Indie turn-based strategy RPGs that draws cues from other genre juggernauts are relatively common in the modern era of gaming, and Symphony of War is the genre debut of one Dancing Dragon Games. But does it deserve to hang with the games it's inspired by, or is this one Saga you can safely avoid?
Dancing Dragon Games was a studio I hadn't heard of before this game, but they've been around for a fair while, producing a fair number of RPG Maker content packs as well as several games made in the engine, most of which have gotten quite strong reviews on Steam. Symphony of War appears to use the same engine (or at the least, a very similar graphical style in its spritework and backgrounds), though its gameplay is drastically changed up, melding together elements of several established strategy RPGs together in surprisingly successful fashion.
Similar to games like Fire Emblem and Dark Wizard, you deploy and command units, slowly advancing across a map and engaging enemies in battle, capturing resources as you go (used to upgrade classes between battles) and attempting to win the battle by overtaking the enemy's fortress. Certain terrain types can grant advantages - archers that position themselves atop fortress walls or hills will get a bonus to range, while all will be harder to hit from afar when fighting in the woods or in a base. Roads grant a movement bonus, while rough terrain will be much slower to traverse for all but lightly-armored ones.
Unlike those games, however, you're not moving individual characters, but Squads consisting of up to nine units each. Similar to Ogre Battle, you position them on a 3x3 grid (or on lines between each grid space), with characters in front protecting units behind them during a clash, and each unit's actions during a clash changing depending on where they're positioned - melee fighters are only useful in the front row, obviously, while a mage class can hit all units for reduced damage from the middle column or full damage to an entire row from the back. You'll obviously also have to change up your tactics for some squads - Assassins and Rogues are relatively fragile, but can do Stealth attacks (hitting the back row instead of the front) if they attack on your turn, while Gunners do heavy, armor-piercing damage but cannot counterattack at all and die relatively quickly to melee attacks. The number of units you can have in a Squad at a time is determined by the leader's Leadership (LDR) stat, which goes up as you gain levels. Units typically cost 10 Capacity each, though some traits can increase or decrease capacity cost. A common one is "Mercenary", seen on most higher-end purchasable characters -- expensive, powerful, but they have a +2 to their Capacity cost if they're not a Squad leader. Equipping items grants bonuses to all characters in the Squad, but will also result in a penalty to Capacity that increases depending on their power.
Publisher: Dancing Dragon Games
Recommended Version: N/A