The roguelike genre appeals, almost by definition, exclusively to serious gamers. These RPGs are often so unforgiving that they knock you down, kick you in the teeth, and badmouth your mother, all in front of a kindergarten class. There’s no hand-holding and no second chances. When you die, you’re dead. If you want to try again, you start from scratch.
League of Epic Heroes doesn’t follow the roguelike template exactly, which is partly why it’s more approachable for newcomers. At the start, you choose from four hero classes (eight more can be unlocked), then you pick a race (each one gives you a bonus of some kind), and then it’s off to the dungeon you go. Three dungeons are included here, but no matter which one you pick, its shape is randomly generated.
Red demon, you are America’s next top model.
The dungeons are cloaked in darkness, so you can only see one square around you in any direction. To illuminate the environment, you have to mosey around. Movement in the game is kind of awkward, in that you tap the square you want your character to move to, and he or she appears there. So instead of holding down an arrow button to keep moving in one direction, you have to keep tapping the screen. Also, we often had to tap several times to open or close the various menus.
As you uncover more of the dungeon, you’ll also uncover monsters. These come in a few varieties, but for the most part they all act the same, which is to say that they stand as still as statues unless you attack them. You can see their level, their hit points, their damage rating, and whether or not you’ll live if you decide to exchange blows. This information is presented clearly, and we found it very helpful.
To assist you in taking down these beasties, you’ll find collectible runes, or spells, strewn about. You can hold three at a time, but they cost mana to use. You’ll also find health and mana potions, items that boost your stats, as well as the occasional weapon or piece of armor. Weapons and armor are the only things that you keep beyond your current dungeon raid. Everything else you lose when you die.
Pick your poison.
Admittedly, League of Epic Heroes isn’t the most complex dungeon crawler, but the tutorial does a good job of explaining everything. And once you start playing, it can be tough to stop.
Even still, the game is highly repetitive. And although the mechanics are simple to pick up, beating a dungeon is a herculean task: Expect to fail a dozen times before succeeding. Also, we’ve experienced a few mid-raid game crashes. If this happens when you’re on a promising run, it can feel like that kick to the teeth we mentioned earlier.
League of Epic Heroes might not be as robust as some games, but it’s accommodating to newcomers in a way that many roguelikes aren’t. If you’re a fan of tough RPGs, you should definitely equip yourself with this one.