Unruly Heroes Review: The A-Team
Kalvin Martinez / Feb 12th, 2019 No Comments
There is a lot in a name. Names hold power — Someone said that once, but who could remember their name?
In video games, the name of a game can give you a good idea of its themes, genre and a whole bevy of other elements. Similarly, a bad name can keep you away by not giving you the full picture.
In Unruly Heroes‘ case, the name betrays the game because it makes it seem like generic shovelware, like some fourth-tier licensed game from the SNES era. But don’t let the name deter you.
Unruly Heroes delivers fun, challenging platforming with neat combat mechanics. More than anything, it is absolutely gorgeous to see in action.
We Need the Unruliest of Heroes
The Sacred Parchment has maintained the balance between the worlds since the dawn of time. That balance was threatened by dark forces multiple times in history, but it always remained … until it didn’t. The dark forces eventually succeeded in overthrowing the order, bringing terrible creatures and chaos into the world.
However, all is not lost. When it is the darkest, four unruly heroes will appear to restore the order. Wukong, Sanzong, Kihong and Sandmonk are those heroes eager to be the light against the darkness. Guiding them is Guanyin Pusa, the Goddess of Mercy, who watches over their journey.
For these four heroes to restore the balance, they must journey to the west and fight truly fearsome foes.
Typically in video games, the stakes are extremely high with the fate of the world on the line. Unruly Heroes is no different. It is about maintaining the universe’s balance and order.
While the stakes are extremely high, the game’s tone is decidedly less serious and gloomy. There is a playful nature to the people you meet along your journey, both friend and foe.
The comedic relief is what makes the narrative work so well. If it was all doom and gloom, it would feel like something you’ve encountered a million times before. Thanks to the humor, the story achieves a fantastic contrast of the serious nature of the threat and lighthearted relief.
In a time of uncertainty, you can bet there will be a squad of some unruly goons. Unruly Heroes places you in control of four heroes: Wukong, Sanzong, Kihong and Sandmonk. Each hero has a unique fighting style and different skills, which help in exploring and taking out hostile enemies.
Combat draws heavily from the beauty of wuxia. Mixing strings of light and heavy attacks with smooth dodging creates a flow of motion that is a wonder to see in action. Switching between heroes not only allows you to keep your health up and avoid death, but also lets you leverage their unique fighting styles and jumps to take out your enemies. Changing between Wukong’s staff attacks to Sandmonk’s powerful fists is great.
Successfully landing combos while avoiding damage allows you to build your special meter. Utilizing these specials can help you when you’re being overwhelmed by hordes of enemies. For example, Wukong’s ultimate attack creates clones of himself, resulting in a symphony of staff strikes that can deal massive damage. These ultimate attacks are especially useful in mid-boss fights.
Each hero has their own skill that helps in solving puzzles. Wukong can transform his staff into a giant version of itself to create a bridge. Sanzong can summon a bouncing ball of light that can activate terminals. Kihong can inflate himself, allowing him to float to astounding heights. Sandmonk can punch through strong pillars of rocks, knocking down barriers that prevent the group from moving forward.
While the puzzles aren’t especially difficult to solve, they slow down the platforming to give each level a methodical pace.
As a platformer, jumping is paramount to success. Between all four heroes there are two different types of jumps: double jumps and float jumps. While double jumps are much more agile, float jumps can help you clear great distances and land on moving or timed platforms. Knowing how and when to use each jump is necessary to clearing levels.
Platforming feels real good with fantastic level design that punishes slow reflexes and rewards craftiness and precision. While it doesn’t reinvent the platforming genre, it adds some cool flair like the different types of jumps and how effective wall jumping is for tricky sections. There is a great fluidity to platforming that fits the wuxia/kung fu vibe well.
Levels having you exploring worlds and facing bosses in each one. Structurally, there are a number of platforming levels to clear before reaching the troublesome boss. Along the way, there are tricky platforming sections, swarms of enemies and puzzles you’ll have to get past. Additionally, you’ll face off against mid-bosses that help prepare you for the more difficult fights to come.
As satisfying as all those elements are, it is the multi-part boss battles where the game shines. These giant, challenging boss fights push your platforming and combat skills to the limit. If you’re not utilizing your dodge ability, timing jumps properly and unleashing your ultimate skills, it is easy to find yourself restarting the fight over and over.
Boss fights are also visually stunning with changing boss designs and a varied level layout.
Unruly Heroes is a wildly fun game with fantastic platforming and memorable boss encounters. It feels like Rayman Legends with some Trine elements thrown in to create a compelling platformer with clever puzzle elements. The game’s unique sense of humor also helps create a distinct and enjoyable personality.
One of the most exciting aspects of Unruly Heroes (besides its boss fights) is the huge amount of variety it offers. It is never content to let the core mechanics be all there is to it. At several different points, the game adds an additional wrinkle or new mechanic to help enhance its gameplay. Whether it is adding a vacuum gourd to help suck up dangerous gas, moving platforms or forcing you to inhabit different creatures to solve puzzles, Unruly Heroes keeps things interesting.
Unruly Heroes was reviewed on a Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the developer.
tags: Magic Design Studios , review , Unruly Heroes , Unruly Heroes review