App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Disney has a strange history when it comes to video games, and Disney Heroes: Battle Mode is just another bizarre entry in their catalog. It's essentially an extremely by-the-numbers idle RPG (think Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes) where you collect characters from Disney and Pixar films to have them fight shadow versions of themselves. For the most part, it's competently put together, but Disney Heroes: Battle Mode also feels completely devoid of the character and creativity that makes their films so beloved.
Slay the shadows
Much like any other idle RPG, Disney Heroes is about collecting characters and building a party to beat up baddies. In this case, both your party and the enemies you fight are characters from Disney films like Buzz Lightyear, Sully, and Wreck-It Ralph.
The reason you're fighting the same characters that you're collecting is because there's some strange shadow energy that's possessing these characters, and your party needs to fight them before they can eventually earn the items needed to unlock them and add them to the party, or something like that. The plot in Disney Heroes isn't entirely clear, nor is it particularly compelling. It just seems like the writing exists to provide thin excuses for why all of these Disney characters are commingling and fighting one another.
Sit and watch
On a mechanical level, there's not much to Disney Heroes. True to its “idle” nature, playing the game mostly involves choosing party compositions, equipping gear, and initiating missions before sitting back and watching your heroes take care of the rest.
There are some ways you can interact in battles, but none of these really feel like you're tilting the outcome of a mission. Instead, your power rating (which is determined by your character levels, gear quality, and number of party members) largely determines your success on any given task. This ends up making your role as the player to make sure you're spending currency in the right ways to send heroes into missions with enough power to beat their foes. Everything else is pretty much pre-determined.
Devoid of Disney
It may come as no surprise to you that Disney Heroes is a free-to-play game, and a lot of the game's mechanics are designed around enticing you to pay to get more characters or upgrade existing ones. This has become par for the course for many games on the App Store, and especially so for games that take advantage of existing popular franchises that get plopped into idle RPGs.
This kind of monetization is generally bad, and it amazes me that games like this somehow continue do well on the App Store, but there's also a more important problem with Disney Heroes. It doesn't feel like a Disney game at all. Sure, it may have characters from Disney properties you recognize, but all they really do is fight each other in repetitive animation cycles. It doesn't capture the spirit of any Disney movies at all, and it barely feels like a game.
The bottom line
Disney Heroes: Battle Mode feels completely soulless. It's an idle RPG where the mechanics hinge on you caring about collecting Disney characters in an effort to get you to spend money. If there was anything in Disney Heroesthat reminded you why you like any of these characters, this scheme might've worked. As it stands though,Disney Heroes doesn't really feel satisfying in any way.