I was pretty interested to have a crack at Herolike, I’ve always been a big fan of games like Diablo and Torchlight, cruising round exploring dungeons, smashing various monsters and grabbing loot. Exploration and loot are important in these games, especially loot when reaching the end game. Trying to get that last, extra high stat armour or weapon drop is what drives the longevity of this genre. Herolike has gone down a different road however.
The first thing you’ll see, right off the bat, is the character creator. Here you’ll find the usual suspects and I played as a barbarian, as it’s an easy point of comparison. There is no character customisation, so once you’ve selected your class; in you go. Starting off on the mission map you’ll see an option to go to your hero’s home town, which is persistent. If you die, delete your hero and make a new one, the town will remain the same. As you progress, you can upgrade your town by adding merchants which allow you to buy better weapons, armour and potions. If you’d prefer, you can dive straight into battle.
Battles in Herolike are, in some ways, pretty far from what I was expecting. Instead of decent sized dungeons to explore the majority of the battles take place in small, square environments. There are various hazards, that add a little variety to the fights such as slowness from the cold or wandering sand storms, but they are all very, very similar and fairly short. The combat is pretty standard too. You have a basic attack and four skills. Attacks can feel pretty clunky and unresponsive sometimes, but is generally fine. The most surprising thing was that monsters only drop gold and health or mana pots. No loot, at all.
Friendly encounters are essentially self-contained stories with a couple of dialogue choices which might earn you a reward if you help someone out. These encounters are the only story elements in the game. They add a little humour and give a bit of a sense of the world you’re in, but there’s no apparent overarching narrative. There is in fact, very little to motivate you to play this game for very long. Battles are basic and repetitive, boss fights are more of a challenge in patience rather than skill and upgrading your town is really just a way to limit your access to the different tiers of weapons and armour available from the merchants. There is no real feeling of progress.
A co-op mode would add considerably to this game and the developers have promised one, although with no time line. This brings me to my final point. Despite having very recently released, Herolike, it still feels like an early access game. Graphically it’s only passable. There are some issues with sound distorting, especially when you kill multiple enemies and the music is hit and miss. I encountered a lot of bugs and there is just an overall unfinished quality to everything.
Ultimately, Herolike has potential, it’s just missing that critical something; the hook. Be it an innovative battle mechanic or some flair in graphical style that makes it addictive.
Herolike was reviewed on PC using a Steam code provided to PowerUp! by Black Shell Media.
Game title: Herolike
Taking down a Necromancer - 7/10
Dying from being stuck in a mushroom - 2/10
Health drops flying away instead of enemies - 4/10