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Heroes in Time

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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Tik-tok's all the boxes

Product: Heroes in Time | Developer: CH Games | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | File size: 20.3MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Heroes in Time iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's hard not to let out a little shudder when another K-RPG wings its way on to the App Store.

Sure, they fill a hole for anyone seeking a retro RPG fix, but it's tough to be too enthused by an iOS sub-genre increasingly defined by its clumsy storytelling, grind-heavy gameplay, and aggressive in-app purchase requirements.

Thankfully, Heroes in Time - the latest game in Chillingo's SEED series - does a decent job of side-stepping these depressingly familiar genre tropes.

That's not to say you should expect revelatory innovations - just a more agreeable gaming experience beneath the chip-tunes and pixellated gloss.

Tale as old as time

For a start, Heroes in Time has a fair crack at spinning an interesting yarn. Proceedings kick off with a gallant knight, royal twins separated at birth by a murderous old hag, and the eventual discovery of a snarling wolf-child taken to the palace to serve - somewhat fortuitously - his long lost brother.

It's hardly prize-winning stuff, but it's a couple of steps up from the usual 'glum child makes friends, cheers up in time to save universe' nonsense. There's a decent amount of characterisation to flesh out the story's key protagonists, and the translation is solid enough to not be a perpetual distraction.

All this serves as a springboard for an action-RPG staunchly focused on simplistic real-time combat. Between exchanges of story chatter you head out into the wild and hammer your combat button to mash away at the game's constantly re-spawning fauna.

It's a system that's lacking in depth - with only the highs of loot drops punctuating the rather brainless action. Don't expect the added complexity of any Zelda-style dungeoneering here.

A Fighting Chance

Relentless it might be, but the combat is still solidly enjoyable - with special skills and a wide range of equipment upgrades delivering breadth where depth is missing.

Battles benefit greatly from a nifty lock-on system, too, ensuring that you can focus on the visceral thrills of destruction rather than fiddly orientation.

Elsewhere, everything's pretty much as you'd expect - with a lengthy globe-trotting main campaign, plenty of loot to pilfer, a reasonable number of fetch-style side quests, and appealing - if rather unadventurous - retro-inspired presentation.

Elsewhere, Heroes in Time wins points for its relaxed attitude to in-app purchases. Rather than force consumable spending through excessive grinding requirements, the game (which is otherwise free) attempts to entice a few coins out of your pocket with some handy optional upgrades.

For instance, 69p nets you access to fast-travel warp gates, and there's a special Coliseum mode that awards experience points and additional goodies for wave-based monster obliteration.

Because Heroes in Time has been shorn of the K-RPG's more annoying characteristics, it's easy to enjoy the well-proportioned adventure.

It's just a shame that it doesn't escape the genre's one-note gameplay. It's a fine example of familiar stat-levelling and button-battering, for sure, but Heroes in Time is probably still too stuck in its RPG-lite niche to entice anyone but ardent genre fans.
 
Heroes in Time
Reviewer photo
Matt Wales | 11 July 2012
A solidly produced K-RPG that delivers an entertaining, if ultimately over-familiar, action-heavy adventure
 
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