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Fugue on the Battlefield (Switch) Hands-on Preview

by Daan Koopman - June 23, 2019, 1:26 pm PDT
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The Little Tail Bronx series returns with an interesting take on strategy titles.

CyberConnect2's slate of titles have always been interesting. From ongoing franchises like .hack and Naruto to original titles like Solatorobo, they are a fun company to keep tabs on. Recently, the company presented their plans for the future and confirmed a renewed focus on self-owned IP. One of the pillars presented was a new game in their Little Tail Bronx line-up, which brought us the previously mentioned Solatorobo. This new game, however, gives us a strategy RPG like no other. Back in May at BitSummit 2019, I got my first look at Fugue on the Battlefield and the results were very pleasing.

From the get go, Fugue on the Battlefield immediately knows how to make an entrance. The models during regular gameplay are 3D, with the backgrounds and rooms made from multi-layered 2D planes. The result is absolutely stunning to look at with intriguing details anywhere you start looking. What helps is how the characters are drawn. The cat people have these simple yet expressive faces that sell the world they are in. They are in war, trying to make it out alive the best way they possibly can.

The gameplay is obviously the place that matters most. The gigantic tank roams around on a side scrolling plane and tries to reach the end safe and sound. During the route that you take, there are three specific events that will occur. First off, let's talk about battling your opponents. Once you encounter foes, you are immediately thrown into the battle screen where it is all about surviving waves. All spread across the tank, teams of two are ready to take on orders. Depending on what move they do, they will be sent back some spots in the line. For example, a Machine Gun shot will send that specific team back four Wait Time spaces. Similarly to more traditional Role Playing Games, all of the participants are set on a timeline so you can see what will happen next.

What makes using the tank such a change is that you only have one health bar. Regardless of what you do or how effective certain attacks are, the effects will have consequences for everyone involved. The demo made that extremely clear and you shouldn't go lax for even a single moment. There was an urgency there that I haven't felt for awhile, forcing you to keep looking ahead. Every enemy type will also respond differently to each weapon type in your arsenal, so figuring out a plan becomes important rather fast.

Luckily, the number of attacks available will be a gigantic help. While you can go for your basic attacks, there are plenty of other tactics at hand. Outside of Waiting or Defending, there are a number of skills that each team in the tank can use. Don't get me wrong, these resources aren't endless and you should use them only when you are in a bind. For example, you can lower the defense of an opponent or increase your own attack power. Many more powerful attacks are also at hand, but playing around with statistics was where my head was at. The guide at the booth helped me through the best tactics, but even then, I still had to decide on the moments myself.

Outside of fighting enemies, world building sections help to flesh out the story. As the army exists of younger people, you will have to keep them in line. During special intermission sections, you will talk and hear about problems they have. By giving them encouragement, they will receive a tiny bit of stat boosts, which will help you in future battles. Storybook sequences are included which provide random events that can occur. They happen at random intervals during your routes, and give you more background information. I'm not sure how much significance they have yet, but the scenes looked really flipping great.

Overall though, Fugue on the Battlefield left a strong first impression. The style of characters is really adorable, and the gameplay mechanics seem to be shaping up greatly. The game is all about knowing when to strike, which adds flavor to the proceedings. You can't simply dive head first in the game, press some buttons and easily expect results. How the bigger game pans out remains to be seen, but it is doing some real fun stuff so far.

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Game Profile

Genre Strategy
Developer CyberConnect2

Worldwide Releases

na: Fugue on the Battlefield
Release Year 2019
jpn: Fugue on the Battlefield
Release Year 2019
eu: Fugue on the Battlefield
Release Year 2019
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