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Heroland

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 4 - 2020

Go to work in an RPG-themed theme park.

 
Theme parks are magical places, filled with joy and wonder. However, if you look behind the glossy surface and the colourful costumes, the magic quickly fades as the business behind them is revealed. Any fans of RPGs would be over the moon at the idea of actually visiting an RPG-themed theme park and being able to spend the day being a real fantasy hero. For those who have to work in one of these parks though, it would be a very different experience. FuRyu’s Heroland will give players a glimpse of that world by casting the player as a tour guide in one such RPG theme park, while also offering an RPG experience of its own.

 


 
Heroland is an odd concept, as the player takes on the role of Lucky, an employee at the titular theme park. The childlike joy of everything being real in this park, from the dungeons to the monsters, is all lost on Lucky as he knows it is not real, but must still go through the motions and guide groups of would-be heroes to the treasure at the end of their quest. Throw in a Prince who struggles to separate reality from fantasy and Lucky’s job can only get more interesting.

 
It’s a brilliant idea, and one that is executed in Heroland quite well. There is an obvious humour to the set up, and that humour is carried through the entire game thanks to some brilliant writing. Heroland is a very funny game, poking fun at the RPG genre itself and beyond, and often becoming quite self aware. While Lucky may be the silent hero of the game, the huge cast of other characters are anything but and will spout one liners and quips at a phenomenal rate, and the writing here good enough to prevent this from becoming tiresome. There is a satirical edge to the humour, pulling back the curtain on the theme park and revealing the grim reality, that really works when mixed in with all of the other silliness.

 
When it comes to the actual gameplay, things may not be what the player expects. Much of the gameplay outside of the dialogue sections will revolve around taking a team of visitors into one of the islands many dungeons to play out their hero fantasies. This will mean fighting monsters until reaching a boss and then defeating the boss to get the treasure. Where things change is that Lucky is not actually part of this team, as they are only the tour guide. This means that the group of guests will do all of the fighting and such of their own accord, leaving the player to watch as they succeed or fail.

 


 
But that’s not all there is to it. As the tour guide, Lucky is responsible for a number of different things, from choosing the team in the first place, to making sure they have the correct equipment. There will be a massive number of different characters that can be included in these groups, and they will increase in level as they progress through the game. Characters who are not part of the team will also get a small amount of experience, thanks to the experience sharing, but will fall behind if they are not used, which could present some problems if they are needed in the team, leading to a certain amount of necessary grinding.

 
When the combat is actually kicking off, Lucky does not have to be just a bystander. While he can’t join in the fight, he is quite able to offer support to the team through providing potions to advising their attacks. Guests will have special attacks that only have limited uses through the course of a dungeon, and so the player may have to advise on when would be best to use them. Lucky’s advice is subject to a cool down timer, and so the player will have to be quite tactical in how and when they provide this advice or offer help. As the guests level up, they will express their pleasure at the experience, which will subsequently level up Lucky, allowing him to help more often in battle. Lucky is also able to build friendships with the guests, with a view to unlocking side quests.

 
The hands-off nature of the gameplay is not going to appeal to everyone, especially those who are looking for a more traditional turn-based RPG experience, but it still manages to work quite well. There is still plenty of interaction for the player to involve themselves in, from the preparation to the advice. There is also quite a lot of repetition in the game, revisiting places and grinding to get all the members of the team up to the right level, which can be a bit off-putting.

 
And then there are the visuals. Much like the actual gameplay, the visuals are a bit different in that they involve 2D sprites that are given almost three dimensional movement. It is strange, but has a real charm that will grow on the player. There is plenty of variety to the visuals, and everything is bright and colourful in a cheery way.

 


 
With the strange quirks to the gameplay and the repetition, Heroland will not be for everyone. But those willing to embrace the strangeness will be treated to an entertaining adventure in a unique setting, with bundles of humour. Those looking for a fun and slightly different RPG experience could well find what they want with Heroland.

 

 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 



 

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