I’m in a strange predicament. I love video games, yet after my Xbox 360 got the Red Ring, I’ve only had my iPhone to play with, and most iPhone games I’ve tried are kind of…lacking. Or at least get that way after a few hours’ time. As soon as Conan: Tower of the Elephant’s novelty had worn off, I had to find a new game for my phone. Something where an idealized macho version of myself can hit things with a big phallic object, or where an idealized intellectual version of myself can use his book smarts to rain fire on bad guys. What I wanted was a good fantasy RPG. What I found was Heroes vs Monsters.
The game utilizes the chibi style of character design. It works well to give the game a cheerful feel, and looks good. The rest of the graphics are alright, but the game could use some more variety in battle background graphics.
There are several irritating glitches in the game, however. While I’d not say the app crashes regularly, it does crash enough that I almost expect it after 10 or 11 battles. What’s worse and more frequent are character glitches. Some characters either freeze completely or become incapable of using particular skills without any real reason to have that happen. Examples I’ve found include the Cleric not being able to cast spells at all after a certain point, the Barbarian and Bard freezing totally (even when they’re supposed to walk off screen after a victory) and the Archer losing the Arrow Rain ability. This is inexcusably bad. In addition to this, it seems that most items that get sold back to the store net a far smaller price than is shown as the selling price (I’ve sold items listed as selling at 1500 gold for 90 gold) which should never happen in an RPG with only one store.
The controls here are incredibly simple, but the lack of any sort of easy character-toggle system definitely puts a damper on things. There are points during every battle that it’s strategically advantageous to group your characters close together, but if they’re too close you can only select the one that’s furthest down on the screen. That makes for a frustrating experience, and if it happens at a point where it’s crucial to control the character you can’t select for whatever reason, it can cause you to lose the battle if you can’t move the other character away quickly enough.
Otherwise, I have no complaints at all. The controls are quick to learn, easy to use and are fairly intuitive.
Uh…well, it starts off with a cut scene where a bunch of heroes approach a wizard who is evil (I guess) and get slaughtered. Then a title card says “by a tragic twist of fate, the young warriors left behind in the village become the new heroes. And so begins their quest…” That’s literally all the story. It goes right into a tutorial after that, then the game starts. I’ve seen a gameplay video of the final boss fight and there is no resolution of the story. If I gave the story any sort of letter grade, it would be lucky to get a D.
The game is challenging…for a while. After a short while, however, you learn that there’s not much thinking to the strategy. Have your melee fighter (Fighter or Barbarian) up front, keep the healer (Cleric or Bard) safe, have the ranged fighter (Archer or Fire Mage) take on whoever the tank isn’t, or have them all gang up on the one baddie present. Have either two tanks or two ranged fighters, make sure you have decent equipment and the right character build (and there is a definite right way to build every character. Unlike actually customizable games, this one really only lets one build of ever class really soar) and don’t go after anything too high leveled. If you follow that basic instruction and grind like hell, you’ll find the game not challenging at all.
If I could sum up the experience of playing this game in one word, that word would be “grinding”, because that’s all you bloody-well do. You fight a small variety of monsters in front of the same four or five backgrounds, using the same strategy because it’s clearly the proper one, for hours on end until you have the power and equipment to beat the bosses, then have a bit of fun figuring out the strategy to beat the bosses, then it’s another grind-fest. There’s no reward for it, nothing to keep you playing but your own willpower and pain threshold. I quit at level 26, and honestly I would have quit much earlier if I didn’t plan on reviewing this turd. I guess I only have myself to blame there. If I prevent one person from downloading this app…well, it would have to be a lot more to make it worth the pain I suffered, let’s be honest.
I’m told this game is a soulless knock-off of another iOs game called Battleheart. I haven’t played that game, but the gameplay videos I’ve seen make it look infinitely more worthwhile than this abortion of an app, which even a neutral observer would admit is a clear ripoff of Battleheart. Heroes vs Monsters is currently free as a promotion. If you’re going to download it, do it now, but don’t expect to enjoy it for too long. If you wait until it’s a paid app, consider donating to charity, or buying Battleheart. If you DO pay for this app, I am obligated to repeatedly kick you in the genitals with steel toed boots.
2/10, would be 1 but it’s free and it’s fun during the hour before the boredom sets in. Would be a 1 if either of those things were not true.