Bit Heroes is a Bit Hollow

May 17, 2017
Role Play

It’s incredible to think just how far mobile phones have come: from the original Motorola that was more brick than communication device to the modern day smartphones – telephone, music player, camera, and games console all in one. The latter feature is one which has seen one of the more dramatic changes, with Nokia’s Snake looking older than its two decades compared with today’s apps. Yet as far as they’ve come since the inception of smartphones, games like Bit Heroes show the huge technical barrier that developers still face in comparison with other systems.

Bit Heroes is a role-playing game in which, just like any other like it, you take control of a central character, design their looks and features, and build up their skill levels and armory. The primary way of doing so is by following a quest whereby you need to rid different dungeons of the beasts that inhabit them. Initially you’ll be pitted alone against teams of three or four creatures, but as you progress you have the option to lure some enemies on to your team, giving you more firepower. On top of more team members, after each battle there’s a chance that the enemies will drop loot, or if not you can find some in chests elsewhere in the dungeon. This can be a new shield, sword, or piece of clothing to bolster your character’s attack, defence, and speed, or simply in-game currency which you can use to purchase items directly. Once you’re better equipped to do so, defeating the final, more difficult boss in the dungeon results in your path being extended, allowing you to reach the next area.

When you’re not battling in dungeons you’ll find yourself in a social hub with everyone else from around the globe who’s online too. From here you have the option to purchase goods with in-game currency, check your progress, and craft new items. Within the hub you can also battle with or against other players in Guild and PVP modes respectively; the former allows you to create or join a team so that you can take on missions together, whereas PVP is a form of gambling with your in-game currency as you bet on your victory against others. If you haven’t enough funds to upgrade your character and their armoury, or tickets which are required to enter the PVP arena, you can purchase blue gems – the central currency with which everything else can be bought – with actual money.

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bitheroes2It sounds as if Bit Heroes is a huge, sprawling, open-world adventure – and it’s admirable that this is what the developer was aiming for – but it’s anything but. The campaign itself is linear, and you’re only required to tap on whichever dungeon you want to go to in order to get there, without any adventuring and discovering. The dungeons themselves are small and have essentially exactly the same layout as one another, aside from slightly different environments and enemies. At any one time there are never more than 100 people online, meaning the sociable capabilities are wasted (a far cry from the ‘massively’ in the MMORPG genre that it tries to fit into). No one would expect to see a fully-running HD port of Skyrim on a phone any time soon, but that’s because the technology isn’t there yet. It begs the question, is it better to have a poor example of an RPG showing how limited an app’s capabilities are, or nothing at all?

Even for those who aren’t expecting much from an RPG, Bit Heroes can be either a frustrating difficult or easy experience.

Even for those who aren’t expecting much from an RPG, Bit Heroes can be either a frustrating difficult or easy experience. Your character moves by touching the screen on the spot at which you want them to stand, which feels alien at first and doesn’t become any easier. If you don’t get used to this mechanic, you can put the game on Auto so that it moves and battles with characters for you. This seems a strange addition, and it effectively allows you to complete whole dungeons without pressing a button. What it does highlight again, however, is that attempting to fit a genre renowned for its size, scale, and sense of discovery into a six inch screen will more than likely lead to disappointment.

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Chris Carr

A gamer ever since he owned Sonic on the Megadrive, Chris thinks that the only thing better than reading and writing about games is playing them

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