Checks Out Heroes of a Broken Land (Full Release)

With the recent full release of Heroes of a Broken Land, I felt it was time to give the game a second look (especially so because I was somewhat bewildered in my initial attempts to figure out what was going on in the alpha). Here is the altogether much more coherent result from my more recent attempts:

My thoughts?

The game is looking much more consistent in its graphical presentation than it was back in the alpha, the interface is much more pleasing to the eye, and a new in-game tutorial makes things way easier to figure out. Among other things: I discovered the game’s mechanism for placing and upgrading buildings in your town, which adds a layer of complexity to the proceedings and makes the game much more engaging; and I finally learned what determines which enemies get targeted in combat, which made the game’s numerous battles much more enjoyable for me.

I am liking Heroes of a Broken Land so far, but there are some flaws worth mentioning. Certain things (like how to rest with your party) largely eluded me before I contacted the developer, in-game tutorial notwithstanding. There is also the matter (briefly mentioned but not shown in the video) that dungeon difficulty ratings can sometimes be wildly off the mark.

Beyond that, the game could still use some more polish in its presentation: I was a little distracted by the game’s persistent typos, and I think its overall aesthetic would benefit if the enemy / object sprites in its dungeons matched the visual style of its UI / character portraits more closely. Neither of these things was enough to keep me from enjoying myself, though.

The bigger question for me is whether the game expands enough to make the late game interesting. For instance: I’m not yet certain whether you’re forever limited to the six building slots you start with, or whether you’ll be able to expand and build in new towns. Similarly, I don’t yet know how far the game lets you go with character skills, equipment, and other upgrades. I’m cautiously optimistic that there are enough mechanics I haven’t yet seen to make the experience engaging from start to finish.

Based on what I’ve played so far, I give this a cautious recommendation–the full recommendation will have to wait, pending a full playthrough or two. Either way, though, I think you have to concede: the mere fact that a game like Heroes of a Broken Land exists is pretty remarkable. This gives me some high hopes for the cRPG genre.

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