Here at Stoffel Presents we absolutely adore indie games. The weird, the artistic, the beautiful, The thought provoking. Quite often in indie games you find game mechanics or designs that would never see the light of day in a mainstream release and it is this diverse and vast range of amazing, unique and quite frankly brilliant games that we love… and then something like Heroland comes along.
I don’t wanna spoil the review but quite frankly it is sublime. It is one of a kind, mental, humorous, quirky and at times down right “what the hell is going on!”
I don’t even know what category to put this into! it’s turn based but not quite, RPG but more game show, dungeon crawler-ish but sort of a job simulator.
Sounds messed up doesn’t it? Well it is, but boy does it work beautifully!
I suppose the best place to start trying to explain the amazing and wonderful Heroland. The blurb for the game describes it as such:
Welcome to Heroland—a bright, tropical theme park resort where guests partake in an authentic RPG-styled adventure, exploring dungeons, beating up baddies, and become a legendary hero! Unfortunately, the role-playing becomes reality when Lucky, an unexceptional part-time tour guide, and his guests including Elric, the spoiled, fallen prince of the Knowble Kingdom, unintentionally begin unravelling Heroland’s dark history. Now it’s up to Lucky, Elric and a ragtag team of tourists-turned-heroes to save Heroland (and the world!).
Sounds like standard RPG fare right? Adventure – check. Turn based – check. Become a legendary hero – check. Except there is a little bit more to those terms then the blurb is telling you.
Yes the is definitely RPG style adventure but it isn’t yours. Yes there are dungeons to explore and baddies to beat up but it wont be you doing it. Of course there is the chance to become a legendary hero…just not for you.
You see you take on the role of Lucky. A newly appointed part time tour guide at the Heroland theme park. It is your job to escort guests such as Prince 18 ( I am staying well away from how the line of succession works) through the various dungeons and provide them with an amazing RPG experience and possibly prizes.
With each dungeon completed you meet new characters to guide through the park and delve further into the dark mystery behind Heroland.
Straight of the bat I have never come across anything like Heroland. Yes it is technically turn based fighting but you don’t get to take the turns. As a tour guide you have to wait for your turn to come around and then carry out one of various actions.
You can tell a party member to use a certain move which means the other three party members do what ever they feel like.
You can use one of the coloured flags to suggest the style of play such as no skills used, guard, or completely reckless. Again setting the style of play puts boundaries on the moves used but you don’t actually have a say in what the characters actually chose to do.
You can summon in a clone of previous baddie you have beaten to fight alongside your party of intrepid
tourists heroes but again have no say in the moves the clone uses.
Lastly you can just decide to let them keep going as they are and instead use an item such as heal potions, revives etc. Be careful with items though because even though you earn money after each dungeon you have to purchase the items you use out of your own savings!
But don’t let the nostalgic pixel graphics, insane story and unique gameplay fool you. At the heart of Heroland is a deep RPG with character level up, friendship levels, equipment upgrades and much much more.
On the surface Heroland looks fun but scratch away at it and you find an solid RPG waiting to devour your time.
Heroland is amazing it that it turns the regular tried and tested RPG turn based combat into a sort of coaching of weird and wonderful characters and wow are they weird and wonderful!
First up you have Prince 18. He used to be first in line to the throne but after a shake up of the line of succession he is now 18th in line. As I mentioned above I am not getting into it, It makes my head hurt. In order to restore himself he has set out to undertake a legendary quest to vanquish the dark lord so naturally finds himself at an RPG theme park.
Next up is Lua, an extremely helpful fairy that is pretty much indispensable thanks to her advice. Although i suspect that she has done this before and gotten tour guides killed but that might just be me being cynical.
Then we have Otterman. who is definitely human and not a 6 foot tall otter no matter how much he loves opening clams with rocks and looks exactly like all the other otters that are walking round the park.
These are just a few of the madcap characters in Heroland. I could go on all day about Alfie, the tour guide who has been magically sealed inside a mascot suit. Fortran the great master detective/knight, Mel (or Prince 16 as he is otherwise known) and the multitude of crazy and mental characters. Seriously you have to experience them for yourselves to truly appreciate them.
I don’t think you could have read this far without realising that I bloody adore Heroland. It is unique, amazing and mental! The humour is spot on. The story lines are zany and the entire premise of the game is just so bizarre you can’t help but fall in love with this game.
That isn’t to say that Heroland is without faults. The battles can quickly become repetitive. A point I think the developers, Marvellous Games, were aware of as you can play battles at 3 x speed.
I feel like I have barely scratched the surface with Heroland and there is a lot more for this game to show me. I cant wait to see where this absolutely insane story goes next!
Heroland is a must buy game for everyone. This review is already massive and I haven’t talked about so many things in the game either due to spoilers or simply for fear of writing so much this review becomes a walkthrough!
Overall Score 9/10
*Before playing Heroland I never realised just how much I need to own a Lil’ Slug Plushie. Please Marvellous I beg of you to release these. I NEEEEEEEDDDD IT!*