Before I played Triangle Strategy, I saw one comment describe it as being ‘Game of Thrones meets Final Fantasy Tactics’ – never has something felt more accurate. The game’s politically driven tale of alliances, wars, and betrayals between nations feels like it has almost been lifted right out George R. R. Martin’s series, whilst the strategic gameplay and visuals bear a resemblance to Square’s tactical RPG hit.

It’s a combination that works REALLY well, with Triangle Strategy standing out as one of the most riveting RPGs that I’ve played for some time. It’s narrative-heavy and the strategic gameplay might not be for everyone, but once the game gets its hooks into you, it won’t let go until you reach the end of your epic journey.

Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:

Triangle Strategy takes place in the land of Norzelia, which is made up of three distinct nations: Glenbrook, Hyzante, and Aesfrost. The three had previously found themselves engulfed in a war over the land’s resources, but after it nearly brought them all to ruin, a peace treaty was agreed upon that has since seen thirty war-free years between the nations.

Players take on the role of Serenoa Wolffort, the lord of one of the houses of Glenbrook that is due to marry Frederica Gustadolph, the daughter of the ruler of Aesfrost. Whilst this marriage is meant to strengthen the bond between Glenbrook and Aesfrost, things take a sour turn when a dispute erupts over the discovery of a mine that’s rich with resources. Aesfrost engage in conflict with Glenbrook in order to claim the resources for themselves and the time of peace soon meets a swift end.

What follows is a tale of war, with twists-and-turns aplenty as politics take over and players start to witness the deceit found not only between nations but also the powerful individuals within them. It’s genuinely gripping, and whilst the opening hours that set up the conflict aren’t quite so intriguing, the intense direction that Triangle Strategy takes as it escalates is nothing short of enthralling.

“Battles bring plenty of variety, with environments offering different levels of verticality to take advantage of, a multitude of environmental hazards that can be utilised both for and against you, and even different objectives to ensure that battling demands more than just simply wiping out the enemies in front of you.”

It is worth pointing out that Triangle Strategy is VERY narrative heavy though, with some story sequences lasting for a long time before you see any action. It wants you to learn more about the world, its history, its nations, and the people that inhabit it, whilst it’s also fleshed out with optional scenes for players to uncover themselves (something I’d highly recommend doing if you want to absorb yourself further into the narrative). This might not be for everyone, and whilst there is some decent voice acting that adds cinematic effect to each interaction, the fact that a lot of time is spent simply taking in the story and not really doing much in the way of gameplay can be off-putting. Whilst it was fine by me, it is worth knowing from the get-go what you’re signing up for, with Triangle Strategy certainly proving to be one of the most narrative-driven RPGs that I’ve ever played.

The strong focus on storytelling actually ties heavily into one of the game’s best features: the narrative branches determined by voting. There’ll be many occasions in Triangle Strategy where a choice has to be made to progress the story – these aren’t minor decisions either, but pivotal ones that can have a big effect on how events will play out. The twist is that you won’t be the one who makes the final decision; instead, it is put to a vote with seven other members of your party, with each person having their own reasons as to why they want to make a particular choice.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t get your own way though, because you’re given the chance to try and change the mind of anyone who disagrees with you. Whilst this can be done by simply conversing with them and selecting the right options, sometimes you need to obtain additional information from optional story sequences or by exploring your surroundings in order to sway them to your line of thinking. If you manage to convince enough people that you’re right? Great, you’ll have your way. But if you don’t? It’s taken out of your hands and the story progresses in a way that you might not have initially planned. It’s unpredictable but brilliantly implemented, with each moment of indecision standing out as one of the high points of Triangle Strategy’s storytelling. It adds a lot of replay value to the game too, whilst there are multiple endings that are determined by the actions you take.

“Presentation-wise, Triangle Strategy’s HD-2D world looks magnificent, with the blend of 3D pixel art environments and 2D sprites a thing of beauty in motion.”

Whilst the storytelling and the choices you make in shaping it go a long way in making Triangle Strategy a memorable experience, the tactical battling is also really enjoyable. If you’ve played a tactical RPG before, you’ll have a basic idea as to what to expect – you’ll move units across a tiled battlefield, assign actions to them, and tactically plan out each move in order to pressure enemies with a strong offense whilst also trying to keep yourself well-guarded. The game doesn’t do much to evolve upon the established formula too much, but it doesn’t stop the battles from being fun to complete. They bring plenty of variety too, with environments offering different levels of verticality to take advantage of, a multitude of environmental hazards that can be utilised both for and against you, and even different objectives to ensure that battling demands more than just simply wiping out the enemies in front of you.

It does help that Triangle Strategy boasts a varied cast of characters to use in battle, with each bringing with them different personalities that are reflected on the battlefield. Jens can create shortcuts with his ladders and also place traps, for example, whilst Lionel can charm foes and convince them to defect to your side. Then you’ve got Ezana who can literally summon rainstorms into battle, whilst Decimal is… well… a barrel (you read that right). There’s so much variety to be found within your party that you can guarantee battles are varied, whilst the fact that your actions in-game determine who can actually recruit means that you never know who’ll even end up joining you.

You’re also able to level up your party in-between battles, unlock new abilities, and change or upgrade their equipment, so there’s plenty of fine-tuning to ensure you’re ready for what lies ahead, with Triangle Strategy bringing with it a bit of a difficulty curve as you hit those later chapters. I actually found it necessary to grind out battles on the side in order to level up enough to handle some of these, which I wasn’t a fan of; battles are drawn out and strategic affairs anyway, so I would have preferred some sort of level scaling to keep the pace of progress moving as opposed to a necessity of having to grind.

Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:

It’s a shame, because battling is otherwise a really enjoyable experience. As mentioned, your diverse cast of characters make each showdown fun anyway, but finer details such as the combo actions, utilising elemental attacks to affect the environment, and positional advantages add a real thrill to encounters that only the most strategic of players will be able to take full advantage of. Triangle Strategy rewards clever thinking, whilst each battle is carefully set up to ensure victory can be achieved through a variety of different manners. Do you go all out on the offensive? Do you lure enemies into traps? Or do you wing it and see what happens? The game lets players mix it up in their own little ways where diverse tactical approaches will be rewarded.

But be warned: some battles can last close to an hour in length and things can go bad FAST. I know what it’s like to spend AGES in battle only to fail at the end, meaning you’ve got to do the whole thing all over again. Triangle Strategy is a long game anyway with it taking around forty-hours to beat, but you can expect to spend a fair amount of that time simply re-trying previously failed encounters. At least there are multiple difficulty options available though, so even tactical RPG newbies can find something that suits them.

Presentation-wise, Triangle Strategy’s HD-2D world looks magnificent, with the blend of 3D pixel art environments and 2D sprites a thing of beauty in motion. It looks like both an old-school and modern RPG at the same time, which is befitting of the sort of experience that it wants to offer players. The only caveat is that the visuals aren’t quite so crisp when playing on the Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode, but that’s the only complaint for those who prefer to play portable – the in-game menus and text are easy to read, so there are no worries there. Kudos to the sound design too, with some fantastic pieces of music on show throughout as well as voice overs for just about every character in the game.

Triangle Strategy Review

Triangle Strategy is an enthralling experience that’s blend of intriguing story-telling and enjoyable strategic battling kept me hooked in from start to end. Whilst it is guilty of being story-heavy at times, the brilliantly implemented choice-making and varied battling ensure that it never feels like it drags its feet. Add to that the impressive HD-2D visuals and it’ll be clear that the Nintendo Switch has another excellent RPG to add to its ever-growing library.

Developer: Artdink, Square Enix
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)