And the result isn’t very pretty.
Ready Set Heroes, a game described as a ‘dungeon crawler’ with gameplay like Diablo, battling through monsters and levels, picking up loot, and customising your cute furry characters along the way. For the most part, I was intrigued by the game and its concept. Cute animals, killing stuff. What’s not to like? Only when I got in the game did I realise that there really isn’t much.
Minimalism At Its Peak
Starting the game, I was quite puzzled and surprised by the very minimalist game style. What I mean by that is, as soon as you load up the game, there’s only two things on the menu to choose. Play or options. Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But I went into this game review blind so I really didn’t know what to expect besides some form of dungeon crawler.
Click on Play, and it’ll redirect you to a screen with four various modes to choose from: Crawl N’ Brawl, Tower Crawl, Survival and Public Game List. At the very least, I expected some form of tutorial to let me know what’s going on. Clueless, I stumped into Tower Crawl, and into a local game so I could check out the game alone, and see what’s up.
The game then prompted me to choose my hero, of which there were 10. Each very stylised, humanoid animal hybrids. I of course, chose the coolest of the bunch ‘Willow’ and began my journey into Ready Set Heroes.
Like I mentioned earlier, I really jumped into the game blind.
I dropped into the stylised world with a top down perspective and various enemy types. I fought skeletons, to slimes, to a cat boss called, Nekomancer (a play on Neko, which means cat in Japanese). Here’s where I felt the first problem with the game. Mainly because, I didn’t know what to do. There was no instruction as to how to beat this ‘Nekomancer’.
Being my first time playing, I was confused, but eventually caught on by my second run. This does highlight a very important note about the game: it won’t tell you what to do. This lack of a basic tutorial or guidance, usually doesn’t bother me, but this time around, in a game that already didn’t tell you much from the start, it was too disorienting to figure it out.
Simple, Repetitive Gameplay
The one redeeming quality I will say about Ready Set Heroes is the art style. I very much enjoyed the cutesy, cartoony art style of the playable hero characters, as well as the enemies in game. Design though, is but one aspect of a game. Let’s get into what Ready Set Heroes is really about.
Your stats are boosted by gems that fall when you kill an enemy. There are five stats to boost up: health, defense, attack, speed, and magic. Ready Set Heroes has various weapons you can use, such as swords, daggers, a magic staff, and an axe. In terms of your attacks, there are two forms of attack, X is your primary, and square is a ‘special’ attack that differs from weapon to weapon.
There’s also various abilities in the game which allows for magic skills, or other various skills, like a Shovel which digs into the ground, and brings out gems. It’s kind of a cheatsy way of buffing yourself up, but what the hell?
Combat follows the same formula and is quite simplistic. Thought, I did notice that every time you attack, there’s a split second delay which almost always results in you get hurt by some sort of obstacle or trap, or an enemy. Trying to dodge right after an attack is hard, mainly because the game doesn’t let you do it fast enough. Not to mention this delay essentially affecting other parts of the game.
There’s this one mechanic you’ll come across, which is these flaming skulls you get from certain skeletons.
Weird & Boring Mechanics
Essentially, you have to knock their heads off, pick it up, and throw it to a pile of wood to progress. It’s a pretty lackluster mechanic that I just found to be a pain, mainly because of the delay there is to throw the skull, and to direct it towards the pile of wood. By the time you manage to line it up, something will hit you, and you’ll drop it. It’s mechanics like these that make Ready Set Heroes a lesser experience, in my opinion.
It’s essentially spam your primary, mix in your secondary, use some abilities, pick up gems, and repeat. That’s pretty much it.
The loot drops also kind of irk me. In one of my playthroughs, I ended up getting 5 armor pieces in a row for my treasure drops after every level in Tower Crawl. Which, as you can imagine, sucks because my first level, I was already equipped with an Epic Purple armor.
A Party Game, Not Fit For Parties
But the main appeal of the game, playing with other people is sorely lacking when you get into matchmaking. Oftentimes I sat there, 10 minutes into looking for a game and still can’t find anything. There’s just too little people playing this game for me to even find a match to join. But alas, that’s the takeaway with a small game like Ready Set Heroes, a very small (if existent) player base. If you didn’t have people physically around you to play locally, you’re just going to be playing this game alone most of the time.
Even if you had friends over, personally, I feel there’s a plethora of other well designed re-playable party games out there. I couldn’t imagine telling my friends “hey, let’s play a few rounds of Ready Set Heroes.”. And that’s really the problem with it.
So for me, Ready Set Heroes was a very lite Rogue-like game that I could pick up, play till I lost in the Tower Crawl, and switch off. It was a simple, yet addicting pattern. But after playing for more than 10 hours, I slowly saw repeating patterns, basically all the loot I actually enjoyed, and repetitive enemies and boss battles. It surely isn’t a game that would last you very long.
For me, at least.
I would say Ready Set Heroes is the perfect introduction for kids and young teens to get into the dungeon crawler genre. It’s accessible, easy to play, but sorely lacking any form of depth. But as a pick up and play for a an hour or two, the game will get you going. For a short while anyway.