When I started to play this game I wasn't sure what to expect. After a few hours, the game began to appeal to me. This indie developed 'Hack and Slash' game has much to offer. Players who enjoy Role Playing Games (RPGs) will find the game appealing.
Herolike is an independent game (indie) developed by Games Hut and published by Black Shell Media. The release date on Steam was February 19th, 2016 for $7.99. It is a good game to kill time with. Players who like an RPG experience will find the game suitable.
The story starts off like many adventure games. Evil is threatening to destroy the world by gaining control of an artifact. In this game the Dark Lord has taken control of the sacred artifact called the "Earth Stone". The player must rise to the occasion to reclaim the Earth Stone. Vanquish evil once and for all. Along the way, players will face various monsters and bosses. The player can face moral dilemmas that can change the game. Hero, are you ready for the challenge?
Herolike features two different play styles that players will be familiar with, ’Hack and Slash’ is the first of these options. For this option, the mouse is the main source of movement while camera movement follows the player. My first time playing through this game was in ’Hack and Slash’ mode, this mode proved challenging. I switched modes after the first character death to the second option. The second set up ’Top-Down’ is like many RPG games. The ’Top-Down’ the WSAD keys on the keyboard are for movement, and mouse and space bar are for attacks. Both modes, have the first five top number keys serve as the hotkeys for skills, potions, or other items. People who have played RPG’s will find this set up familiar. In my opinion, it was the best play option used after the first characters’ death.
The game features five different playable classes, The Guardian, Hunter, Shaman, Barbarian, and Trickster; however, character creation ends there. The player can select the character’s class and name. Guardians, Barbarians, and Tricksters are for close combat players. If the player likes to thin the enemies numbers the ranged Hunter and Shaman are ideal. Each class has strengths and weaknesses that will either result in victory or defeat.
The main gameplay focuses on four types of different levels.Each level is different from the other, and the player's renown will influence other levels. Renown is obtainable during each Friendly level the player enters. Players total amount of gathered renown affects the Hostile, Defense, and Gamble levels.The four levels players will be facing are the following.
- Hostile: Defeat various enemies. The player's renown affects the level. Player's character receives experience, renown, and gold.
- Defense: Defend objects against enemy attacks. The player's renown affects the level. Player receives experience, gold, and renown.
- Friendly: An RPG style level. The player chooses different options based on the scenario. The character receives gold and renown.
- Gamble: The player will either enter a Hostile, Defense, or Friendly level. The player's renown affects Hostile and Defense levels. Player's character receives experience, gold, or renown depending on the level.
The gameplay feels easy to understand. Players can find their four skills on the first four top number keys. Each character has a set of four skills that range from offensive to healing. Every class has different skills that maximize their strengths. One issue I found with the skills is the cooldown timer. Cooldowns appear in the small red text, and I found the green text hard to see while playing. Some players may see this as a major issue or they may ignore it. The fifth number key is for items such as potions. This key set up is on 'Hack and Slash' and 'Top-Down'.
As the player selects a level, they get a preview of what to expect. Hostile levels are about defeating enemies with various situations. Players may on occasion find themselves against a boss. Defense levels are about defending beacons or artifacts. Friendly levels are stories and the player determines the outcome. Gamble levels are random instances. It is best if the player expects the unexpected.
The game features a beautiful and diverse environment. When I started my playthrough I was afraid the environment wouldn't affect the game; however, the environment plays a vital role in every level. Each level has a different environment. One can be a forest landscape while another is a dark and barren landscape. Environments change how the player progresses through the level. Some levels will contain dangers that will affect visibility, movement, and health. The environment can affect the player's attacks. An enemy could appear to be protected by a tree. If the player attempts to attack, they attack the tree instead of the enemy. This can help the player learn to use the environment to help them.
Build Your Own Town
Another feature of this game is town building. The player can begin building a town from the ground up. Buildings require various resources. When the player completes a level they receive resources. The player will receive 30 resources for every level they have completed. One key building in the town is the re-spawn point. Building the re-spawn point requires 60 resources for construction. It will re-spawn the player's character after death. Immediately after the character has re-spawned, the re-spawn point vanishes. The re-spawn point can be rebuild after each use and is crucial to any player.
Each created building carries over to the next game. This happens after a player clears the level or restarts after a character's death. It is a nice system since it allows a player to focus on the game. The system will leave the player with the decision of what building they want to build first. The town has eight unique buildings. Their cost vary. The re-spawn point is the cheapest one at 60 resources while a weapon shop requires 150 resources. Players can manage the resources they have and decide how to use them. Regardless of what the player chooses to build if they fall in battle, the town won't be changed.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
I played this game on a low-end laptop. The game runs on the good quality settings with no issues. Each character has a unique design to them. An example is The Ranger's design that is similar to various elf characters. Meanwhile, the Trickster looks like someone you would meet at a carnival. While the world map is seen in a 2D view, the rest of the game is in 3D. Every level is beautifully rendered. The Hostile, Defense, and Gamble levels showcase an overhead view, and the Friendly level showcases a side view. This game's graphics is better than I expected. Textures and shading are smooth and consistent on all levels. I fell that the Friendly levels showcase the greatest deal of detail of the lights and shadows. The enemy designs felt cartoon-ish compared to a player's character who looks like in real life. Various demons, skeletons, and zombies fell like they are not a part of the game. The said variations of enemies presented on the loading screens have a cartoon vibe to them as well. It is carried over into the 3D levels.
The soundtrack of Herolike sealed my admiration for it. The game's main menu theme draws attention with a subtle start. It continues to build up the intensity while strings are playing in the background. It sounds like music someone would play while describing an epic tale. Different levels have music. One Hostile level may feature various rapid-beat drum numbers giving a sense of urgency. Another could play music that has a dark and sinister vibe to it. During my playthrough, Friendly levels featured music that was mellow in comparison to Combat levels. The music of Friendly levels felt reminiscent of heroes joined around a campfire. Together with the game's pleasing 3D graphics, this builds up the complete and immersive experience.
Arguably, Herolike is nowhere near perfect by any means. The characters are limited to four skills while similar games feature a bigger and complex skill system. Though the said skills are upgradable, the limited number of upgrades kills the appeal and potential of such system. The town building aspect of the game could use some work as well. While it is a fun, the resource gathering feels like a burden. Some enemies just don't belong to this game due to their cartoon-ish appearance next to a realistic looking character. Replay value isn't great. Personally, I would play the game again to see what different scenarios I would face. Besides those few flaws, Herolike was an enjoyable experience. It was a unique. For that, the developers and publisher should feel proud.
Herolike is an under-appreciated game. Many people will love it while others will hate it. This game has shared elements of other RPG games, such as the health and mana pools. For me, the game stood out with its various levels. I have yet to experience a game that includes different level ideas. Numerous Hostile levels became a challenge as my renown grew. Defense levels were like balancing life and death of a new character. While playing Friendly levels, I was choosing my destiny and did what I felt was justifiable. Every level brought something new and never failed to impress me. The Gamble levels were surprises in themselves since I wasn't sure what to expect. Would I be facing enemies in the dark or exchange wit with a gnome? This game has been full of wonderful surprises and has surpassed my expectations. Each completed level delivered joy, and each character's death delivered frustration. Each new building presented the chance to use a new character to overcome old obstacles. For these reasons, I am confident in giving this game a score of 6.5 out of 10.
|+ Random level encounters||– Limited Character Development|
|+ Can be played on older systems||– Hard to see skill cooldowns|
|+ Buildings carry over from other characters||– Permanent death if no re-spawn point|
|– Building system requires a lot of resources|