Last year I had the honour to review Braveland Trilogy on the Nintendo Switch, a collection of casual Heroes of Might and Magic style games combined within a single package. Today marks the release of the collection on the PlayStation 4, with the Xbox One version launching tomorrow, so I’ve been playing them all over again to see just how well the games, and the trophies, stack up on Sony’s console. As I’d expected, I instantly became addicted to them just like I did the first time, the fun gameplay combined with the simple mechanics makes this a great doorway title into the world of Strategic Turn-based RPGs.
As I have already written a detailed and in-depth review of title on the Switch, which you can read HERE, I’m going to take a different approach to this review and focus more on the trophies, differences, my personal thoughts, and the overall difficulty of this version over the Switch edition. As such, I’d highly recommend you read my previous review first if you want a breakdown on the gameplay mechanics, the differences between the three games, and story within each title.
If you’ve done that or would like to just hear about this particular edition of the game, let’s continue…
The Braveland Trilogy is, if you’ve not already guessed, a collection of three games which launched previously on Mobile and Steam. There is a fourth game, which isn’t included, but that one is Free-to-play and hasn’t been received too kindly due to it quickly becoming Pay-to-Win (according to reviews over on Steam). The same developers, Tortuga Team, have also released another title recently called Spaceland, which I’ve also reviewed on the PS4 HERE, although that game is more akin to a casual XCOM title rather than the HoMM style the Braveland games go for.
Although all three games within the collection technically follow the same structure, mechanics, and visual style, they each have subtle differences which change the gameplay and offers a new way to play – such as how you unlock new skills and what kind of AoE abilities you can use during battle. Each game also has its own theme, Warriors, Ice Mage, and Pirates, along with a decent selection of ally and enemy characters for you to both play as and defeat. However, the goal is always the same – move from one end of the map to the other and win every fight you come across whilst increasing your army and recruiting new classes.
That’s essentially the Braveland Trilogy gameplay in a nutshell – but, as stated previously, if you want a more in-depth look at the way the game actually ‘works’, check out my detailed Switch review HERE.
I wouldn’t say that the Braveland Trilogy is pushing the limits when it comes to the visuals – but that’s not a bad thing. Seeing as the game originated on mobiles, the use of simple character assets on top of hand-drawn environments was a great choice as it manages to ensure performance literally never takes a hit on any platform, and it keeps the size of the game down (it was under 400mb on the PS4). So, other than the obvious resolution bump which the PS4 and PS4 Pro have got over the Switch, both versions of the game look very similar despite one running at 720p in portable mode and the other at (potentially) a full 4k.
I say ‘potentially’ as I don’t know the exact resolution count but the Xbox One version states it’s 4k – I can’t imagine this game being a struggle to also hit this resolution on Sony’s machine.
That being said, I simply adore the visual quality and the art direction the developers have decided to go with. Each ‘book’ within the collection has it’s own islands and landscapes which progressively change as you get further into the stages, yet they’re all very similar due to the constant battle layouts and overall aesthetics. Also, thanks to the simple, yet not pixelated approach they have taken to these delightful indie titles, everything is extremely clear and perfectly scales on the TV when playing on the console.
As such, no matter where you play the Braveland Trilogy, the game is easy to see and read with no tiny writing or over-sized pixels making the visuals look jarring and out of place.
When I took a look at the Switch edition, I talked about the ‘Duel mode’. This has made a welcome return within the PS4 version as well. So, if you have another person with you locally (there’s no online mode), you can both grab a controller and play against each other. You can choose from any of the three heroes (with their own units), or you can even pick to play as one of the antagonists and command enemy units. However, one of my complaints with the Switch version was that you can’t play against the CPU if you just want to practice or just have a quick battle, well…
Unlike the Switch release, the Braveland Trilogy on PS4 includes a new ‘Survival’ mode, which is a great addition. When playing this mode, you begin with a set amount of cash and a choice of three unit types. You spend your money, battle the opponent, then use whatever cash you find in the stage you’ve just completed to either increase your existing units or buy new classes to help you out. This goes on for ten rounds, progressively getting harder and harder due to your limited cash resources and the rather difficult enemy AI.
To me, this is a mode I was yearning for when I played the Switch release last year, a mode which I could jump into and fight random battles without worrying about the story. I hope that this also comes over to the Switch, as short-burst sessions on the portable system are great, but I’m not too sure on if the developer or publisher have any plans to do this. Unfortunately, there are no trophies regarding this new additional mode, or the Duel mode either, which brings me nicely to the…
Trophies and the overall difficulty
I have an issue with the trophies within the Braveland Trilogy. It’s not a big issue or a reason for not picking up the game, but it’s a pet peeve I have – difficulty related trophies. There are six trophies which relate to never dropping to easy and completing each ‘book’ on hard, something I’ll struggle with due to the AI and the way the game is balanced. The issue is, enemies don’t respawn and there’s no way to ‘upgrade’ your team outside of increasing the number of units per class or obtaining some accessories for your protagonist. This resulted, in my case, in a stalemate as I wasn’t strong enough to proceed but also couldn’t ‘grind’ or improve myself to help overcome this.
The second and third ‘book’ (Ice Mage and Pirates) have arenas and caves you can fight random battles within – which helps you gain more money. But, even with a full team, I still found myself hopeless during certain battles when playing on Normal. This resulted in me dropping to easy and basically losing the chance to obtain certain trophies. Now, I know people out there are much better than me, so they’ll change the classes around which they use, invest in more units, then strategically overcome the battles I couldn’t do, but I just felt it can be a little unbalanced based upon the limited ways to beef up your team.
On a similar note, as the Ice Mage, you gain three skill points each time you go up a level. Three trophies relate to obtaining all of the spells for your Ice, Fire, and Nature attacks. The problem here is, I’ve completed this chapter and killed everyone (so they don’t spawn), yet I haven’t got enough points for two of the spells on the skill tree. This means I’ll have to play the game either one or two more times just so I can invest them into the other spells and unlock those to grab the two trophies I’m missing.
Finally, the wording on the trophies isn’t very clear. As a Warrior, you have to perform actions such as opening chests and using the various spells you unlock. However, I didn’t realise you had to do this around five times in order to unlock the trophy – which made me initially believe that they weren’t working. I’ve only just started the pirate route, so I’m not sure if these trophies will confuse me too, but they seem the same as the others – collect all the spells and open a number of chests.
The Braveland Trilogy is a challenging Strategic Turn-based RPG which everyone can enjoy. Although playing on normal or hard will require a lot of planning, grinding, and tactically picking the right units for the job, playing on easy will provide a much more casual and stress-free experience at the expense of earning all the trophies. The PS4 edition also comes with the additional ‘Survival’ mode, offering a new quick-play option for those who just want to battle, as well as the two-player Duel mode for local multiplayer fun.
All in all, there are three ‘books’, with over 200 battles, boss battles which will challenge you, lots of unit classes to discover, and three interesting and funny stories to follow – that’s a lot of content for a single low price. Also, as I’ve reviewed this on both the Switch and the PS4, I can highly recommend it on both platforms – they both look and play the same with the only difference being the ‘missing’ survival mode on Nintendo’s console.
- - Three games at around six hours each
- - Solid combat mechanics which are kept fresh with the inclusion of new units and abilities
- - Catchy music and cute aesthetics
- - Two player local Duel mode and single player Survival mode
- - Difficulty levels to satisfy everyone
- - Due to the difficulty spikes and limited 'upgrade' options, the game can get drastically difficult on both normal and hard mode without strategically replanning your lineup and offensive tactics
- - No online mode for the Duels
- - Due to the linear and more casual approach to the overworld map, hardcore fans of HoMM may think it's a little 'too casual' for them (Although I'd still recommend they give it a try)
- - Some of the trophies will be very hard to achieve and some will require multiple playthroughs