Hero-U is a fantasy action RPG set in a University for potential Heroes. The potential hero you play as is Shawn O’Conner, a street-wise kid trying his best to get into the thieves guild. He can have any personality you want to project on him with the choices ranging from charming, polite, snarky and so on but no matter what this guy is going to be pun-tastic. No matter what you click on to look at the writers have some sort of quip for it and I am genuinely surprised at how many puns they have come up with…they range from classic “dad” jokes to some quite clever musings.
So anyway the story, you play as Shawn as I said and you where brought to Hero-U by a mysterious stranger…he basically Dumbledores you into going there (think half blood prince). You end up in a class called the Disbarred Bards but secretly known as Rogues class where you learn how to be a rogue and why they are different from thieves…even though you learn thief traits (fantasy thieves not real thieves) like lock picking, sneaking and even knife throwing. This is where you meet your class mate and the majority of the people you will interact with for the rest of the game. You get to know them, flirt with them, anger them and help them with their own personal quests. It’s in these quests and relationships where your story can branch out over the 50 day period. Of course you can miss things, I for instance sold a bottle of oil early in the game only to be able to not find another and missed out on loot I desperately wanted to grab before meeting another character, or you can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time or fail an exam and miss out on fancy abilities like magic using or discounts/pay rises with certain characters. However, that’s the beauty of this game, its re-playability. Certain aspects of the game do not change on a replay (locations of certain loot, what appears in the shops and when etc.) but that means you can quickly grab or do that thing and focus on other aspects of the game.
The locations in the game at the beginning are fairly limited to that Castle walls and admittedly I was beginning to feel quite bored but just as that started I discovered secret passage ways, entirely new locations and enemies, new jobs to do and other characters became more interesting as my charm increased. The artwork for this game is nice to look at and I’m not one for tarnishing the effort put in to this though it does look dated by todays standards. I initially thought this might have been a PS2 game (Baldur’s Gate style) but I found it was a game released in 2018 by a small team that successfully crowd funded the title… If you’ve seen any of my video reviews or The Bear’s Den you will know I love retro gaming so a dated look is no problem for me. The hand painted Cells that are there for the cut scenes are the kind of artwork you expect to see in a fantasy board game manual and they are great, if a little creepy at times.
OK so how does this game play? Well you have a cursor that you move with the left thumb stick and you hit “A” to move Shawn to said location or examine the item, pick you dialogue choice and battle a Gog (like a merman morlock sort of creature)… you name it “A” is the button to use. You have a menu screen which lets you know your stats, equip/use items and look up quests and journal entries for tips on what to do next. All of this can be accessed with either the Joy-Con controllers (or pro) or the touch screen of the switch itself. You do not need a controller to play this game at all, everything is accessible with just one finger and simple to use though if you have large hands like myself you may find yourself hitting the wrong thing every now and then, especially in dialogue choices, but this does mean if you’re playing out and about and your joy-cons run out of battery (sorry switch lite users) you can just touch the screen and continue to play…I love this feature I am all for using the switch in different ways I just wish more games would play with the touch screen and TATE modes.
Your stats are built up through repetition like practising throwing knives, picking locks or listening through doors, doing this seems like nothing is working at first but as you play and continue to do these things you actually see the progression Shawn has made through animations on screen and even those still image cut scenes. This element gave me a very real sense of accomplishment and actually encouraged me to play as I became a cockier player heading into more dangerous territories.
The music in the game is fantastic for world building, for instance if Mr Terk is about (he’s an absolute tool) you will hear his theme which is good if you want to avoid him after school hours when you’re sneaking about to avoid getting demerits and being expelled from Hero-U. I can’t get particular tunes out of my head I swear.
Overall this is a game I would never have picked up on first looks and reading about it, it look like it might bore me with the gameplay it describes and the kind of story it describes too but playing it made me come around releasing its exactly the kind of RPG I love, simple and fun, everything just gels together in its presentation and controls and even though I didn’t like Shawn at first the little sod grew on me and I just wanted him to become the hero he has the potential to be.
Would I recommend you play this game? 100% yes this game grew on me and I will play it multiple times in multiple different ways and that truly surprised me.
Anyway guys Thank you for reading my ramblings I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to be nice to each other yeah!