Indie Review Strategy

Fort Triumph – Review

Some of my favorite PC Gaming memories as a kid came from the likes of the now-desecrated Heroes of Might and Magic series, and to a lesser extent, King’s Bounty and Age of Wonders. These games hooked me with a mixture of town management, adventuring, hero building, and turn-based combat in a way few games have. Whilst the big names in the genre are substantially lesser now, there are still some who remember the good old days. Fort Triumph attempts to reinvigorate the genre whilst adding in some neat touches of its own. How does it fair?

Hovel Adequate

If I was being especially kind? Adequately. Fort Triumph comes packaged with four campaigns following the exploits of various fantasy races such as Humans, Elves, and Goblins. The story itself is delivered in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way, and the jokes being cracked here are written well enough to evoke the occasional half-smile. Whether your holier-than-thou Paladin is inadvertently fueling his mage-friend’s drug addiction, or your scoundrelous ranger is smooth-talking his way out of governing some peasants, there are plenty of good times to be had. Each campaign will run you around-about 10 hours to boot. 

As canny as Solaris Ironfloss can be, or as entertaining as the Smouldering Soup Inn sounds, the actual story in Fort Triumph leaves an awful lot to be desired. The game’s charm never truly fades, but it does diminish rather quickly. Needless to say, I stopped playing Fort Triumph for the cookie-cutter plot points, and instead engaged more and more with the game’s rather interesting gameplay.

The game is, for the most part, split into two distinct modes of play with a side dish consisting of catastrophically important, but easily overlooked city stuff. Firstly you have world exploration. Each campaign is split into acts, and each act takes place on a large, fogged-over, world map. You guide the physical representation of your party (or parties) throughout the wilds, encountering all kinds of enemies, dialogues, and gubbins along the way.

Fort Triumph - House

Country Splodging

Your party can only go so far before they have to rest, with resting generating currency and eventually causing enemies to grow in power. The main quest is also highlighted during this mode, but ignoring it and finding extra loot and EXP is something any budding explorer should endeavor to do. As the Acts tick along, you will also encounter roaming enemy parties who can and will, steal your stuff and ransack your town, which keeps you on your toes and encourages careful expansion.

Speaking of towns, Fort Triumph dabbles in some light town-building. Towns essentially act as buff dispensaries and hero farms. Feel like your dudes aren’t doing enough damage? Upgrade your town. Want to move further? The town has you covered. The game underplays the importance of this system in the tutorial, but success is almost always down to a mixture of map maneuvering and town tinkering. 

Part of the genre’s appeal is the somewhat addictive nature of uncovering stuff in this phase of the game, and Fort Triumph manages to pull it off to some extent, but like with the story, something is a bit off here. There is very little to find outside of gold and combat, and the odd magic trinket or arcane encounter did little to spur me to action. This was especially true when some of these encounters pitted you against seemingly impossible odds. By the time I was able to go toe-to-toe with these brutes, I had already completed the Act, and fighting them seemed pointless.

X-Com With A Twist

Fighting is where Fort Triumph truly shines, even if, like everything else, it is only for a little while. To its credit, it shines brighter and longer than everything else. On the surface, the combat on offer is quite literally ‘fantasy X-Com’. Each character has several Action Points and they use them to move around, hit things, and use abilities. There is even a disproportionate amount of chest-high terrain to hide behind to help you dodge arrows and magic missiles. This system gets recycled constantly for a reason, and that’s because it’s pretty damn swanky. 

Fort Triumph mixes things up with the use of physics and the manipulation of said laws. On a basic level, cover becomes a hazard. If an enemy is hiding behind a tree, a sturdy boot to the trunk will knock it down, crush the hapless sod, and, if it survives, it’ll suffer from a serious case of dizzies. You can use magical tornadoes to launch rocks across the screen, or attach a grappling hook to one enemy and yank them into another to cause a rather comical double-stun. You might think this system is optional, but it isn’t. Combat in Fort Triumph is brutal, and thinking outside the box is the only way to get through unscathed.

But things get even cooler when you start throwing in man-handling. Every character can grab objects or people near them and yeet them across the map. You could use this to grab an ally and throw them towards the enemy, or grab an enemy and throw them out a window. Let’s factor in Overwatch – the inherent ability for ranged combat users to fire at anything that moves. You could run into a building, punch a goblin, grab his mate, throw him out of a window, and have your buddy headshot him on the way down. Or, you could throw a skeleton over your barbarian and watch as they get a few free swings in as they sail past.

Fort Triumph - Selection

Keep On Yeeting

Heck, do it all at the same time and for next to no AP you could have your entire party deal massive damage to a powerful enemy – and then repeat it if you throw him in the throwing range of a mate. The system is designed to be abused, and it is a load of fun messing around with it. You would do well to remember that the enemy AI isn’t stupid either, and is more than capable of doing most of these things to you if you mess up your positioning. Throw in environmental damage like fire burning down buildings and whatnot and Fort Triumph has one of the most dynamic combat systems in recent memory.

It’s all a little bit rough though. It’s not always clear what enemies can do at a glance, controlling your party and navigating menus is clunky, and walls may as well not exist since you can swing your sword through them without any penalty. The game is also surprisingly lengthy. Sure, you unlock new abilities fairly frequently, but each combat tended to boil down to executing the same strategy over and over. This started to get stale by the end of the first campaign. 

Fort Triumph is also quite the generic-looking mess. Graphical fidelity is a distant dream, and it looks much closer to a Vita game than something designed for the PS4. Animations are clunky, models are basic and environments feel recycled. The art style doesn’t help matters either, which is generic cartoony fantasy 101. If you’ve played anything remotely fantasy in the last 20 years, you’ll probably recognize the visual tropes.

The sound design doesn’t hold up either. Sound effects are basic and there is a distinct lack of voice acting. The latter isn’t the biggest of deals, but some over-the-top hammy acting would have helped sell the comedy a tad. Similar to the visuals, music is as generic as they come, hitting every conceivable fantasy jingle branch of the fantasy jingle tree.

Fort Triumph - Gameplay


Fort Triumph isn’t a bad game. I’d even consider it a good game for a little while. Its issues are its general lack of polish and how quickly every one of its systems dull by the end of the first or second act, let alone the final act of the fourth campaign. There is oodles of content on offer here, it just wasn’t worth experiencing to the fullest. This is all made worse by the poor production values and general jank. Probably something to look out for on sale.


Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch

If you would like to read about Strategy games, you might be interested to read this review of Space Crew.

Many thanks to CookieByte Entertainment for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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