League of Heroes Review (3DS eShop)

Some games are meant to be played with all your focus and concentration by getting you involved and task you with many challenges. When you pick up one of these games, you focus solely on that. League of Heroes is not one of those games but instead a port of a Free To Play title you can find on the App store or Google Play, however, once you realize this, it’s not bad but definitely requires a certain mindset to fully enjoy it.

Concept

Take a Free to Play title and sell it for $5 on the 3DS eShop where the only online interaction is Miiverse so kids can’t spend too much money (A.K.A. freemium).

Graphics and Presentation

Seriously, who's this and where did she come from?

Seriously, who’s this and where did she come from?

The graphics are the first hint that League of Heroes might’ve been a Facebook game originally. It looks just like something you’d expect from the “platform” famous for Farmville. I find it more “kid-friendly,” but on the handheld console front, it’s actually somewhat fresh. The overall presentation is actually good, with proper fantasy aesthetics, though there are a few things I find odd or slightly annoying. For example, you use the buttons to control your character and interact with others, but you need to use the touch screen to exit, confirm, or select anything during these interactions. Another oddity is in the very beginning with your “guide” who’s art style is very different than every other character in the game. The last problem is the framerate sometimes dropped slightly and took a while to return to normal. About 75% of the time it runs smoothly, but it can be a bit jarring when you notice the drop.

Sound

I don’t have any quarrels with the music as it’s run-of-the-mill but works. The voice acting can get annoying after a while, especially after hearing the same reference over and over and over again (“I used to be an adventurer like you…”). The same is true of the monsters’ sound effects, most especially the banshee class and their horrid screeches. Luckily, the developers give you control of the sound, so you can just limit it to the music if you wish.

Gameplay

One of the things about Free to Play games is how they are able to drag back again and again to do the exact same thing with no variety. League of Heroes succeeds on this front as I continually found myself playing the same task over and over, and not even just for the purpose of writing this review. I was honestly caught in that “one more level” trap. Some of the tricks employed by the developer I do disdain, but others I found to be very interesting or innovative. There are 7 enemy classes.  As you level up, different versions of these monsters enter the mix. However, I found that these are pretty much just for visual variety. Some may take an extra hit or two to defeat, but the game implements a function that I haven’t seen in the RPG world: Monsters leveling up.

It may take a while for you to realize when you start playing, but when you level up, you don’t really get stronger. You just get access to more weapons or armor. Instead, the monsters are the ones who power up. Monsters that used to take 3 hits to kill can go up to 6 or maybe even 9 if you don’t continually upgrade your weapon. If this was not on the 3DS where you only spent $5 upfront and that was it, I would say this was a cruel trick from the developers. This almost forces you to buy each new upgrade as it becomes available, but there’s that extra currency we all know and love/really despise from F2P games.  Since it’s so rare and used for almost everything, it’s easy to run out and give you the urge to buy more if you had the choice. Instead on the 3DS, you are forced to endure the increase in challenge and spend these “gems” wisely. One tip I have for new “adventurers” is to avoid is purchasing potions except when fighting bosses or a quest calls for it.

Bosses are the only times when potions are useful

Bosses are the only times when potions are useful

Why would you skip on purchasing potions? Because they don’t do you any good unless you have trouble fighting bosses. There is no real penalty for dying, unless you are counting the loss of those “silver coins bonus” you get from completing a level. That really doesn’t matter unless you are spending the coins unwisely. I have plenty of silver coins but I ran out of gems. There are very few items that take only silver coins, and they are weaker than the ones that use both coins and gems. When you die, you just go back to the village and lose nothing. It is just forcing you to leave the level, which can be done at any time anyways with no penalty. This helps make this more of a mindless-fun sort of game to play during commercial breaks than something to fully invest.

If you do buy a potion or similar item, you will notice that there is a 30 minute time limit on them. Of course, if the potion gets used, then that’s it, but otherwise it will last for that 30 minutes. Some items include an increase in money, experience, or even pointing the all of the hidden treasure. The monster vision item was a pretty neat thing since it operates like the mask in Wind Waker and allows you to see enemy health. However, I didn’t really see any of these items worth the added cost in rare gems unless they were going to reward me with more gems.

How in the world did they get that many gems?

How in the world did they get that many gems?

To help keep your interest and give you gems, there are quests and challenges you can take on. The one from the old woman is always a gathering quest for a certain number of items that are gained the same way, randomly defeating random enemies because apparently skeletons do have brains and feathers. It’s not even a question of common drops because they seem to drop at the same rate anyways. However, like every other challenge or quest, it doesn’t matter if you did it before because it doesn’t count until you receive the quest. You only get the items requested so the number of items is really just to indicate how long it will take you to finally complete it.

Many of the challenges actually are tailored to you trying out different things, such as buying a Greed Potion, or obtaining a new skill. This is a pretty cool way of skipping a tutorial, but it also means you should always leave one skill unbought and don’t buy any of the potions until told. Since it doesn’t matter if you already did it, you have to make sure you can do it when it’s actually a “quest.” There are a few times where I had to wait until I leveled up 3 times just to complete a quest. Oh! If you wanted another hint this was F2P, then the whole timer thing about when you can do more challenges or the next mission should do that for you. Challenges (the treasure box icon on the touch screen) refresh every 4 hours and you can’t do a mission for 2 hours after completing the last one.

Now you might wonder why I haven’t mentioned anything about actual fighting yet. That’s because it is a simple as you can get. Press A to slash. You can do 3 slash combos. Press X to use a ranged weapon that’s limited in count. You also have a special ability unlocked at level 10 that’s used by pressing Y, but I don’t see it as worth anything. You go around and kill every monster. Rinse and repeat. Only the boss levels (unlocked every 5 EXP levels) have the added bonus of something extra, namely the boss and that’s it. So what makes this game fairly addicting? It’s the combination of everything. The levels are the same generic design, but somewhat random layouts that change after you complete the corresponding level. If you want variety, you can play around with the daylight and weather at a whim, though the specific weather patterns are randomized if you have the wifi turned off. If you want true variety, this isn’t the game as it’s not the type you want to invest deeply. On the other hand, if you just want something to play during TV commercials or to give your young kids, this is perfect.

Rain or shine, you can play around with the environment for variety

Rain or shine, you can play around with the environment for variety

Replayability

I haven’t seen an option to restart the entire game besides going through the 3DS settings, but then again, I wouldn’t want to. Since the game is a slow grind, there’s not much inclination for restarting the whole game unless you want to obtain your weapons in a better order. I can believe this as a motivation if you make a few bad purchases early in the game since the scarcity of gems quickly become apparent about when you reach the EXP level 25. However, the combination of ease of play, no real penalty for dying, and that enemies only get harder, not weaker make this game easy to play again and again.

Glitches

During my gameplay, I encountered a few glitches or bugs. None of them were necessarily game breaking, but they weren’t humorous either.

  • One occasion when I bought a Speed Potion and started off in a part of the level where I could not move at all. As a result I just had to return to the village and start over again.
  • One time where I bought a health potion and it was used before I got to the level and so I bought a second one before even starting my quest.
  • Once during a long loading time where the game crashed and restarted my 3DS, but the game’s data was still intact.

Overall

When I received this game, I didn’t know it was a Free to Play port. However, after realizing this, it was easy to jump into the mood of playing on and off, such as during TV commercial breaks. I was actually surprised how I kept coming back to playing this title and I do think some of the concepts placed in here are worth considering in other titles. If you are thinking about getting this game for your kids, then the 3DS version is probably the best so there’s no temptation to spend so much on the F2P version (because they would want to).

I do also appreciate them showing how much progress I made at the end of each level

I do also appreciate them showing how much progress I made at the end of each level

League of Heroes Review (3DS eShop)
A Free to Play port that's perfect for people who want some action during a commercial break or for young kids who just want an endless hack-and-slash adventure.
Pros
  • Monsters level up
  • Ease of play
  • Mindless fun
Cons
  • No real variety or choice
  • Banshees
  • Leveling Up feels cheated
7.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Feature Writer/Game Reviewer

Blogger in the IGN community and no longer for Always Nintendo. You can find him still blogging in the IGN community as FalconRise