Version Reviewed: 1.6.3
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
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Anyone who has ever played the charming little pocketized RPG Battleheart will instantly recognize the inspiration that game was to Heroes vs Monsters. In all honesty, it's a bit harsh to call this game a complete clone of the former title, but it is so incredibly close to the original -- even down to many of the design details -- that it merits mentioning. However, Heroes vs Monsters does do a few things differently enough that it can be seen as more than just a free to play, ad supported version of another game. That said, what makes Battleheart fun also makes Heroes vs Monsters fun and being free makes it much easier to forgive the game's major drawbacks.
In Heroes vs. Monsters, the player controls a team of up to four heroes in a quest to rid the land of evil monsters by eliminating boss monsters far and wide. To do this, the player navigates their party around an overworld map to certain locations where they battle enemies. There are also random encounters with enemy parties that the player can choose to skip if they want. Defeating enemy parties and bosses awards the player with experience points, gold, and loot. Experience points allow the player to unlock new abilities and strengthen their party member. Gold allows them to hire new party members and purchase new weapons and armaments. Loot can be used to bolster party stats or traded for more gold. Large amounts of gold can also be purchased via in-app purchases, which leads to the game's biggest issue.
As fun as this game is, it unfortunately falls into the same trap in which many free to play games find themselves. Players can play the game for free and never spend a cent on in-app gold purchases, but the amount of time they will have to play the game in order to attain costly items is so long that it's quite clear the developers want to push players towards a purchase rather than have them gain these items through playing the game. This isn't a criticism of the game, just a warning; this game's difficulty spikes significantly at points in order to push players towards a purchase. Still, this is a free game so obviously players will have to make some concessions.
Heroes vs Monsters is lots of fun. Even if it is very similar to another title, the overworld map as well as some other gameplay changes -- such as defeating characters before being able to hire them -- make it different enough to excuse. Players will have a good time and if they want to spend a little cash to get some good loot early on, they have that choice. Otherwise they can just grind happily along.