Heroes are usually depicted to be solitary champions who can more than fend for themselves. This approach makes them more gallant, in a sense, because they can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and deliver justice (usually in the form of a knuckle sandwich) in the face of wrongdoers. However, heroes nowadays have been doing away with the lone wolf mentality and instead have been joining forces with other caped (and non-caped) crusaders. Usually, they team up because of a force that’s too strong for them to combat alone. Team work and unity have been the paramount battle cries as of late; working as a unit will spell victory or defeat!
Here lies Hello Hero, a free-to-play MMO game that enables players to amass literally hundreds of heroes in order to save countless worlds from the Keronic Army. The game was created by Fincon Co. Ltd., an independent gaming developer based in Korea. It is available on iOS and Android. Last October 2013, it was launched internationally and is slowly garnering quite a name for itself in the realm of browser games as one of those titles worth playing.
Color Me Surprised!
From the onset, Hello Hero’s graphics are top-notch. For a browser game it looks very sharp – it has a very zany, cartoony atmosphere that is surprisingly detailed and crisp. The interface is neatly presented and easily navigated by the player. One can really see the production value in this game, with its 3D layout, stunning visuals, and battle sequences (which I’ll get to in a minute).
The story of Hello Hero is simple enough. It takes place in the of distant world or Armon. Players are tasked to thwart the demonic Keronic Army from harvesting Hardnium, the core energy of Armon. This is accomplished by scouring neighboring worlds for heroes who would aid in dispatching the said Keronic menace. It is very straightforward and easy to digest, as with most browser games. The developers of the game really put some thought into the stages – each stage contains ten maps, with one special boss map that is unlockable once players have defeated the final boss.
The enemies for each stage vary, and often take the theme of the said stage; Orc-looking grunts, Cactus-people and Kobolds are battled in the Desert stages. Cupcake warriors (yes, you read that right), gingerbreadfolk and macaroons take refuge in the Sweet Cookie Farm. The diverse number of enemies one will take on in this game is refreshing, considering that it is a browser game, and a good-looking one at that.
Heroes, Heroes Everywhere
Perhaps the biggest reason gamers would play Hello Hero is the fact that there are hundreds of heroes waiting to be recruited and unlocked in the game. It taps in the players’ urges to collect all of the eponymous characters, being that there is so many of them to discover and use. They can be unlocked after going through a map, dungeon, or up and buying them in the store. The character designs range from cartoony and cute, to sleek and badass; it feels like Pokémon, where one just wants to see all the available heroes and how they fare in battle.Each hero is categorized by grades – Normal, Rare, Master, Epic, Unique and Legend. The higher the rank, the more powerful the character is.
Heroes are classified based on what they do in the battlefield. Dealers provide firepower for the team, at the cost of having low defense; Tankers can soak up gratuitous amounts of damage, but lacks a strong attack; Healers, by their namesake, heal and buff the team; and finally, there’s the Hybrid class that can molded into a combination of the other previous classes mentioned. Each hero possesses different skills that can be synergized with the right party composition in going through the maps, dungeons and PvPs. Heroes can be leveled up with each completed instance.
Apart from leveling up your heroes, before you can go on the arena for some PvP, you need to reach a certain level first. This is due to the fact that your leveling up (as the player) is different from the leveling up of your heroes. In order to progress your player level, you have to complete the maps and dungeon runs. Once you’ve reached the required level, only then can you duke it out with other players.
Hit Him! No, Not Him, Him!
Hello Hero is a game that is easy on the eyes, aesthetically. Its gameplay, however, leaves a lot to be desired. This is in part due to a random targeting system when one starts a battle sequence. Each hero the player has in his party would automatically use their auto attack against opposing monsters willy-nilly; the player can only activate their special moves, but they cannot aim the said move to their preferred target. This not only goes for skills used to damage enemies, but for spells that aid your heroes as well, such as healing spells.
The randomness of the targeting system take away so much of the strategy one uses in skirmishes and dungeon runs (especially dungeon runs). Players would often just click their heroes’ skills and cross their fingers that they hit their intended monster or heal the hero they want to be healed in their party. Granting players the ability to target the monsters they would like to hit with their spells would have greatly improved the battle mechanics of Hello Hero as it further lets players invest themselves with their characters.
Speaking of abilities, the skills of your heroes can only be used one at a time, as each has a cool down. This proves to be frustrating at times, especially when one is in a crucial juncture in the battle. To put into context, think of a three-on-three battle in Pokemon where you can only choose one skill of your team to use against the opposing team. While some might argue that this system gives room for strategy, it leaves much to be desired as it renders battles restrictive.
Choose Your Heroes Wisely
One thing worth noting about the instances, unlike the traditional MMOs that allows players to explore dungeons and other maps using their characters, Hello Hero incorporates a quite literal take on the term “dungeon run”. Players have to assemble a party of five to six heroes who will run through the selected map and engage the enemy monsters and bosses in order to finish the instance. It makes the game linear; all the players need to do is make sure the party of heroes they have recruited can take the baddies the map will offer (as one can see what he will be up against when selecting instances).
For casual gamers, this literal dungeon run might be easier for them to play this game, and it really does simplify the game quite a bit, but players coming from other MMOs that allow for literal dungeon exploration will scoff at the fact that they cannot roam the dungeons, battle epic monsters and grab epic loot. And speaking of loot…
No Hand Me Downs Here
Another gripe with this game is the item selection. Item drops seem to be too far in between instances, and it feels like it is up to chance when players get them. Grinding in this game feels unrewarding other than the fact that you’re leveling up your heroes.
There’s also the issue of equipping your heroes with the loot you got. Once equipped, you cannot unequip your heroes’ armor and weapons when a more powerful one comes along. If you choose to replace said armor or weapon for a better one, your previous equipped battlements will be deleted (yes, you read right – DELETED!). This really gives importance for items in a bad way, as you have to be absolutely sure that you are willing to give your hero this sword or shield and leave your other heroes for better items down the road. Being able to unequip would have been a great feature in this game, seeing that players can collect a plethora of heroes; it makes sense that as your early heroes level up and get more powerful items, they can hand down their previous armaments to lesser leveled recruits. But that’s a pipedream in this game – you really have to commit to your first party in order to succeed.
Hello Hero can also be played in hand-held mobile devices that support Android and iOS. Casual gamers who want to experience a quick dungeon-crawl can opt to buy this game; it’s free to download and is available in the Apple App Store and in Google Play. Much like any other Free-to-Play game, Hello Hero has an In-App Purchase feature that allows players to procure in-game currencies that allow you to buy new heroes, items and boosts. For those who want to avail of the items, the price range varies for different currencies – for instance, gems costs $2.99 for 30 Gems (that is equivalent to purchasing one Hero); 110 gems go for $9.99; 1500 gems sell for $99.99 and so on.
But a novel thing Fincon did with its Freemium items is that players aren’t forced to buy stuff they don’t want without jeopardizing the game experience. Players can choose to check the “disable in-app purchases” in the options menu and still get gems and other in-game currencies, as the game is generous in giving those in the first place.
While there are some glaring aspects of this game that are in dire need of fixing, Hello Hero is still a game that is worth playing. Simple controls, easy to navigate interface, memorable characters, and a surprisingly grade-A design and graphics for a browser game make for quite a good game. Judging that Hello Hero is still in its early stages, one can hope that they fix the gameplay aspects and deliver an otherwise promising MMO.