iOS Review: Glorious 8 Bit Puzzle Action!

Horde1It’s been a while friends, and for that I apologize. However, I’m back with a whole new pile of games to play and we’re gonna start it off with a bang. It’s been made pretty clear on this blog that I’m not a huge puzzle fan, but on occasion I find one that I fancy. This is one of those times. Horde of Heroes is a neat combo of fantasy RPG with leveling and stats and a puzzle game with match three mechanics. Think Bejeweled with a buster sword.

The game starts you off with a character creation screen, and you get to pick from a handful of nearly unrecognizable clusters of 15-32 pixels to make your character look… like something. Some of the items it wasn’t really clear what they were unless you read the name. Even with my love of pixel art and being a pixel artist myself I found that some items … probably should have been scrapped early on.

HordeOfHeroes1

It was the only one with spikey hair. Which I feel obligated to use in RPGs.

The game offers four main different colors of puzzle pieces, red, green, purple, blue. Each one correlates to one of your stats, and affects the gameplay based on what color you choose to break. For example, if you were to connect three red pieces, this is for your physical damage attribute and does more damage to the creature your fighting based on your stats. The better your stat, the harder you hit/ recover health/ shield yourself/ etc. I think its really neat that the world map for this looks like it was created by a bunch of guys playing D&D, casting magic missiles into the darkness and such, with its pixelated tabletop and dice strewn about.

HordeOfHeroes2

Eels that drop ham? Yeah, that’s gross. Would not eat. 0/10.

One of the nice things about working with pixel graphics, is you can pack a lot into a small package since graphically there’s not much to each “thing” be it an item or a monster. Horde of Heroes did just that. Offering over a million combinations of loot such as armor, weapons, items, etc. That level of customization is dwarfed only by the customization in my second MMORPG I’m working on, where we have 64,000 styles of hair alone.

Frankly I am quite happy with this game and it got quite a few hours of gameplay out of me, which is really good and pretty rare for a puzzle game to manage to do. While I certainly wasn’t challenged that often I have to say some of the levels that give you a limited number of moves to accomplish something in fall into the Candy Crush trap. Meaning random generation of pieces could make or break your ability to win a level. I would have rather seen these levels have static placement of pieces to help solidify strategy and teach me to look for certain things, or fail trying. Sadly all I got out of these levels was “learn how to skip by spending your gemstones” or be as frustrated as Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

All in all it was a pretty fun ride. Let’s hit the break down:

Graphics: 
Rating-Bar3

I love pixel art. But even for me, I think the scale is a little too low. Plus some of the best parts of this game are about the character and the enemy your fighting, which is never within view since I’m too busy looking at the game board.

Gameplay: Rating-Bar4

Well it’s certainly no World of Warcraft, and It’s a decent challenge, but it’s random generation doesn’t seem anywhere near as broken as Candy Crush Saga, so I’m super pleased with it. The game has enough mechanics and things that are happening outside of the puzzle screen to keep me happy. Equipment, stats, tons of things to unlock, even has the ability to fight along side my Facebook friends. You know, the ones. “Oh look I have 15 Facebook notifications…” *checks phone* Bob has invited you to play Mafia Wars. Bob has invited you to play Mafia Wars. Bob has invited you to play Mafia Wars. Bob has invited you to slam your face into a wall.

Audio: Rating-Bar3

Ehhhhh… Its not bad. It’s 8 bit, it fits the theme, if it didn’t fit the theme and this was a differently styled game it would have probably gotten a 2/5.

Innovation: Rating-Bar2

This is not some sort of new fangled contrapmowiz that makes you go up the stairs faster. Oh no, this is a tried and true formula by now, but what sets the game apart is really just the art style. Want a 5 here? Do me a favor and develop a way that I can send my friends across the pond the smell of my roommates delicious cooking. Oh.. wait… it’s been done already.

Overall:Rating-Bar3

Pretty solid puzzle game, it really is. So why should I give this game a 3? Well let me explain. So the gameplay is decent and the puzzles are good. Minus the levels where you have to drop food, this game is a pretty solid catch. While I personally love the pixel art theme some may not, and the game really banks on that being what sets it apart. Perhaps if it had crafting, or maybe a random dungeon mode, that’d be neat. So it’s a solid three for you Hordes of Heroes, which honestly is nothing to be ashamed of.

What didn’t make the cut this week:

Metal Force

This absolutely uncontrollable sidescrolling shooter lasted a record 3 minutes on my iPad while at a loading screen for League of Legends. Terrible. Almost as terrible as some of the toasters people play League on. Score: 1/5

Soccer Rally 2: World Championship

This actually looks like it would be fun. If I wasn’t too busy being disorientated and driving in the wrong direction. This one will take some getting used to. Score: 2/5 


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