trusty adventurers on, but it would be nice to see more features fleshed out like character and party creation (or at least being able to choose names and whatnot, as of right now it's all randomized).
The environment itself can be interacted with in great depth. Buildings can be destroyed, crates can be kicked into enemies and even objects toppled to bridge gaps. Not only do you have the option to win at besting enemies in combat, but also sneaky and creative ways of avoiding certain encounters. And when you do want to fight, you'll have to contend with cover, range and accuracy to calculate hit chance and damage.
Interestingly, there are some solid implemented mechanics, including faction relations (leading to dynamic quests), hitting up the tavern for quests, and more. The party can consist of the ranger, mage, savage, and paladin though you can choose which classes you wish to take out. Depending on chosen skills and abilities when leveling up, it's down to you to form the most effective party.
Gameplay-wise, it's a lot of fun and the mechanics work together well. For an early release, it has bags of potential. There are some crazy moments, some funny ones too — a goblin shot an arrow towards one of my characters, but hit the boulder she was using for cover and shot the rock off-screen.
Room for improvement
I'm not a fan of the settings panel, which doesn't really contain much in terms of configuration at all. There's no option for borderless window mode, nor are there any fine-tuning controls for altering graphics quality (aside from choosing from a pre-determined drop-down menu). This is something that can be addressed in future updates.
You're also tasked with using the keyboard to really take advantage of manipulating the camera, but this is a feature I'd prefer to see also tied to the mouse (the wheel button could be assigned to camera rotation, for example). Again, this is down to the lackluster settings panel, which doesn't offer any way of changing up keybindings.
It's still early days, but what CookieByte Entertainment has managed to release on PC is impressive and I'm excited to see what the team adds to the game as development continues. Fort Triumph is now available for purchase on Steam as an Early Access title.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.