I wont beat around the bush. Heroes Trials is hideous. It’s a game that resembles a cheap version of a poorly designed Zelda dungeon, if that. The game wastes no time throwing you into the action. Players take on the role of two characters, to which you can quick-swap between the two at any given time, and on the fly. Starting out, the game places you in a small village, with some narration included to explain its premise. Once again, I’m not going to sugar coat it, Heroes Trials’ story is about as interesting as watching paint dry, at best.
The plot immediately relays that leading characters Zoel and Elia have both overslept, and what’s worse, they’ve overslept during the finals; a group of trials put in place to determine who will rise to the position of your homeland’s defender. Following a stark warning from the Principle, Zoel and Elia set off to conquer their first trial. Here, you’re given a brief mission summary, and then you’re free to go. By and large, each new mission summary attempts to relay some depth to the game’s story, but it all really comes off under-baked.
It’s hard to feel truly invested when the story alone isn’t that interesting, but when we take into account that much of the story is drip-fed through infrequent text windows, it only makes it all the more forgettable. Mercifully, the game is very easy to pick up and play. Movement is tied to the D-Pad and left stick, with character swapping tethered to the Y button, attacking to the B button, action to the A button, and magic/bombs to the X button – depending on your active character. That’s pretty much the summary of it all.
You can indeed make use of your shield, as well as the ability to run via LT and RT, respectively, but I never really found these commands in particular to be all that useful. I will point out that the game’s UI is well set and neatly structured, if indeed bland looking. There’s a timer present in the top right of the screen, which indicates how long you have to complete your current trial. To the left upper screen sits your necessities; life, gold, bombs, and keys. To the lower right of the screen sits your mini-map. It’s all clean and clutter free.
Your mini-map will constantly chart where you need to be heading to, and to the game’s credit, it functions exactly as it should. Once you move away from the village and towards your first trial, you’ll almost immediately stumble upon a few of the game’s foes. There’s some slug looking like creature and a wasp that looks more like a flying ant. Nevertheless, defeating these, as well as weed-whacking, will often grant you with currency that comes in handy later on. You can also find some health replenishment here through obtaining apples.
It’s your run of the mill bog-standard affair. Rule of thumb typically means hitting anything that you can to find goodies. To complete your first trial, you simply need to reach the graveyard. There’s a star rating system per-trial, but even without trying, I managed to three star the majority them on the first run. The crux of play sees you working through these lazily developed trials in rapid succession until you hit the endgame, with a new trial dished out as soon as your current one has ended. It’s a straightforward experience throughout.
These trials do attempt to be diverse, but when we consider that they all lean on the exact same dull concept, it wears thin, fast. It doesn’t help matters that the game is linear by design, oftentimes forcing you down specific routes to achieve completion rather than affording you any time to explore. The sum of your actions will amount to little more than killing generic enemies, activating switches, picking up keys, unlocking doors, fighting a weak boss, then rinse and repeat. That’s about as deep as Heroes Trials gets, unfortunately.
The game fails to truly build upon its character swapping mechanic too. Zoel and Elia sport different class types. Zoel is your average knight, capable of swinging a sword and throwing bombs, whereas Elia is your mage, who is able to cast a few spells through projectile attacks. It would have been nice to see the game toying with this functionality more than it does, but as it stands, you’ll rarely swap between characters unless the game demands it of you. It’s a shame really, because there’s clearly some potential hiding underneath this shit.
Irrespective of that, most of your time in Heroes Trails will see you moving from one dull location to the next, fulfilling your short trials along the way as you pursue greatness. There’s next to no innovation present throughout the entirety of play. Obtaining keys to unlock doors consists of either killing a boss that houses predictable attack patterns, clearing a room that’s packed with boring enemies, or, using Elia’s magical attacks to activate a switch. Outside of that, there’s very little depth to carry the game through.
Heroes Trials does try to innovate later in, such as when Elia gains the ability to forge her own pathways to avoid dropping into lava pits, but, yet again, the game never makes anything more of that. It just feels too much like a gimmick rather than anything meaningful. Furthermore, the game has some pretty horrendous bugs and technical issues within. On one occasion, an activation switch failed to trigger, regardless to the fact that I was spamming it with attacks at close range. It took me roughly five minutes to get by it.
On another occasion, I exited a dungeon and instantly got the game over screen, despite the fact that I had full health beforehand. Granted, moments like this are few and far between, but it still hits home pretty hard when it occurs. Thankfully, the game is littered with save points, so it’s slightly easier to overlook. I wish I could say the same about the game’s combat system. In Heroes Trials, you don’t rely on skill to defeat your foes, nor is there a strategy you’ll need to adapt to. Instead, you simply rely on senseless button mashing.
That’s right! Each and every enemy in the game, with a few of the generic boss battles to the side, can be taken down in the exact same way. Just line them up in your sight, and have at the attack button – most enemies lasting no more than a few attacks. Occasionally, you’ll come up against a larger foe, such as a golem, but again, the same rules apply. I found it best to us Elia for the golems, seeing as how she can attack from a distance, but this only opened my eyes to another of the game’s faults. That is to say, it’s imprecise controls.
Elia’s projectiles will shoot in a straight line from whichever direction you’re facing. This doesn’t really become that much of an issue when your enemy is directly to your left or right, or indeed directly above or below you, but when they’re not, it’s like guesswork hell. Trying to get Elia’s shots to accurately align diagonally is just too tedious to even bother with, mostly due to how sensitive and poor the feedback is. That being said, most of these bulkier enemies will go down in a moment or two, but even so, it’s another lack of quality.
I can say the same about the boss battles. The only real notable fight is that in which you’re facing a boss known as Denmaku. Denmaku at least attempts to keep you on your toes. He’ll house a barrier that can only be taken down through explosive damage, allowing you to unleash a chain of attacks to chip his health down. The kicker is, he’ll constantly throw projectiles at you that keenly deplete your health. It’s far from tense, and even further from groundbreaking, but it’s one of the few highlights I could really pull from my time here.
Eventually, you’ll be able to purchase some running boots. Though, much like everything else here, the game never really finds a use for them. They serve as little more than getting you from A to B faster, but as alluded to above, I never used them on account of constantly bumping into enemies (taking health off me) due to how limited the point of view is. If I’ve not made it clear enough already, Heroes Trials is a waste of your hard-drive’s space. Unless of course, you’re here for some easy Gamerscore. On that front, Heroes Trials succeeds.
You’ll unlock all of the game’s achievements within about an hour of play, through little more than natural play. Though, it really says something when I have to use that as some sort of high point. Something I want to address is the game’s official store description. Not only is it massively misleading, but it’s totally inaccurate. The game boasts being heart-warming, fast-paced, and dynamic, when in truth, it’s not anything close to any of that. Funnily enough, the description also states that it offers a compact story. Did I miss that?
Perhaps it was hiding underneath all of its shortcomings? Hilariously, and quite ironically, the description closes with a caption that reads that you wont have to waste time on repetitive tasks. This is especially jaw dropping, seeing as the whole ordeal is precisely that, repetitive, boring nonsense. Make no mistake about it, Heroes Trials is not worth your time nor your attention. It’s one of the worst games that I’ve played since Yasai Ninja, and at least that game didn’t try to convince you into thinking that it was something worth playing.
I cant even commend the game for its visual and audio design. Whilst Heroes Trials does attempt to relay diversity across its environments, the lack of character and personality across the entire board just pulls it short. There’s nothing impressive about the way the game looks, or sounds. It’s merely serviceable. Hopefully, if there’s a sequel, the developer spends more time focusing on what matters for a game of this type, and less time creating something that I don’t even consider to be sub-par. Do yourselves a solid people and pass this by.
Disregard the game’s sickeningly inaccurate description. Throughout its entirety, Heroes Trials plays like a horrendously designed Zelda dungeon, complete with a shoddy story, lackluster visuals, and worse, combat that’s dire, and control feedback that’s ultimately imprecise. It doesn’t help matters that the game suffers from some pretty frustrating bugs and technical issues on top of that. Avoid.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.