Heroes Trials – Xbox One Review
To become a hero, you don’t just fill in an application form and give a couple of references. Oh No! The selection process is much more rigorous, much more hands on. If you want to be called a hero you have to take part in the Trials, performing acts of bravery and daring do. That’s exactly what the flimsy story in Heroes Trials is all about. You play the interchangeable characters of Zoel, a warrior, and Elia, a mage, who have overslept and late for the finals of the trials to decide who will become the defender of their homeland. After a bit of a telling off, our potential heroes set off on a series of ever more difficult missions. That’s about as far as the story engaged me, as it eventually melted into a homogeneous irrelevance the further I progressed.
Heroes Trials works as a series of stripped down Zelda like dungeons where you explore, fight off the monsters and eventually grab the prize. The pace moves nicely along mainly because you’re up against the clock, so there’s no time for dallying about. Not that there are many detours and distractions as the gameplay is stripped down to the bare bones. The controls are intuitive and easy to pick up. You use your warrior and his sword for close up melee combat with a button press initiating a swipe of his sword, then hit Y to quickly change to the mage for the ranged attacks of magical fire. You can later upgrade to electric and ice attacks, and a shield and bombs for the warrior.
The graphics and layout are nice and clean, so stripping it back to a basic level helps in the respect that its easy to see whats going on, and a good mini-map system helps you see where you’re meant to be heading. Not that you’re likely to get lost for long as each section is very small, unnecessarily small really, and loading screens shouldn’t really be needed to move onto the next part of the map when you’ve got this little detail to load up anyway. The monsters are nicely drawn and varied, but all are pretty easy to kill with poor collision detection so it just seems that you swipe your sword through the air in front of them and they die. The bosses provide the only real challenge, and that’s only from about the fourth or fifth one in. Here’s where you’ll need to make sure you manage your health. The only health boost you get is from apples that are usually laying around the edges of the level, and they are fairly sparse so when you see them, pick them up. The other thing to pick up is the coins, which will appear as single units when you kill an enemy, can be found when you start destroying small plants and shrubberies, and can also be found in nice piles in tucked away areas of the map. Use your coins to buy the odd item from NPC’s such as the warriors shield and a pair of boots that will have you running around rather speedily. These are handy for doing a speed run, or just getting across the map and making the level a little less tedious.
The two characters are sufficiently different enough for you to know when is best to use them, but I found I only really used the mage when I was up against bosses that were too dangerous to get near. I had to stay back and fire ranged attacks at them, which is a little frustrating as Elia only fires in a straight line in the direction she’s facing. That made it quite frustrating at times to get her lined up, as she can only face, up,down,left, right and on the diagonal.
There is nothing outstanding about the top-down view of the gameplay, just very unexciting, average, but never than less competent, and because of the lack of depth to the characters and storyline, the game just turns into one long dungeon crawl of finding keys, opening doors, defeating bosses that have very predictable attack plans, and completing levels. A nice gimmick that the developers must surely have used as a brazen way to shift more units, is that the whole 1000 Gamerscore can be won in a little under an hour, just by playing the game through normally. This isn’t a criticism, but a nod to their ingenuity that they knew if their game got a reputation for being easy to complete in the sense of getting all Achievements, then it would garner a popularity with a section of Xbox gamers. Heroes Trials still has plenty of gameplay left in it once the final Achievement has popped, so don’t be fooled into thinking that all there is, also it must be said that’s its all just more of the same, just dressed up with different looking enemies and environments.
The main saving grace of Heroes Trials is that is fairly inexpensive to buy, so worth it for those gamers who want the easy 1000G,but theres nothing else here that elevates it above a run of the mill Zelda like dungeon run. Its lacking in depth and excitement, but you’ll find nothing inoffensive or particularly annoying about it if you gave it an hour of your time. The trouble is, I cant see many people giving it much than than that hour.
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Many Thanks to Ratalaika games for the Review