Unruly Heroes Review – A Yin and Yang Style Affair
Unruly Heroes is a new multi-platform title from Magic Design Studios that features Action/Adventure style gameplay set in a beautiful looking, mystical land, with a narrative based on the Monkey King Legend. Its mix of platforming, combat, and puzzle-solving offers up a nice variety of gameplay, and while the combat controls leave much to be desired and can cause a bit of rage at times, the overall experience is still pretty enjoyable.
You can check out the full Unruly Heroes review below in video or script formats.
“Hey now gamers, Matt Heywood here to review Unruly Heroes, or what I like to call a game that you will both love and probably hate, but more on that later.
Unruly Heroes is an action-adventure game with a heavy focus on platforming, combat, and puzzles. It’s set in a beautiful water colored looking, 2D side-scrolling world that will instantly grab your senses when you fire it up. The visuals are truly mesmerizing, and are on the level of Ori and the Blind Forest, which it also shares a few gameplay mechanics with.
The game’s narrative is based on a famous Chinese novel that is known as the Monkey King Legend, but quite frankly the little thought bubbles for character communications and motion-comic style cutscenes, aren’t motivating enough to get you into the tale, so for the most part the story is secondary to the gameplay.
Speaking of which, Unruly Heroes plays like a tradition action-adventure game in which you must platform, puzzle solve, and button smash combat your way through the game, so it’s pretty easy to pick up and play and get into. Its Adventure Mode is where you will spend most of your time, because it features 29 levels to conquer spread over four distinct worlds that are all complete with mini-bosses and level bosses to contend with.
In this mode you can play alone and manually switch between the four unique heroes under your control, or you can play local co-op. I went for the Solo approach, and while I felt a bit lonely, I found the ability to switch between the four heroes to be a nice addition to the traditional action adventure gameplay, because they all do have unique abilities that can help you solve a puzzle, get past a tricky platforming section, or vanquish a particular foe. Although, outside of their unique puzzle solving abilities, which include the ability to create holographic bridges, or to turn yourself into a big fat pig hot air ballon to name a few, there are really just two types of characters.
For example, the Monkey and Monk have similar fighting styles and jumping abilities, where the pig and sorceress share same attacks and jump styles. So while there are four characters, the only ability that truly sets them apart are their puzzle solving ones, so they do kind of feel like clones of themselves after playing for awhile.
There’s also a PvP mode that does support online play, but at the time of this review getting an online match is impossible because no one is playing online, but if you do just want a brawler fighter on top of an action adventure game, then Unruly Heroes can scratch that itch with its two modes.
In terms of the Adventure Mode gameplay I initially fell in love with it and couldn’t put down my controller, but once difficulty started to increase, and I spent more time with the controls, I started to get extremely frustrated, as in, should I throw this controller at my TV type of frustration.
I credit this to two troublesome aspects of Unruly Heroes’ gameplay. First off, its checkpoint system is a joke, and don’t even think about returning to the menu mid-level even though you hit a checkpoint, because if you do, the level will be restarted even though there’s no warning of such progress loss. They’re also not spaced properly, which results in you having to replay some really crappy platforming sections, or even worse, full on boss fights.
I had to replay a full boss fight after beating it and making my way out of the level because I was being a bit of a moron and didn’t realize I could knock away some thorny vines that I thought I had to dash through. Anyway, it’s nearly impossible to die to the point that you have to restart at a checkpoint due to the fact that you can just switch to another character and have the previous character respawn by catching their soul. So I forced myself to die with the hopes of getting a checkpoint after the big boss fight to try an dget out of the level again with more health, but to my chagrin, I was placed back before the boss, so I had to beat him again, and then get past the tricky part at the end that screwed me in the first place.
One could argue if I wasn’t dumb and just whacked the thorns I would’ve gotten out of the level and moved on to the next, but let’s be real. Who the hell wants to replay a boss fight after beating it and dying to some sketchy level design or player stupidity? It was cheap move that ultimately soured my experience.
The second gameplay critique I have is of the combat itself. Half the time I felt like my attacks were hitting my own characters versus enemies, which is due to the lack of any targeting functions, and the natural floatiness of character movements. I felt like I was fighting the controls more than the on screen enemies, and when you couple the combat with platforming that is required to kill a boss, the frustration is enough to make you want to punch a kitten.
Like I said, Unruly Heroes is a Yin and Yang type of game. On one hand it’s hard not to fall in love with its visuals, sound design, and most of its gameplay, but on the other, it can drive you mad. With some improvements to the controls I think one of the big gameplay issues I had could be eliminated, but the checkpoints are another issue and require extreme care and planning on the player’s part.
Although, for $20, it’s hard to complain about a game that offers up well over 8 hours of somewhat enjoyable content, so it isn’t a game that should be completely overlooked. I think it’d make a great on the go title for the Switch to play in short doses if anything else.
Unruly Heroes gets a 7 out of 10 review score from Team EB. If you like to be challenged on the cheap, this is definitely a game worth looking into.
Thanks for watching, I’m Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time. “
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