By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Roleplaying games have been trying to make the transition to the mobile market for a few years now. Alas most feel like rush jobs that just don’t match the quality of their PC and Console counterparts. In fact it’s a rare occasion that one hooks its claws into me for longer than a week. Most just feel like one trick ponies that have that piece of uniqueness hidden among a bland copy pasta seen in a million other games. My latest mobile RPG I’ve given a chance is Heroes Charge, an action RPG that lets you control your own team of heroes to fight in a thrilling story, and in an arena against other players. Given my first impressions of the game, I had high hopes this would be the RPG to go the distance.
The first piece of the puzzle that instantly jumps out at you is the graphics. Even though it is fairly simple and basic, the character models are fantastic looking, and all the graphical textures in general impress me. But graphics can only take you so far, especially on my tiny mobile screen, so let’s jump straight into the gameplay.
Each player is given a few starter heroes, and slowly but surely you unlock more as you advance through the story. Eventually you will get enough heroes to complete your party, with a limit of five active at a time. Each one of these heroes also has their own set of skills and roles. Some are made for the backline and obviously will stand behind your other heroes, these heroes usually do a lot of damage from a distance, protected by the tankier low damage heroes that hope to outlast your opponent’s front line.
There are three different lanes as I suppose would be the best way to describe the formations: front, middle, and back. The middle row is usually ideal for support characters that power up the other two rows. At the start you begin with only three heroes, but after a couple hours you should have enough options to fill out each row with appropriate characters. Of course many more hours of gameplay is needed to find truly powerful heroes for this roles, which adds to the early excitement of exploring and buying new characters to test out. Gotta catch em all applies to Heroes Charge in a big way. Especially once you get into the arena mode where the more unique your team is, the less likely your opponent’s team will be built to counter it.
Your heroes are important, and therefore you need to care for them. You cannot just throw a hero on your party, and still expect him to be as effective as his replacement. By doing the story mode you will slowly unlock equipment to enhance your heroes, with each hero needing different stats to fully unleash their potential. Once you complete a character’s full equipment set, the hero can absorb the whole set, taking in all the attributes from each item. This sets the process over again from the beginning, allowing you to build your favorite heroes into true juggernauts over time.
I must say, I haven’t really seen this concept anywhere before, but I really like the fact that you utilize all of your equipment that you find, you do not have to worry about selling the older equipment, since you simply absorb it and add it permanently to your hero. You also unlock skills after your heroes level up. And by spending points and your well-earned coins, you can also upgrade each skill’s strength. But since this requires quite a lot of coins, it will take a while before your hero has hit its skill cap. Overall these processes build into an engaging grind that exceeds most rival RPGs in the mobile realm.
The only downside of Heroes Charge is the actual combat mechanics. When you head into battle there is not a lot of things you can do. Your heroes will automatically attack the enemy, but the more they get hit and the more they hit the enemies, the faster they will build their charge meter, required to unleash special skills. These skills are extremely helpful when taking down packs of monsters or bosses. In story mode where your team is forced to face multiple waves in a gauntlet style, the charge meter becomes increasingly important.
The last wave usually features a boss, and the faster your heroes can dispatch the earlier waves, the better your odds of completing the quest. As such you will need to decide to unleash your charge early to make it to the boss with minimal damage, or save up to start off the boss battle with a bang. Arena mode on the other hand has you in a death brawl with a single enemy party, meaning you need to decide the best moment to unleash all your special skills to cripple the enemy’s chances of victory.
Heroes Charge is an extremely fun game to play, and it looks sharp to boot. Unfortunately it does require some time and effort before you unlock most of the features, since doing each chapter could take up to an hour. Depending on what you’re looking for in your mobile RPG, this can be a great or awful feature. But just know that the true meat of the game won’t be unlocked until you have sunk a fair number of hours into it. I am a big fan of the party system, as it adds some meaningful decisions that help the battles feel more tactical than they would be otherwise. Plenty of time and effort was put into making heroes feel unique through their utility and skill sets and it shows. If you own a mobile device, and are looking for a RPG to get your through the holiday break, you should definitely check out Heroes Charge. RPG fans not out for instant gratification will be glad they did.