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League of Heroes

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

The path travelled slowly

Product: League of Heroes | Developer: Gamelion Studios | Publisher: Gamelion Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1.607
League of Heroes iPhone, thumbnail 1
This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting the game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about.

Carry on.

The freemium genre gets a lot of stick for being made up of endless passive grindfests, with very little action or skill involved.

League of Heroes
has a lot more action and player involvement than most titles that use this economic model, but despite this it's still a chore to play.

Its interactivity (combined with its energy system) ironically hampers an otherwise straightforward action-RPG.

First impressions

But gosh does the game have a wobbly start. Once the game is downloaded and its icon on the home screen is tapped, you're presented with an ad for a completely different product. Five seconds in and already the money-making begins - it's a bad sign.

The movie introducing the game-world doesn't fare much better. It's poorly acted, sounding a little bit like this chap. It's also totally superfluous to the experience, as the plot is dropped almost immediately.

You're then plonked into a village that acts as the hub world. There's a potion shop to buy bonuses while playing (such as more money or a health refill) and a blacksmith to buy armour and weapons from.

There's also a man who doles out challenges that earn you money, and a goblin-like creature encouraging you to sign up via Facebook in exchange for more freebies. 

As you venture forth on quests to rid the world of bad guys, you use up energy, which dictates how long you can play for before the game makes you wait for it to recharge. The quests themselves are initially very bland: entirely composed of going to an area, beating up all the baddies, and returning.

The combat and movement are fine. You move around with a virtual thumbstick on the left-hand side of the screen, while tapping on the right-hand side lets you attack. Since there's only one button there's no skill involved in fighting - you just hammer away at an enemy until it dies.

After a few of these missions you're then stuck for more stuff to do, unless you wait a while to play again, or invite friends to play or spend gems (the game's more finite currency) on energy.

3 days: a dulling blade

Okay, so the presentation is really starting to wear thin now. The game's environments look the same everywhere you go, drawing upon the same visual assets repeatedly. While some levels will face you with a long thin path to wonder down, and others will be more open, you're seeing the same stuff and doing the same things.

The soundtrack has also wormed its way into my head by this point. It's an inoffensive set of tracks, but it's been repeated so often that I can't help but hum the theme while simultaneously hating myself for doing so. 

The other thing that's not changing is the brawling. There's no more nuance to the combat - it's still the same process of running up to a group of enemies and tapping away until they fall.

With no dodge mechanic, you can easily become swarmed and take damage due to a lack of agility. Crowd control serves you best, but it's not always easy - especially on open maps.

7 days: sheathing the sword

Yeah, I'm bored now.

League of Heroes
isn't a badly made game once you get into it - just a dull one. The combat is still about enticing enemies into paths where they're easily despatched without causing you harm, and there's still no way of getting out of bad situations effectively.

Even the boss fights (with huge enemies) are a case of charging in for an attack, retreating, and then repeating.

Enemies seem to increase in level as you do, too, meaning that the upgrades you purchase only serve to level the playing field rather than make you feel empowered. The upgrades are still affordable, and I've yet to spend anything on my travels, but they seem almost pointless in the grand structure of its mechanics.

In addition, the energy system is really slowing me down. I want to make more progress, and the action-heavy gameplay tricks you into thinking that the entirety of the product will be fast-moving, but having to wait to play another level feels at odds with its other systems.

Falling into the grind of a traditional action RPG, combined with the turtle's pace of weaker freemium efforts, League of Heroes is mindless hack-and-slash fare, and it's unlikely you'll keep coming back.

Well that's our opinion, what about yours? How are you getting on with the game? Any hints and tips to share? Let us know in the comments box below.
League of Heroes
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 7 November 2012
Simply put. League of Heroes is a very basic action-RPG with a few presentation issues, plus a whole lot of waiting around
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