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Terra Battle Is Stylish Mobile Strategy Fun

by Daniel Tack on Oct 17, 2014 at 06:37 AM

When I heard that Mistwalker (The Last Story) and some of Final Fantasy’s finest developers were making a new game, naturally my interest was high. When I learned that it was going to be a free-to-play mobile game with monetization similar to Puzzle & Dragons, I was less excited. But you know what? It turns out that although I’m still not a fan of stamina/energy systems, Terra Battle has easily surpassed my expectations and delivered a pretty awesome game, with plenty of depth and an amazing soundtrack (Thanks, Nobuo Uematsu!)

Gameplay is initially quite simple, as players lift up and set down characters to form lines to initiate attacks based on a paper-rock-scissors weapon system of sword, spear, and bow.  I wasn’t very impressed with the first few chapters,  but things really get going once the game starts throwing out bosses with special features, like a duo that has to be slain simultaneously or a time devourer that significantly reduces the time you have to move a piece. This combines with unlocking new jobs and skills for your character roster, which turns the basic game into a whole new battlefield of chained attacks and abilities tailored to your own perfect specifications.

Let’s talk about that. In Terra Battle, during a turn you have four seconds to move a character. A beginning player may simply grab a character and drop it in a position where it is able to attack, but after a few hours of play the elegance of what can be accomplished in that four second window starts to emerge. During the time you have a character selected, you can bump it into your other units to move them, allowing a skilled player to move and position an entire six-person roster over the course of a turn, for massive attack chains and heavy damage bonuses.

Characters run the RPG gamut of archetypes, from healers to mages and tanky damage dealers. There’s also a subset of specialists that feature skills like sleep, paralysis, levitation, confusion, and other abilities that can come in especially handy during certain encounters. Core characters all have two possible “jobs” to level up and unlock in addition to their first, and although this can take plenty of time farming materials in the hunting grounds, it allows you to create incredibly interesting and powerful combinations of abilities.

Characters come in several different grades as is commonplace in many mobile card battlers/Puzzle & Dragon style gachapon. You can find tons of standard monsters to play with and low-grade characters in the C and D range, but these don’t have additional jobs to unlock and often have only one or two skills. You’re going to be looking for real characters, named heroes, to join your crew in the B to SS range, and there are a few ways to go about this.

Playing normally right now the game will actually start you off with two B grade characters, one of which is a nice healer. After completing the tutorial, you’ll get an energy gift, which is the cash shop currency of Terra Battle. You’re going to want to use this in the tavern to unlock a B to SS hero, and use the additional freebie code dhth66nWXVCbjdTC to get an additional roll on a real character. This will start you off with 4 solid characters right off the bat, but as is the case with many games featuring mobile gacha, you can sort of exploit the system, if you have the time and inclination. You can just keep deleting the game and playing through the tutorial and rolling to get those sweet SS healers and mages. This can take a while, and it’s completely unnecessary (I kept my initial grabs of two A characters and I’m doing fine), but it’s an option if you want to have a solid starting position. The game does provide an energy drip so even as a free player you’ll get to unlock powerful companions on a regular basis, but as with most gacha systems you’ll probably feel the desire to pick up a few for cash.

Terra Battle is using a “download starter” system to unlock new content; as of now we’re at around 700k downloads, meaning new characters will be added to the game alongside a multiplayer co-op function, which I’m definitely curious about as it could be even more fun than the core game.

I’ve been playing Terra Battle for about a week now, and it has taken over my mobile gaming time. While I can’t help but wish for a version that doesn’t have many of the systems that are tied to the mobile gaming model, I’m having a blast and would recommend anyone interested in RPGs and/or tactical games to give it a shot.