Video games really are magical. In a mundane world, they’re a wonderful form of escapism where anyone and everyone can be a hero. This is particularly true in the legendary resort known as Heroland, where folks from all walks of life are encouraged to visit and live out their best hero life. Except, you’re not there to become a hero; you’re there to work. Sorry. On the plus side, the pension scheme is supposedly quite competitive.
In Heroland, you take on the role of a tour guide, tasked with escorting fledgeling heroes through the land’s many dungeons. As their guide, you’ll be responsible for forming offensive and defensive strategies, assigning the correct equipment to your party, and making sure said party is comprised of the most capable members. This is mostly done through rudimentary menus, although most of the decisions you’ll need to make are already made for you, which largely removes the desire to experiment.
The actual dungeons themselves are set out in bite-size chunks, alternating between ‘events’ (which comprise of our heroes conversing with one another) and battles, all leading up to a boss fight and the discovery of hidden treasure. The battles are interesting, if a little mediocre. As the heroes‘ guide, you won’t ever actually actively participate in the fights. Instead, your party will automatically engage with the enemy, and it’s up to you to provide intermittent assistance in the form of items, attack commands, and more. It’s a fun little twist on the turn-based formula, but the novelty wears off pretty quickly.
Heroland is very much style over substance. The graphics, while initially a bit off-putting, are actually quite charming in their own way, with the characters and environments bursting with personality. But the writing and dialogue are the true stars of the show. Make no mistake, this is a very funny game, and you’ll soon be agonising over which of the delightful main characters is your favourite. Unfortunately, it’s not quite enough to hold up the entire game – some folks will automatically gravitate to what is admittedly a unique approach to the RPG genre, but a lot more will likely desire something a bit more hands-on.