Heroes of the Banner Review
This week we took time out to try out the free to play tower defence game from R2 Games, Heroes of the Banner, a browser-based title that players can quickly jump into after a quick registration. The game follows a Nordic mythology meets fantasy type setting complete with the gods and goddesses of Valhalla as well as a variety of Demons, orcs, mages and more; it was a bit of an odd blend but nothing to worry too much about. The game uses a very pleasing graphical style which uses a combination of pixel-based sprite graphics and hand drawn cartoon illustrations for the various Hero characters players will meet and unlock.
For those unfamiliar with the genre the basic premise is that waves of enemies wish to move from one side of the screen following a road to reach the other side of the screen, if too many of them do that then you fail the level. To take them down players must build towers which will automatically fire at these mobs as they pass as well as unleashing powerful spells to do massive area damage.
As its name suggests it is the Heroes that the majority of the mechanics revolve around starting with the classic Tavern feature to find heroes, players are able to spend a use of a summons scroll to summon forth various random heroes with their random stats and abilities (the higher the level of scroll used the better the chances of getting a higher level hero). If a hero pops up that a player likes the look of then they are able to recruit them into their team as a permanent fixture.
On each map there are a set number of tower locations, which can be filled by the various heroes from your collection; each hero constructing their own specific type of tower to attack enemy mobs when the battle begins. As well as the automated towers players also have magic abilities in their arsenal, the various attacks all spend Mana Points (which players will see deplete from their MP bar each time they cast a spell) and are best used on gathered groups of enemies.
The various waves of mobs that appear have different stats and some will be completely invulnerable to particular towers and their attacks and so a healthy spread of different towers is vital to completing a level. The major drawbacks for the game, as far as we were concerned, are mainly twofold. Firstly the translation and spelling, as is often the case with translated imports, was pretty terrible and whilst will not dwell on it any more than we did in the video already it’s just not acceptable to have such obvious and blatant spelling mistakes when R2 Games’ sole purpose is to bring a game to a European audience; one would expect that they could at least ensure they get the translation right.
Our second biggest peeve is that other than mashing the spells in battle there’s not really that much to do, players must pre-place their towers in the pre-battle phase, assigning heroes, placing their respective towers by the road, upgrading them and then beginning the battle. Players are unable to react to badly placed towers, they are unable to upgrade or change their towers, they will simply see whether their choice of locations were good enough to get them through to the next level. Other minor things such as a button to maximise the gameplay window doesn’t actually maximise the browser window, it simply removes the background and centres the gameplay window, combined with the extremely poor quality of audio from muffled songs to oddly placed sound effects all detracted from the overall experience.
The game does look pretty good and the level of customisation isn’t too bad and the player is able to spend their currency to upgrade their heroes as well as completing a variety of quests to get extra rewards. As players begin to kill bosses on levels they will get the chance to earn gear that they can then equip their chosen Heroes with to give them extra boosts in game.