App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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It's hard to imagine a mobile game releasing in 2021 that doesn't have any save feature of any kind, but with Fallen of the Round there's no imagination needed. This roguelike tactics game challenges you to build an army that can survive the a journey of 14 levels before battling a final boss, and you're expected to do so in one sitting (or while being careful not to have it leave the app's suspended state). Fortunately, Fallen of the Round's mini-battles and overall design are both short and intriguing enough that it's easy look past its lack of convenience features.
Fallen of the Round is a dungeon-crawler modeled after fantasy board games. You build an army of miniature knights, valkyries, wizards, and more and place them on a round tabletop that serves as the combat arena. Each miniature has its own attack and life stats, and you control them by pulling and releasing to fling them or their attacks into enemy miniatures. Your goal in any given level is to defeat the enemy figures to continue your way through the dungeon.
After winning a fight, you also get rewarded with a choice of three random figures to add to your army. These figures can vary in rarity, with epic and rare units typically having useful bonus skills like attack buffs, increased health, or the ability to heal your units after battle. You might not always want to pick the high rarity units, though, as Fallen of the Round also features a mechanic where collecting three units of the same type combines them into an extra powerful version of said unit, not too unlike the combination mechanics of an auto-chess game.
Slide over, saving
The key to success in Fallen of the Round comes from learning exactly how each friendly and enemy unit works so you can build a fighting squad that works well together while playing carefully to keep them alive. Losing a unit--particularly a combined one--can be a devastating setback on a run, and it might force you into an unwinnable position where you simply have to start all over again from scratch.
As more of a true roguelike, Fallen of the Round doesn't have any persistence across runs beyond the knowledge you take with you. Luckily, restarting doesn't feel like a huge slog, as battles rarely last more than a minute, and only the first one or two feel brainless as you try to set up your unit synergies for tougher fights later on. This short playtime makes it deceptively easy to dive into runs over and over again, and ultimately makes Fallen of the Round's lack of saving feel more like a curious omission rather than anything truly inconvenient or annoying.
The procedural generation of Fallen of the Round's dungeons helps keep the game feeling replayable, but after a couple of clears, I found myself wanting more. More units, different enemy types, or perhaps alternate bosses would really give this game a lot of staying power. At this point, when I dip back in to new runs, I'm rarely stopped from reaching the final boss unless some hitboxes don't behave the way I expect them to, which happens every so often.
This aspect, along with no saves and a clear screen with essentially no fanfare, makes Fallen of the Round feel more like a teaser or proof-of-concept than a fully-fledged game. To be clear, I'm more than ok with this, as the underlying concepts and mecahnics here combine to make something truly special. I just want more of it.
The bottom line
Fallen of the Round is a fantastic blend of roguelike and auto-chess mechanics, and its complete lack of modern game features somewhat adds to its mystique. I do wish there was a little more variety and depth to dig into, but for the asking price I'm more than content with what's here.