Gaming Review: Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption

Review: Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption

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Transolar Games brings back the once-forgotten genre that many gamers never explored. Drawing motifs from Harry Potter, King’s Quest, and Stardew Valley, this point-and-click adventure doesn’t simply knock on the door of relevance, but kicks it wide open. Enroll in Hero University and learn the rules and skills of a rogue, while uncovering secrets within the very walls of the campus. Dialogue choices and time management matter here, for you will be rewarded or penalized for your progress, or lack of. Hero-U is very intricate and engaging experience. Playing on console isn’t a terrible alternative to the PC intended release.

Back To School

Enter Shawn O’Connor. A city slicker who gets in with the wrong crowd with ambitions to rule the streets. After a break-in attempt, he is discovered by a mysterious man that brings him to Hero University, rather than turn him in. Without much of a choice, he obliges and becomes the new kid in class. Fitting in is hard for Shawn. Not only is he mocked for his lack of family accolades and reputation, he also has a lot of caching up to do, due to late enrollment. It’s time to make friends, or try to, and become a Hero! This takes you to the main gameplay of Hero-U.

The painted characters are gorgeous and expressive.

Build Your Routine

Each day begins with your daily class session. You will then have the remaining hours to hone your thievery skills, study theory, or work small jobs. Most things and people you interact with can result in a stat point increase or decrease. This gives the game a huge amount of variety within the day-to-day tasks that may feel monotonous to some. Do you want to become a jack of all trades, or find your niche and master it? As you begin to build a rhythm, some key events will introduce themselves to mix up your routine and advance the plot. The story progression is a little on the slow side, but nothing ever feels too dragged out. Hero-U is much like Stardew Valley in this regard, but smaller in scale and with faster time progression.

Use the cursor to move Shawn, and interact with objects and other people.

Combat

Hero-U’s combat introduces a turn-based function. It gives you time to plan your actions and doesn’t require you to change you playing tempo. This is a nice deviation from the main mechanics of the game. I found myself quite enjoying killing rats in the basement and and cashing them in. Maybe it was due to the fact that there was less “point-and-click” during battles. I will say that while playing the console port, I really felt the absence of the mouse and how it lends itself so well to this particular genre. The enemies can get tough so try not to wake up in the infirmary past your bedtime.

The combat is easy to understand and is a nice break from the text heavy day-to-day.

Dimly Lit Hallways and Witty Banter

Creeping around the dark corridors to the polyphonic tune of a music box really gave me Hogwarts vibes. The world felt pretty realized here, albeit lonely. The Rogue class you are a part of resides in the lower levels of the castle. Seeing students in other programs (Paladin, Wizard, etc.) doesn’t really happen. I understand that programming more characters means more interactive actions to attach, but couldn’t help but feel that the environment felt empty. The music does motivate you to be nosy and explore, though. Maybe more characters walking around would yield distractions. There is a lot for you to do already.

There are plenty of dialogue choices, so you can Shape Shawn to be just like you.

The painted characters that replace cinematics are so well-done. I’ll admit the expressions look awkward and a little silly at first, but I found that the intricate brushstrokes really gave Hero-U its own artistic timbre. The exaggerated faces really add value to the plethora of jokes, quips, and references this title has to offer. It’s easy to recognize the game’s inspiration from the sarcastic tone of the vintage King’s Quest series. The jokes may not always land as smoothly with Hero-U, but I appreciate the attempts along with the nostalgic reflections.

Bottom Line

Hero-U is hopefully the first installment of a new franchise, granted the developers can continue their amazing work. This is one of the better genre revivals within the past couple of years and is well-suited for anyone in search of a curious and witty endeavor. Try to play this point-and-click adventure on PC.

SUMMARY

+ wonderful resurrection of the point-and-click adventure genre
+ painted character portraits and well-orchestrated music
+ a lot to do each day to keep you occupied
+ many secrets and side quests that will reward your curiosity
- game can feel a little empty at times
- using a control stick instead of a mouse is a bit cumbersome
(Reviewed on Nintendo Switch, also available on PC, Mac, Linux)
Wil Raterman
@ brgrboii: NYC dwelling rush-down zoner fighter. Lover of any and all things retro. Modern games with a pixelated paint job are also welcome here. Always equips grenades as part of the loadout. Currently playing Switch and Steam games.

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