Hero Siege is an indie title brought to us by Panic Art studios. If you enjoy fighting waves upon waves of overpowered monsters and dodging environmental hazards while laughing at the corniest dialogue you’ve ever heard, then this game is for you. This game introduces roguelike elements into the mix, so you’re in for quite the challenge if you choose to pick this up.
The gameplay focuses around fighting waves of enemies. There are 6 areas to choose from, 2 of those being locked off and forcing you to purchase downloadable content. So really, there are only 4 areas to choose from. In the beginning, these are all locked off. In order to unlock the next level you must defeat the boss of the level you’re currently playing. This doesn’t sound like a terrible idea until you actually start to play the game and realise just how difficult it is to defeat a single monster.
If you want to succeed and get past the first level, I recommend choosing a ranged character, such as the Pyromancer or the Marksman. If you are able to get some distance between you and the enemy, you have a chance of surviving and leveling up to a point where you have enough strength to carry on into the further levels. This is where the element of grinding comes into play. We’re all familiar with grinding when it comes to RPGs such as Final Fantasy or Disgaea, and we understand just how frustrating getting to level 99 for the final boss battle can be, but when you have to level your character to at least 50 in hopes of taking on the third area of the game, there’s a problem.
Providing your audience with a challenge is perfectly reasonable, but providing them with a game in which they simply cannot advance at a decent pace is just downright ridiculous. It has taken me approximately 20 hours to level to 57 and I cannot advance past the third area of the game. It’s impossible. I’m currently playing a Pyromancer, who is a reasonably strong ranged character, but I feel like I’m being punished for playing this on my own. Multiplayer is available for this game but it is said to be unstable and rather broken, so for the moment I have avoided it. This game just seems to give off the impression that you simply will not succeed if you do not have at least one other person to help you out. Cheating in games is beneath me, and I’d rather do everything as pure as possible, but I can understand as to why players would become frustrated and cheat to advance themselves into higher levels and more difficult areas. While the developers are doing their best to stay on top of this issue, they fail to realise that this game is incredibly difficult, and it is not in most people’s interest to spend 30 levels of their character in one area of the game. It all feels very broken, and you can really land yourself in trouble if you happen to pick a character that is virtually useless, like the Necromancer, for example. Characters are not balanced side by side and it’s obvious that a dominant strategy is going to be taken by players. Simply spam the right stick. Spam it good.
Let me just say that this game has fabulous graphics reminiscent of an 8-bit era. There are three graphics settings – High, Medium and Low. There aren’t huge differences between each setting, the only real differences being detail in health bars and the environment. Thankfully this does not take away from the sometimes intense gameplay.
For whatever reason, the engine this game was created in seems to have some issues with framerate. I haven’t actually seen anyone else talk about this problem, so I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it makes little sense when I can play games that are much more graphically intense and have no issues whatsoever. Due to this game being centered around fighting multiple enemies at once, lots of things are happening on the screen all at the same time. Projectiles are being tossed at you, there’s spikes on the ground and you have approximately twelve thousand angry goblins tossing bones at you. Because of the large amount of activity on the screen, my fps really seem to suffer, even on the lowest setting, which says to me that there’s something wrong with the engine itself.
Other than that, there’s nothing else that’s really wrong with the game itself in terms of technical issues. The game seems to run fine until you unleash your talents that are unique to your character. This can cause havoc and cause the game to run in slow motion for the rest of the level, or until your inevitable death. Get used to the game over screen, you’ll be seeing it a lot.
The music in this game is sadly a little bit of a letdown. It’s understandable that for an indie game the developer(s) don’t always have a lot of money to be spending on hiring people to make music for them, but music is crucial for creating an atmosphere and mood and for immersing the player in the game space. There are plenty of websites that offer royalty-free music suitable for putting into your games – the addition of a few catchy tunes randomly thrown into the mix of available tracks for each level can really have an impact on your audience. It adds variety and keeps things interesting, especially if your gameplay has a habit of becoming rather stale and boring.
Sound effects are done very well in this game. It’s satisfying to listen to enemies pop and explode into piles of spiky meat, especially when you manage to kill several enemies at once. The sounds of your attacks are all different and the bosses have the best but the worst dialogue I have ever heard in a video game. It’s not even the “Welcome to die” sort of bad – the minibosses have hilarious dialogue that they spit at you as you fight them at the end of a handful of waves. For example, there’s a miniboss modelled after a mummified corpse and it says “I want my mummy”. I personally find this funny because it is corny and ridiculous, and I prefer to keep voice acting enabled, as it gives me something to listen to in the 20 seconds of silence between each wave. There is an option to disable the voice acting if you’re not into that sort of thing.
There is very little in terms of storyline for Hero Siege. You don’t really have any context for fighting waves of enemies and facing bosses. If you visit the game’s Store page on the Steam Store, you’ll see that in Taretheil, a group of monks have reunited four pieces of a brimstone talisman in order to wake up demons and eventually summon Satan. It’s apparently up to you to prevent mankind from going extinct – so your main goal seems to be to kill Satan.
The game is constantly being updated so it would be nice to eventually see a story mode of some description implemented, as I think it could work really well with the overall feel of the game. If bosses were more significant and had backstory behind them, I’d be a little more inclined to pay attention to what I’m doing. I feel like it’s a chore to just sit there and press the same buttons over and over in a sequence, hoping that I don’t die in the process.
In conclusion, this game is worth the 5.99 USD that I paid for it. If you can get at least one hour out of every dollar that you’ve paid for a game, then it’s managed to pay for itself. Although some content is locked behind a wall of DLC, it is reasonably priced and I will most likely purchase it in future. Hero Siege is still a work-in-progress and it is understandable that things may feel a little broken and unbalanced at time, but I’m willing to stick with it for a while longer to see what’s in store for me.