Smash ‘n Grab

Smash n' Grab


Judge 1: Darrman

Gameplay: 1/10

Before I go any further in, I believe that completing this chapter without save state usage is not feasible. The chapter took me almost 70 turns to complete, longer than FE4’s longest chapters, which take me about 50 turns. To begin with, you start with two units, and you’re expected to capture as many enemies as possible. However, one of your units lacks the con. She’s also a light mage: not a single enemy has a light tome for her. By the end of castle 1 she’s completely useless.
Reinforcements spawn frequently with no real reason. This includes them appearing from already-seized castles. But the worst reinforcements are the dragon knights, who are much stronger than your weak army. I eventually reached castle 2, pinned down by mages on one side and dragons on the other. There was nothing I could do and I got overwhelmed.
Other issues included several promotions not giving stats, some item churches giving me incorrect items, and the lord’s PRF only being effective against literal mages.
In short, your only hope is to turtle. The excruciatingly slow pace combined with the extreme length does not do it any favours. It’s an FE4 map: it’s impossible to do in one go.

Presentation: 2/5

The character mugs are good and the player phase theme is good. However, the “glowy” on the stat screen frequently breaks, a lot of vanilla music is used – including the enemy phase music – and various graphical glitches arise when sending items to the convoy in the churches. The top left village has a completely broken tile change: hovering over it crashes the game.

Story: 2/5

The storyline is fairly simple. An evil cult has taken over the world, and our hero and his wife set out to stop them. It seems that we’re somewhere in the American South: many characters speak with a Southern drawl phonetically written out in the dialogue. This can be difficult to read, but the dialogue also has clearly not been proofread and is riddled with typos.

Total Score: 5/20

Judge 2: MCProductions

Gameplay: 1/10

Do you like capture and FE4 maps, cause I don’t, and liking both things are required to enjoy this product, and since I don’t like those things, I did not like the gameplay.

Presentation: 3/5

It looks fine enough, nothing looks bad and it definitely looks like GBA FE. The music is a bop too so bonus.

Story: 2/5

Evil cult is taking over the world, a man and his wife try to stop them. A simple premise hurt deeply by the very poor grammar and the method the MCs were given accents making their text really hard to read. Still, as a Kaga Emblem fanboy, I appreciate stories of fighting holy wars, and I did keep good track of what was going on, so two points.

Total Score: 6/20

Judge 3: 2WB

Gameplay: 1/10

This has cool ideas that even made me feel good about myself for brief moments.
But I can’t. It’s awful. Every single time I want to say something is good, something else hurts it.
On one hand, it’s nice to have a high level of effect gradients. On the other, “+1 mgt -5 hit” is actually not useful to have because it’s really inconvenient to juggle those items.
On one hand, it’s nice to capture enemies a bunch. On the other, YOU DIDN’T GIVE ME UNITS THAT CAN WIELD THE ENEMY WEAPONS I INITIALLY CAN CAPTURE.

Go play FE5 chapter 2 and look at how you have units that can use the axes you can steal. Sure, for chapter 1, Finn’s the only lance wielder. But you also have fresh inventories in ch 1, and past that point, there’s a decent number of enemies you can pick up weapons of basically all kinds from.

The clunkiness of an event-based Supply convoy access completely ruins the ability to use it. This is really important when I have such crippled weapon uses.

I opened this game, I saw the map, and I stopped wanting to play. Not just the hack, but Fire Emblem at large, for the rest of the day. Its overwhelming size and enemy count when I was given just two units actually made me depressed at the prospect of playing it.

The second thing I need to really point out is something I need people at large to learn, but poorly explaining a mechanic is actually worse than not explaining it.
The given statements of how capture works are woefully inadequate for understanding how capture works. Let me break this down which I recognize is being unfairly picky but understand I’m actually writing this diatribe before playing the submission so it won’t actually affect my scoring.

In Thracia 776, the only game where Capture is “rob their inventory”;
To be allowed to Capture a unit, you must be in melee range and have more Build/Constitution than the target if you’re a foot unit. Horses can always capture foot units and can’t be captured by foot units.
In the act of performing a Capture, you attack with reduced stats – Strength, Magic, Skill, Speed, and Defense are all halved.

Here, those rules seem to be the same… but it doesn’t mention that you even have to attack. Rescue is an automatic success, but here it’s stated

> what is capture? Capture is when
> you go up to an enemy, and “rescue”
> it instead of killing it! Allowing you to
> take all of the enemy’s juicy belongings!
> However with that, comes a catch:
> when you attempt to capture an enemy,
> you’re stats are halved for that battle!

Which leaves out what I would argue the most important part of capture is: that your attack with halved stats has to kill the target.

Also, you give me a capture focused game but one of my two units can’t capture any enemies because she has 6 con.

The two characters have Adept – a random ability – and Gamble – an opt-into-randomness ability.
I will literally not be using either of these if I play the game the way that the tutorial text outlines, because I will be attempting to steal literally every item, which means that Yeews getting a kill is incorrect and Locke will only make attacks where he’s guaranteed to not kill or is going to kill.

This further creates a pain point: Yeews will get less EXP because she can’t capture; which seeing as how the units start at levels 5 and 6, but the enemies near the castle gate are level 12 with powerful equipment, those level stats will be important to get, especially since you gave a “double growths” item you’re definitely expecting significant stat gain at least on Locke.

I understand the point and think it’s pretty reasonable, but I really don’t like the pain of “I want to have the double stats sword equipped but only at the moment i’d level”, and the same goes for the healing on the Light tome – it makes me really want to avoid using it for fear of losing that source of health.

The “halved XP gain” effect on the Prose only applies during combat, not when dropping a Captured enemy and I have no idea how to judge how intentional that is.

Having “houses” that are actually “supply depot” is interesting enough but it’s very clunky due to the nature of being an event instead of just the convoy menu. It means I wasted an action – and thus a run – on finding out what it did, and the only reason that was bearable was because it was turn 2.

The number of times I was forced to rely upon an 85 hitting in order to avoid a reset was simply intolerably high (I actually lost count). Playing the first dozen turns of the chapter over and over was … suffering is not strong enough of a word.

The church rings… Look, I appreciate that it’s there, but first, if it was later in the chapter I wouldn’t be able to check what they offer, which is really unfortunate because of how much of a difference they make strategically; but secondly, because one of them is Con. As I went over above that means that I’m really obliged to pick it, because without it, Yeews can’t engage in what you called the focus of the chapter properly.

And the options?
+3 defense -1 hp / mag — almost completely doesn’t affect Locke, so just +3 def
+3 res -1 str / con — almost completely doesn’t affect Yeews, so just +3 res
+3 con -1 spd / luck — Oh, look, Yeews has a chance at playing the game.

… This is terrible and really uninteresting because with no forward information I feel obliged to pick the con ring because of that bullet, and with the information I feel obliged to pick the con ring because it turns out being able to take actions with all units is fun.

Except, since she’s got 6 con, +3 con doesn’t actually do much at all for her! She can only capture archers, priests, and mages. But Locke with +3 con can capture the mercenaries (more swords!), pirates (one of the pirates has a Shine for Yeews!)… I mean, being able to capture *anything* is a far cry from *nothing*.

But also, it turns out that capturing doesn’t reduce Magic, so Yeews is de facto an amazing damage dealing capturer.

Oh, good, it’s turn seven, and I’m suddenly told “hey by the way you know how you haven’t had any reason to move at anything resembling a pace so you’ve been taking it slowly? here’s two green units encapsulated within range of multiple enemies that you are actually 20 tiles away from”

love it
i love getting punished for taking things slowly and carefully when i have been given TWO UNITS and have been having to manage enemy set ups to make sure i can’t get overwhelmed

This is particularly something I feel obliged to do because the player units are not constantly sporting 100% displayed hits, but only 80 to 95.

Really hope the green units I’ve got as friends won’t completely ruin themselves in the literally four turns it will take me to walk my units over to them — which it kind of looks like they will, because the armor won’t help the cavalier who’s getting dogpiled. The cavalier who won’t move a tile to attack the Shaman that’s killing him, nor use a vulnerary to prevent his death.

So he will die when he gets hit by the Shaman next turn. And I am not resetting. I just don’t feel like it.

Gets worse, because now I’m next to a reinforcement! So I have to engage with that enemy, which will make me take longer, which likely means that the Knight will probably be killed by the Shaman, too.

As a result of this, as well as a very buggy enemy with a 1-3 range weapon that did 17136 damage to itself due to aforementioned bugginess, I found out that my armor knight with four movement could only move three tiles! Because of BALLISTA TILES sitting around in the middle of the map with no warning or indication. This, in turn, caused a death.

Because of said buggy enemy, I was able to advance the game state to one that had Locke dead without triggering his quote. Nice! Even better, it was on a 46% hit rate, and was one I could actually do nothing about because I had no way to move units into positions.

Restarting, I found out part of my problem was that the Capturer item had unexisted itself: It was in nobody’s inventory and hadn’t dropped. :) yay! Normally, I’d figure out how to reproduce that issue.

Replaying through and actually managing to recruit the cavalry because I know it exists, I have to keep backpedalling to make sure that I’m capturing enemies, which means that even on turn 15, I’ve still yet to kill the cavalier on the first castle. A castle that, on turn 16, decides to dump two reinforcements in my formation while i’m trying to deal with two other enemies that are baited, and at the same time, a mage comes up from nowhere.

I have five enemies to kill, four actions to do it with, most of my units can’t one round things and have 80 to 90% hit rates, and I need to capture multiple of them because they have weapons I want and one of my three units is actually out of weapons NOT THAT I’VE BEEN ABLE TO MOVE UP TOWARDS THE ENEMIES THAT HAVE WEAPONS THAT SHE CAN USE.

I have been struggling with this on and off for multiple hours at this point. My desire to play left so long ago, my will to just EXIST has been draining.

The compulsion to steal everything, because I’m clearly going to get new units eventually, is something that has on multiple times due to my multiple runs caused me a large amount of grief – I capture a unit and haven’t freed it yet, but the next enemy comes in too close for me to be able to ignore it.

Basically, I’m getting war flashbacks to my old MAFC submission, where after not playing it for a month, it took me over three hours to figure out how to get to turn four. The reinforcements at the top make me feel like I’m supposed to be *anywhere near* that point, but I’m literally still in the bottom quarter of the map. I haven’t even gone back to the village at the start to get the free vulnerary, or looted the soldier on the bridge’s red gem – because I keep having to deal with enemies pushing me forward or that force me to fall back.

Oh, so after painstakingly spending over ten minutes checking numbers to make sure everything works out?

I get THREE MORE ENEMIES dumped DIRECTLY on my face for a second time, and I already have a bunch of captured enemies. I can’t, physically, deal with that, due to the action economy: My units are statistically neutered and I have literally zero spaces that I can move into that don’t cause problems.

But it gets better! Because now?
Yeews’ tome – the only light tome around – has been broken, so now I have three actions, not four.

Oh! Cool! So, apparently, if you trade around a bunch of times, you don’t get to canto the horse. Even though that’s not a stated mechanic literally anywhere and goes against how that mechanically works.
Wonder if it’s a bug. Too bad I don’t have a savestate to check things. Now to completely redo my plan to accommodate for the cavalier’s incorrect position.

If this two soldier one mage reinforcement chain keeps coming I will literally become unable to progress. Fairly rapidly. I’m not clearing them as fast as they come and there’s not really a way for me to kill them faster because not only do I not kill them fast enough, due to lacking weapon durability, I won’t continue having attacks. So… I really hope they stop this turn.

There’s a brigand that spawns in the mountains on the top left on turn 20. Or maybe it’s tripped by some other action.


It is literally, tile wise, not possible for me to get to him in the seven turns it will take for it to reach the top-left village, to say nothing of the variety of enemies in the way that are all deadly and that block the path. And the five turns it takes for him to reach the center-ish village is just as hopeless.

Additionally, once again, due to the existence of Ballista tiles on the map, I am unable to perform a task — how on earth do you not notice these? I can only assume that you either didn’t test or that it’s intentional as a result, and both of those greatly terrify me.

… Oh, and because the armor knight is crackedly powerful he just one-rounds the red gem soldier so I had to panic and shuffle things last second which — for once — I didn’t get punished for having a poor formation.

And at this point, my inventories are really cluttered, but I haven’t had a chance to go to the supply depots and deposit the items I’m not actually using… which I’d love to do, so that I can SELL THEM to BUY SOMETHING FOR YEEWS; but you know
i haven’t been able to not dedicate all my actions to combat for like 8 straight turns

Having houses that give me advice is good…if I evr have a chance to go visit them, which I straight up haven’t. Visiting the houses to the west of the castle at the wrong time due to the block it pulls is a huge part of what got me in trouble on multiple good attempts.

Turn 24. For the second time, a unit-moving-noise plays, and a cutscene happens, and I can’t see anything about it. A unit joined my party, and the player phase music stops playing.

At this point, despite me pausing the emulator when I get up to breath and while writing, and turning off animations, I’ve been slaving my emotions over this for an hour and a half -this playthrough-.


Having been given a wyvern with high defense as well as provoke, I now can basically ignore any physical damage dealer for as long as I need to.

Which is good, because my plan of “capture everything and give someone huge EXP then delete the map effortlessly” has, honestly, skyrocketed in favor as I’ve been playing. You gave me a sword of double growths, so I’m terrified that having a unit with insane stats is expected.

If it is, by the way, I’m giving this a zero across the board, because I should not need to tell anyone that that’s bullshit.

Our new recruit has 9 con, which once again means that they can’t capture half the enemies on the map. They also have Nihil, once again making them result as a unit without a skill because so far the enemies with relevant skills have been mostly irrelevant. This is fine and good, I much prefer that to the alternative.

The Energy Ring I really want to give to Yeews, since she absolutely deserves it and could use the catch-up… but I can’t trust that it’s programmed to actually give her Magic. And I can’t, no way in hell, play this far AGAIN.

The amount of effort I have to put in to juggle everyone’s inventory, because interacting with the supply is impossible due to it not only being a house but one where I become committed before I can see what’s in stock, basically means anything I send down is never coming out because I can’t keep track of what all is in there with how much other maintenance things I have to mind for everyone like enemy ranges.

The camera panned to the top right but I saw no enemy get placed, so I was wondering what happened – So I counted the enemies to make sure that wasn’t it.

It’s turn 26 and there are 47 enemies on the map and I had to manually count them all insteead of being able to use the status window because of leadership stars. Not only is this all the case, I AM STILL IN THE FIRST SECTION OF THE FUCKING MAP.

Overall, I am ashamed to be in the same community as you. Playing this submission brought my depression back, made me want to stop living for multiple hours, made my family concerned about my well being due to it plaguing me for days, and this is my opinion while trying my damnedest to not be a total bitch. I just physically can’t do it.

Presentation: 1/5

-one chapter hack
-“casual or classic mode”
instant 0, obviously
The music for the intro cutscene cuts off *really* early.

The mugs are okay-to-good, the audio tracks are well considered and work for each scene. The map is distinct enough – i wish some of the colors were different because I have a hard time seeing the armories/churches on the roads and the red houses in the dirt, but it’s fine enough.
Except for the part where a few of the dirt tiles used are actually the Ballista tile, which is mechanically different but visibly indistinguishable. This is misery.

The music is good. the map theme particularly, i can sit and listen to it for two or three loops without getting bored which i’m not going to be doing really while actually playing but it’s of a well balanced volume. (I was very wrong. I listened to it on loop for a VERY long time due to HOW MUCH EFFORT TAKING A TURN INVOLVED.)
But this extends to include the attack and defend themes; though i really wish the enemy phase wasn’t just land of promise.

The way the text is separated for the tutorial text box is really bad and makes it hard to parse — A given sentence should be in the whole box. Just like how you wouldn’t take a sentence,

Then break it across two lines in a normal piece of written work, you shouldn’t make it that I need to be remembering the exact words of something that’s off screen in order to make sure I’ve read your sentences correctly.

It’s extremely good and kind to make the Drop tag turn grey when the captured enemy has items in their inventory.
But besides that point, there’s a ton of obvious lacking… playtesting. Multiple things bug out from doing normal things like… gaining a weapon rank leaves a graphical bug. Units don’t have the camera focus on them when they spawn in and they’re going to say something. It’s possible to softlock the game with the high-range tome user, which is full of buggy interactions in general.

And if you’re not going to play your game, why the hell would I?

Story: 3/5

I appreciate that the intro is identical to the intro of all the fire emblem
But I also don’t because that’s one of the things I find really boring and intolerable.

Giving characters accents is good. But I won’t mince words: I can’t read it, so I think it’s bad. It takes about four to five times longer for me to understand what people are saying. It wounds me deep into my soul.

OUTSIDE of those accents, there’s a huge number of spelling mistakes and I don’t know if those go in presentation or story but they’re terrible and highly damage things. There’s also grammatical issues aplenty running around and sentences that don’t make sense.

The uncontestable good thing I can say is that the length of each bit is good. At no point did I feel like a part of a scene was dragging on and each thing said what it needed to and only a little more, adding nice feeling to the people speaking.

Total Score: 5/20

Judge 4: theghostcreator

Gameplay: 5/10

It stretches on faaaaaaar too long and the weapon uses being universally low doesn’t make it more strategic, just annoying and cumbersome. The game also lies to you about the objective, I had to restart because I made it to the final gate “too early” and the final boss spawned when I had no real ways of beating them. There also wasn’t really anything interesting to capture, it was just kinda boring in a way too big map.

Presentation: 4/5

Pretty good.

Story: 3/5

It’s fine but it’s not really explained well and there’s too much exposition. Grammar and spelling mistakes too.

Total Score: 12/20



Grand Total: 28/80

=23rd Position Overall

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