Developer: XSEED Games
Publisher: Marvelous Europe
Platform: Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 31/01/2020
Price: £24.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
RPGs are one of the many genres of gaming I love, and there are different RPG types like turn-based RPGs, action RPGs, and so on. Although, I don’t know what to classify the game I am reviewing today as. That game is Heroland; I had interesting opinions on this title and my opinions changed over time as I played the game. What were those opinions? How do I feel now? Was Heroland a great joy, or was it a massive letdown? Let’s find out.
The story starts with us naming our character, but that doesn’t matter because most of the time the NPCs call us Lucky. Lucky is trying to get a job so he can provide for his family, and so he came to Heroland, a fun amusement park, where guests can be like heroes. His job is to guide guests throughout dungeons. However, Lucky’s luck with his first guest ends in a very bad experience, because of Prince Eleric, 18th in line for the throne, 18 for short, who was very unpleasant. So he and his new fairy friend, Lua, go to the office so he can quit his job. That is…until another bad fate happens. He accidentally bumps into someone carrying a 100 million $tarfish vase, forcing him go into debt and have to do his job for longer.
The story of Heroland is very average BUT the game isn’t trying to do a good story, it is trying to be a fun story, and it is important to remember that when you play the game. What I mean is, if you expect a story that is something like Xenoblade Chronicles or The Last of Us, you are going to be very disappointed and/or even hate the story. It is trying to have fun, mess around with us, and be very meta, although there are a few good surprises in the story of Heroland. Sadly, they all happen after Chapter 3.
That being said, the jokes that the game pulls are pretty mixed. Some jokes I hate because they are either genuinely not funny or too repetitive, others I cringe towards, another few that are “meh”, but there are some pretty good jokes in the game. Chapter 3 and before it are very weak starting chapters and not much happens in them except for meeting new characters for Lucky to guide. Those chapters are slogs but at the very least after that is when the story begins, and I’d rather not talk about it since I don’t want to spoil it; I believe people should go in blind.
Before I move on from the story, I wish to talk about the characters for a minute here. I’m not going to discuss all of them, just those who left a big impact on me. Starting with 18, at first I hated him with a passion but that hate went away as I played more of the game. Kotori is another fantastic character when the game touches upon her. If there was one character I am unsure about it is… Lua. She is not bad, but I do think that she is too much of a link to the player. She said what I was thinking about 80% of the game and honestly after awhile it felt forced. Are there any character I hated? A few. I dislike a mother of a family and I dislike the 3 of 18’s fan girls, ESPECIALLY Miranda. Also, most of the characters really are great in the side quests, as the side quests are engaging.
Heroland’s gameplay isn’t very hard to go over, but it is hard to put into words because, honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. For the first part of the game I felt like I was doing nothing in battles, that I can just leave the game running and do something else. However, just like the story, my opinions on it changed as the game continued. First, let’s discuss what you do in the battle system: you just guide your characters through the fight. You can either raise a flag that will get the attention of all your characters, or you can guide just one of your characters to do a move, or use an item.
That was a lot to unpack right there, so let’s go through them one by one: first off the easiest one to explain, the items. These items range from health, special or weapon skills, or even capsules that had captured cast members acting as enemies in them, for you to use against other enemies (some of these will be touched on later). Flags can range from targeting a single opponent, holding off using specials/weapon skills, using ONLY specials/weapon skills, guard from attacks, retreat from the dungeon, or just letting characters do whatever they want. It is almost completely the same thing with the solo guides, except it is just one turn.
As you may have noticed, you really don’t do much in battles. Like I said, you are just a guide and you lead your group into battle as both a leader and a helper. This means your enjoyment comes from how you manage your heroes and if you like just being a guide. For me, I am mixed. It is a different experience from any other RPG I have played before, but being a guide can sometimes be boring as I mentioned earlier. However, I found some joy in it and felt excited during later parts of the game.
To further talk about Lucky, he is also the provider for weapons that characters use in battle that you can get from the weapon shop, and also the same thing for the items. However, to be able to buy these items and weapons you need $tarfish, and in order to get that you must get moncoins from the enemies, and that moncoin not only gives you $tarfish but also level ups your characters. You can also level up Lucky’s guide level which will make you able to do more in battles with less recharge time, and allow you to have more items to use in battle. To level up, you must get the heroes you bring into battle to have high appreciation of you, and in order to do that you have to help them in battle, keep them healthy, and give them treasures that enemies will maybe drop.
Alright, almost done with the gameplay, I just want to go over what I touched on earlier. First up the side quests: these are character specific quests that can only be unlocked by certain factors. A few of those factors are the points of the story that the game is in, and the characters’ friendship level. Friendship level is basically how much the character likes you, and in order to do that you must give them items from dropped treasure chests. You don’t need these friendship levels to be maxed to do all the quests, but you do get a reward for it. A side quest doesn’t play any differently from the main quests. Capsules can be obtained by collecting rare types of enemies you beat.
Now finally we talk about weapons and special skills, and they are self-explanatory. Each character has their own skill that you can evolve to become stronger by getting the friendship level of that character up to level 6. The weapon skills are skills tied to the weapon you use, that is honestly it. However, both weapon and special skills can do different things, ranging from shocking an opponent to confusing them.
As for the rest of the game, the music is great but limited. I really can’t say anything more or less about it. The same can be said about the visuals, I love how the game looks and all the characters look great. I also like the look of the areas you explore. The animations of this game are basic but it doesn’t need to be.
Heroland is a very interesting game. It starts out rough with its story and its gameplay isn’t for everyone. I believe the visuals are great and the way they did the characters look great. The soundtrack is good but limited. However, I think if you can get through the beginning of the game you can enjoy it, and who knows, you might be like me and enjoy the game.