Hero Hunters – The Hunt is On!

Mar 25, 2018
Action

If you had told me someone was going to create hybrid of Overwatch and Cover Fire, I would’ve called you mad.

Yet, just a few short months after our interview with Hothead Games, and here it is in all its hero shooting, cover-based glory – Hero Hunters – and it works far better than I could’ve anticipated.

The core concept is that you can summon a squad of up to five unique heroes with special abilities and classes. You swap between your squad on the fly, able to use each with a unique perspective as they dart around the cover of each mission. Enemies are just as colorfully varied, with different bosses and grunts forcing you to adjust your strategy on the fly. All of this is wrapped inside a snappy, if sometimes generic, framework of a G.I. Joe-style team charging headlong against an evil warlord out to turn a city into his own personal playground.

Each battle is tight and popping thanks to smooth animations, popping sound design, and breezy controls. I will recommend that those who traditionally aim with their right thumb make the somewhat counter-intuitive choice to swap to “left handed” mode, as I found it felt more at home with console control schemes, but otherwise, everything works great. While advancing or retreating is out of your control, you can dash from cover to cover, and your AI controlled squadmates all understand to do so as well.

You won’t be micromanaging your squad either, as they all are perfectly capable at filling their roles if a certain playstyle doesn’t fit your wheelhouse, but benefits your team. There’s even a rock-paper-scissors system where different hero variants counter one of the other two varieties. As a result, it pays to keep a diverse team, and boy are there a lot of heroes to unlock and upgrade.

All the heroes feel refreshingly distinct, even in the same class. I unlocked three snipers early on, and between my healing sniper with a single shot, the multi-shot glass cannon sniper, and the acid spewing crossbowman, they each fit different roles. Doesn’t hurt that each has that distinct visual and auditory charm hero games are known for, such as Cross breaking the fourth wall and calling out to the player in thanks for selecting to play as him.

All the heroes feel refreshingly distinct, even in the same class.

Whether you’re fighting other players online or charging through the surprisingly meaty campaign mode, let alone survival and cooperative events, you’ll be met with one of the most immediately satisfying games on the appstore, not to mention one of the most pro-user. Where other games rely on blind grinding and shady mechanics to hold players back, Hero Hunters encourages you to dig deep and invest in its game design.

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All those heroes I mentioned? Hero Hunters gladly grants you new upgrade points, cash, and critical upgrade points without charging you an arm and a leg. While all the traditional microtransactions and lootboxes are here, there’s also an alternative for virtually every reward.

Successful PVP play lets you earn fragments for specific heroes, ensuring you can invest towards the characters you actually want. Items to upgrade heroes are highlighted clearly in what matches they can be found in, and there’s no handwringing to keep them out of arm’s reach when you go back.

Even the energy charge system is blown away by the fact that every time your squad levels up, you earn more charges. Before two hours had past, I went from 50 energy charges to over 180 maximum. Clearly the team at Hothead understands how to make these sorts of systems work as a reward for the player, rather than a hindrance to demand more money for the sake of enjoyment.

There’s also separate systems for PVP and PvE content so you can invest a fair amount of time in both, in the former, heroes can die up to three times rather than waste more energy charges. While rare heros like Artemis will demand serious time investment, I’ve found that in both PvP and PvE, it’s the long-term player with the best assembled team that wins, not whoever has the shiniest toy.

That said, matchmaking does need work, as I first was being paired against players who I dwarfed so strongly that the battles would last seconds, rather than a minute or two. Other than that, my sole major complaint is that the story could’ve been made perhaps a bit more engaging. Hero Hunters has the material to be a charmingly silly action game, but it never quite hits that mark with its writing and character barks. It’s almost there, like five degrees off of Battleborn‘s hilarity.

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There were slight frameskips but Hero Hunters actually compensates for this by having a – albeit, fairly simplified – graphics settings. Yes, a mobile game with graphics settings! What a novel idea!

This is how you do a free-to-play game. Other developers, please take note. With an accessible control scheme, professional execution, reasonable freemium systems, and solid design… what more encouragement do you need?

Our Rating

ProsCons
Beautifully melds the cover-based mechanics of Gears of War with Overwatch's array of colorful heroes.Matchmaking for PvP needs tweaking. Story isn't as funny as it could be.
Rating
9.5/10

Hero Hunters
Hero Hunters
Developer:
Price: Free+
Hero Hunters
Hero Hunters
Developer: Hothead Games
Price: Free+

 

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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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