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League of Epic Heroes

For: iPhone

Rinse and repeat

Product: League of Epic Heroes | Developer: Lazy Peon Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
League of Epic Heroes iPhone, thumbnail 1
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

This age-old slice of advice is applicable in many situations in life, but it’s especially fitting for League of Epic Heroes, a brutally challenging dungeon-crawler for iPhone and iPod touch.

In the dark, dank catacombs of this game you find death lurking around almost every corner. Built for the hardest of the hardcore, League of Epic Heroes is a tough slog that can't break through to appeal beyond its stiff difficulty and repetitive gameplay.

Dust yourself off and start again

Slavering skeletons, grumpy orcs, and mischievous imps all pine after your blood. The action takes place in randomly-generated environments where you battle hordes of monsters until you eventually reach the level's guardian.

Using a turn-based system, you move by tapping tiles in each level. Initially, each level is immersed in darkness, but as you move tiles are uncloaked from the fog of war, as well as enemies and items. Handily, you also regain health and spell-casting mana with every tile you uncover.

With each enemy defeated you gain experience, pick up statistic-boosting bonuses, and collect valuable items, but of all those elements the only thing you retain upon death is the equipment you find – everything else gets erased as soon as your character bites the dust.

Monster mash

Since there’s a limited number of health-restoring potions, enemies to slay, and tiles to uncover to regain health and mana, League of Epic Heroes plays out like a twisted kind of resource management game.

Wasting all of your restorative items on defeating a relatively insignificant enemy is a huge mistake, because by the time you’ve reached the appropriate level to tackle the guardian, you’ll have uncovered all of the map and therefore won’t be able to top-up your health by uncovering tiles. At this juncture, potions become truly essential items, so conserving them is a must.

Thankfully, the monsters you fight are rooted in place and won’t attack you unless you hit first. Before landing a blow you're told the outcome of the fight, allowing you to avoid certain death and instead focus on battles you can win. This system means you can take your time and carefully plan your strategy.

Be wise, strategise

Yet, even the most well-thought out plan is unlikely to score victory on the first go; instead you repeatedly die, only progressing when you manage to unearth a particularly potent slate of status-boosting items to be used on your next attempt.

As such, League of Epic Heroes is entrenched in repetition. You can expect to play dungeons over and over again before eventually triumphing over the level guardian and moving to the next location. If you savour instant gratification and quick rewards you're unlikely to find much to enjoy here.

Even dedicated role-players may balk at the harsh nature of the gameplay. Although it shares many of the same traits as other role-playing games – items, experience points and turn-based combat – League of Epic Heroes has a paper-thin plot and zero characterisation.

It’s not going to be for everyone, but League of Epic Heroes does have a charm to it - it just depends if you possess the stern dedication required to rise to the challenge.
League of Epic Heroes
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 9 December 2010
League of Epic Heroes is a gripping dungeon-crawler with specific charm, but the repetition and stiff difficulty limit its appeal
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