So you’ve caught up with FEE3 (somehow) and you’re probably thinking, man, I wish there was MORE promising in-progress hacks to look at, right? No?
Well too bad, because I’m making this post anyways. I want to shout out some interesting hacks I’ve played in the past year that aren’t at FEE3. It’s no FEE3 video, but if I found these cool, you might find them too.
Attempt 3’s immediately apparent spin is that your starting units are entirely made out of trainees. Every possible trainee is here, each with 3 promotion branches at tier 1, giving a lot of player choice in building their squad.
A bit further into the early game, there’s also a party split in the player can determine how units are split. There’s also some interesting chapter objectives like preventing explosives from going off while escaping and preventing a dark ritual.
The main post doesn’t make it apparent that big progress is happening behind the scenes. I’ve only scratched the surface of what is available in the discord but the first ten chapters have well designed maps that are fast paced and interesting. The opening chapter where your units burn down villages is a fantastic introductory chapter. Another notable chapter that I’ve seen is the ship going down behind the player army, and your units do sink.
This also has a party split, but one that is completely. I do appreciate being able to use two armies because just using the same dozen or so mainstays isn’t enough, I want TWO sets of them. And they’re units I want to use too, the fighter one hitting a mage with a steel axe doesn’t get old.
So far this only has one chapter, but its a very strong chapter that showcases its main feature very well. It leans more into the RTS style than RPG style with no individual unit progression. The player can buy a wide selection of generics from 4 different trainers, who the player then must defend from enemies while also taking out side objectives to get more gold to hire more units.
I’ve replayed the singular chapter quite a few times to try and make some kind of optimal unit buy order and unit selection. The enemy spread seems to encourage buying many kinds of unit rather than stacking one type, which is what makes it interesting.
I do believe that most hack devs can make visually appealing maps, but Frozen Throes reaches new levels of fantastic map aesthetic. However they aren’t just pretty, Frozen Throes experiments a lot with tile changes and map gimmicks that shake up the game while also being nice to look at.
A specific example is that of chA2-4, where the map initially starts as a foggy defend map. Partly way through, the entire map is covered by snow and fog disappears, and defend transforms into an optional escort objective. Still on hiatus as time of this post, but don’t let that stop you.
IlluminatedI was quite invested in where its story was going, particularly in regards to how someone I initially expected to be 'Johnny McBad' interacts with the party. One of its features is a low unit count compared to conventional FE, but there's some fun units in this roster, like the fighter Sam who can heal (and only heal) with weaker patch-up kits, and the cleric Lana who also doubles as a thief.
It also has maps that shake up the standard formula, like a beach map which path changes with the tides, a rain map that makes use of movement difference between indoors and outdoors and a map where you race to save playable generics from being overun with the help of a ballista.
Heaven's FallI came into this one having finished its predecessor War on Two Fronts which I also think is pretty cool, but Heaven's Fall feels like a step up from it. It has a strong early game and I think incredibly powerful assassin jeigans are awesome. Kinda me-specific, but I'm hyped up for when characters from WOTF show up like Kalma and Kestrel. It has skills, but only for very few characters which is an approach I see surprisingly little of, but I do like it.
I am interested to see where the story goes given its not quite the conventional ‘resistance beats bad empire’ story. I just want to mention that the Lord starts a terrorist attack by having his kid sister hand an explosive teddy bear to the Governor. That is not a sentence I expected to type about a FE romhack.
If there’s any in-progress hacks you think are interesting that weren’t at FEE3, feel free to talk about them about below. Hacks are cool.