I saw a trailer for Unruly Heroes and immediately knew it would be something I would love to review. It’s beautiful art style, it’s fun platforming, its wacky characters and local multiplayer are all things I like in games. The hand-drawn art reminds me of the recent Rayman games and I enjoyed those games a lot. It should be a sure-fire hit, right?
This is a story that has been told many times in modern media, it’s based loosely on the Chinese book ‘Journey to the West’. It tells the tale of four adventurers that travel the globe gathering sacred texts and return light to the world. It’s your job as a team of four, Sanzang the wise, Wukong the brave monkey, Kihong the bulbous pig and Sandmonk the brute to dispel the chaos and reunite the sacred text scattered throughout the land.
Gameplay-wise the game is mostly part platformer and part brawler, you navigate the various levels looking for collectables and the ever-valuable sacred scrolls. The various levels are littered with coins to collect varying from the easy to find to the hidden and behind puzzle variety. These coins are used to buy various skins for you four uncanny characters, collecting them is fun and makes you think outside the box sometimes to get the more hidden ones. The scrolls are similar, but a lot less in number and normally only one per level. These scrolls unlock artwork to view and these are as equally stunning as the rest of this gorgeous title.
Your four heroes are very different and can be changed on the fly by pressing a shoulder button. You can also play multiplayer and take a hero each, this does up the chaos level a notch but can be very fun with friends and family alike. Each character has different abilities and styles when controlling them, for example, two characters double jump while the other two float. This creates certain tactical teamwork scenarios during the levels, also some of the puzzles and the progression require teamwork and I really like that. You have to use certain characters to complete certain parts of the stages meaning you cannot get used to one character too much and have to swap them regularly.
When one of your characters die you are left to select another team-mate and carry on, so technically they act as lives and it makes your choices more poignant. Your heroes are not lost forever though, after a short time a bubble appears with their symbol on and if you can attack the bubble in time you will be rewarded with that character back in your roster. The system is not too punishing and works well to keep you from being frustrated but also making you think about what you are doing.
The battle system is not overly complicated but does have a certain amount of depth to it. You have a light attack, a heavy attack and a special attack which builds up by attacking enemies. You can vary certain attacks by pressing directions on the analog stick, you can attack in mid-air or break platforms for example or change the style of your heavy attack. You also have a ranged attack which can chip away at enemies health and can help out in a group of enemies massively. The battle system is fun, accessible and has just the right amount of difficulty and depth to keep you occupied throughout.
Most of the gameplay is standard fare for a platformer of this type. You have puzzle elements scattered between small battle sections and platforming sections, you have to navigate over various chasms and use your various abilities to progress. Whether it’s wall jumping, platform moving or switch pushing any platforming veteran will be right at home here. Later on, you do get some advanced techniques but that’s standard for platformers and it’s all natural progression and keeps things fresh throughout your journey. If you are new to the genre the game does a perfectly good job at teaching new players how to progress through its well-designed levels. Giving players easy to understand tutorials and introducing new techniques slowly made even my kids experts in minutes. Making your life easier are checkpoint totems which when activated, act as a restart point if you kill all your heroes or fail to make a large jump too many times.
Some of the puzzle sections are great, I had a lot of fun experimenting between the various characters in the game and their even more wacky abilities. Each hero has a statue that they can access which will enable them to help in various puzzles through the game. This ranges from creating new platforms to the Kihong the Pig expanding himself and floating through spiky sections of the levels. These sections were great and really made each character stand out and feel unique. Some games have multiple characters that seem unnecessary but that’s not the case here, each character is vital and useful in their own unique way.
Unruly Heroes is beautiful, from its amazing characters to its beautiful fantasy landscapes. It oozes style and its hand-drawn artwork is absolutely stunning. Everything is so vibrant, bright and detailed, it’s a pleasure to look at and never gets dull. The enemies are varied and well designed, everything is just so pretty. The animation is also top notch and it all just looks like a well-drawn cartoon. Visually it’s a feast on the eyes and it’s beautifully crafted.
Sound-wise the title is good, everything sounds pleasant and the music fits the style of the game. It amplifies the tense moments of the game and accentuates the themes of the various levels nicely. The soundtrack does its job and is very enjoyable. One thing I loved about the sound was the loading screens. While you are waiting for levels to load you are treated to a band made up of strange characters, they make music in response to your button presses. It’s brilliant.
The game performed beautifully and I had zero issues. No crashes, bugs, tearing or framerate issues to report. Both in handheld mode and docked. It’s nice to see such a nicely designed game run so well and is a testament to the developers.
I loved the design and art style of Unruly Heroes, I feel it’s looks and visuals are it’s greatest assets. It’s beautiful to look at and every level is a feast for the eyes. Its battle system is deep enough to keep you playing but easy enough where I could play with my family together with no issues. Its puzzles are nice and give you a slight distraction now and again from the platforming and fighting, some of them do require a bit of thought and I liked that. The multiplayer is a nice touch whether you like to work cooperatively or battle against each other. The whole game is a nice package that has a nice amount of content to be enjoyed with friends. The only thing that bothered me slightly was that nothing seemed new, the title is a nice mesh of game styles but there was nothing I had not seen before. This is not that important though, the game does everything else very well and is a very nice blend of game styles that are fun to play. Any fans of platformers, co-op and beautiful artwork will find their money well spent here.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*