It's a big day for Nintendo fans: the company's first Android game is here. (So long as you don't count Miitomo... and since Nintendo seems kinda down on the Mii stuff lately, maybe you shouldn't.) Fire Emblem Heroes, a turn-based strategy game set in the long-running fantasy franchise, is now available on the Play Store in at least some countries. As of early this morning Pacific Time it hasn't dropped in the United States, but players in Japan, Australia, and Europe report that they're able to download it. If you can't wait for Nintendo's staggered rollout, the app is available on APK Mirror for a direct download.

Note that at the moment, the game itself doesn't seem to be functional in markets where the Play Store listing isn't live - it appears to rely on downloaded elements that aren't yet available. Update: the in-game download seems to be working now, unlocking the full title even in countries without a live Play Store listing. Get to it!

2017-02-02 09.08.52

Bummer.

The Fire Emblem series uses an anime fantasy setting as a backdrop to old-fashioned, grid-based tactical combat. It's a bit like Final Fantasy Tactics or X-COM, but Nintendo has tweaked the core gameplay to be more appealing for on-the-go mobile players. For instance, the story is an omnibus of all of the sprawling Fire Emblem games that have come before on Nintendo's home and portable consoles, with players "summoning" new heroes to the present conflict. The game's battlefields are relatively small to fit into the vertical-only format. Players can power up heroes by enhancing their relationships, making them more effective in the rock-paper-scissors class system.

  

Fire Emblem Heroes is a free-to-play title. As with similar collection-based battle games, heroes can be recruited as players progress through the story or bought outright with the aid of in-app purchases going up to $75. We'll update this story when it's live in more markets. The game appears to be receiving a simultaneous launch on Android and iOS, which is more than we can say for Super Mario Run, which isn't expected to launch in the Play Store until sometime next month.