Fancy playing a small, light-hearted, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game without risking succumbing to the potential addiction that League of Legends or Defense of the Ancients brings? Then HEROish may be for you.
Released in December 2022 by Sunblink, HEROish incorporates the popular MOBA genre into a deck-building game, sprinkling in some fantasy elements and a dash of irreverent humour to taste.
HEROish is a simple game to play with enough challenge, usually only caused by endless waves of enemies, to keep things interesting. As the game starts, you are placed in the shoes of Flynn, a cross between Thor and Johnny Bravo. An invasion of evil-doers known as The Cursed soon sets the plot in motion as they make off with a scared relic (a guitar), resurrecting a long-vanquished demon known as Marduke. From there, hijinks, battles, and card-collecting ensue.
HEROish has 3 individual campaigns to explore, although the last two are unlocked by completing the story before. Each campaign can be completed with two distinct characters, each has unique play styles, powers, and minions to summon. Completing missions rewards experience and gold, powering up your protagonist and giving you the means to upgrade your cards. All in all, this pads things out enough that completing each campaign will likely take you somewhere between 6 and 9 hours.
The gameplay loop is satisfying, summoning various minions to fight the hoards of enemies trying to destroy your crystal (home base basically) works as a mechanic. Each level only really operates on one track, allowing you to move left or right. Attempts to add a third-dimension work in some cases (storming the battlements of a castle), but fall short in others (running up and down stairs on a farm for some reason).
The variety of cards is decent enough from the little I played although I could see this becoming stale over the course of a 20-hour playthrough (there’s online stuff). Cards are rewarded for levelling up your chosen hero, upon which you can mix these into your deck. Each costs a certain amount of mana to summon which replenishes over time. The trouble I found was the more interesting cards are all high-cost cards, which is a bad way to set up your deck, would I rather summon a gryphon rider or 3 pitchfork-wielding farmers? So the choice between fun and proper strategy starts.
Each of the heroes feels unique enough in terms of their individual play style and all the classic bases are covered. We have Flynn the warrior, Vega the ranger and her wolf Ajax (best boy), Lavina the necromancer, Marduke the barbarian, Spiderbait the rat riding a raccoon (a common trope I’m sure we can all agree), and Bulvi the absolutely massive bear (also overdone, right?).
Graphically, the game is simple yet effective. Character models are cartoony but detailed, the world map actually looks like a map, and the particle effects are flashy. HEROish is never going to blow you away with it’s aesthetic but it doesn’t disappoint either.
Online play keeps games like this afloat, but it seems like this isn’t a particular strength for HEROish. There are a variety of modes to try but it seems as though the player base just isn’t there. Hard to really sink your teeth into a multiplayer mode when there’s no one really playing it. Unfortunately, this means the game is substantially less likely to receive updates, new heroes, new cards, new game modes or even bug fixes. Hopefully this was just something I experienced as I think HEROish is a decent enough game that deserves a bigger following.
So whilst I enjoyed my time with HEROish I can’t really say that I expect it to change anyone’s life, there are other games in the MOBA space that are far more worthy of your time and money. Not to say that HEROish is a waste of money, £8.50 on Steam isn’t much after all, but then I played it for free so what do I know?