App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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On the surface, Heroes Call might seem like an attempt to bring a high-quality and easy-to-use dungeon crawler to iOS devices. Which, okay, it is. But it’s also something more than that. It’s also an attempt to redefine an App Store convention. And the crazy thing is it works really well.
The game proper is set up much like the familiar dungeon crawlers of old. Players choose a class, currently either warrior or wizard with more to come, then go about killing things. Gather of key items might play into it depending on the job, but overall it’s “kill, loot, kill, loot, etc.” And I doubt any fans of the genre would really have it any other way. Movement is handled via on-screen taps to shuffle the chosen character off to a specific spot or by holding down on the screen to have them run continuously in that direction. Enemies are attacked by tapping on them, with well-timed taps performing combos and double-taps unleashing special moves. It’s a simple system that works well, which is actually pretty impressive because not all tap controls are all that decent.
Were I tasked with describing Heroes Call in one word, it would have to be “clever.” Everything about this game is just that. The script is humorous and sarcastic in all the right ways and the interface is simple enough to learn in seconds but never gets in the way. And while being a free-to-play game means that some concessions have been made, I found them to be totally unobtrusive. Sure I have to wait ten minutes to ID that set of robes, but I could also use a scroll to finish the job instantly or even repeat a previously completed quest for more gold and loot while I wait. It’s the kind of Freemium that makes one question whether or not it actually is Freemium, and that’s the best kind there is.
Of course, that’s not to say that everyone will be so impressed with having to wait in actual minutes to progress in their game. I still think it’s been handled beautifully, but it will no doubt turn off some players. A more legitimate issue I’ve come across is the lack of any kind of middle ground with the camera zoom. It’s either too close (great for detail, not so great for navigation) or too far away (great for navigation, easy to miss chests, loot, etc because it’s all so tiny).
Forget saying it’s “good for a Freemium game,” Heroes Call is just plain good. Better than good in some ways. Some might take issue with the timed gating and real-world cash for quick boosts, but it’s not an unreasonable approach all things considered. Heck, it might even bee a good thing. It’ll keep people from sinking too much time into it all at once.