In a word, we’d have to describe Sliding Heroes as boring. The stylish graphics are nice, and great controls definitely help, but this game’s unique concept of sliding units around a board to attack enemies won’t keep you interested for very long.
In Sliding Heroes, you must deploy units of various classes (warrior, cleric, mage, and lancer) and tilt the device to slide them to the goal. To reach the exit, you must open gates by killing enemies. After you defeat enough of them, plus the occasional boss, you move onto the next level. Losing all your lives (each unit you deploy depletes from these) means the game is over.
Who’re you calling a knave?
Like in most RPGs, each class also has its own strengths. Warriors are highly balanced units to put on your front lines. They can’t shoot down aerial enemies, though, so this is where the long-distance mage and lancer come in. Clerics are the tanks of the game, and against undead creatures they are a force to be reckoned with. Performing well with a given class will level it up.
At first we found ourselves happy with these specialized units, but a lack of upgradable spells and special attacks made the game much more repetitive than it needed to be. A larger variety of moves would have gone a long way.
At least the smooth controls will keep your characters’ movement steady. You control your characters by tilting the phone. Controls are responsive, allowing for fluid, quick motions through each of the maze-like levels. This makes it easier to navigate around the holes and poison that will kill you or drain hitpoints if you run over them.
While the controls are good, the concept isn’t. Sliding around our heroes loosely without a more precise formation gives the game almost no strategy, so only casual gamers will end up finding any enjoyment here.
Another bit of unused potential is the Monstropedia. As you progress through the game, your Monstropedia fills up, unlocking detailed information on every enemy in the game, including their strengths and weaknesses. However, the constantly repeating enemies made it feel useless.
There is also an endless mode, where you guide members of a special class, monks, through some challenging, labyrinth-like levels for as long as your 99 lives will provide. You can then post scores locally. There is no online functionality at this time, which really brings down this mode’s replay value.
If mindlessly sliding around your typical RPG crew sounds appealing to you, then pick this one up. However, we feel it’s time for Square Enix to release a full-blown RPG on the iPhone and stop with these halfhearted efforts.