How do you call ancient, mythical heroes who return to fight a familiar foe? Well, the Returners. Hope that clears what’s this game about.
The creature once known as The Minotaur has returned! In its new form it serves the purpose of The Nightmare King. It’s up to you to lead a band of legendary mythological heroes and champions in order to stop him. But in to get to The Nightmare king you’ll have to deal with hundreds of his minions and heroes. A long and a challenging adventure awaits your team. As you win battles and complete levels and chapters you’ll unlock new champions you can enlist in your team. Before each and every battle, you’ll choose the desired strategy and tactics, and try to use the most out of skills, talents and abilities of your heroes. Level up and upgrade your heroes, collect new gear for them and tactic cards which contain powerful and useful spells and buffs. It’ll take a lot to take down the Nightmare King.
Somewhere during the tutorial you’ll manage to assemble your five hero team. The heroes in this game mainly differ in class, which determines their role, stats and positioning during a fight. There are several: tank, fighter, ranger, mage and support. These are all self-explanatory, I believe. But, just in case, if someone new to the genre decides to join the fun, let me do a quick overview. A tank is a fighter which tries to protect your other heroes. He does that either by taunting enemy units or by contributing with strong defensive bonuses. A fighter is a strong and powerful melee unit which inflicts physical damage, and a ranger is his ranged counterpart. A mage inflicts magical damage, either from a safe distance or from a close range, and support is here to aid its allies, either through healing or providing useful bonuses, minions and powers during a fight.
The inventive combination of real time action and time-stopping tactics is what makes this title stick out, not the class types. Before each battle, you’ll get to manage your strategy, and to adjust even the tiniest details. First, you get to choose the formation of your heroes, which is quite important, although it doesn’t seem so at the start. But make sure to put heroes with strong defenses and fight initiating and crowd controlling skills, up front. Also, mind the gear the hero wears – if the enemy team is compiled of strong mages, put the defensive gear that protects your heroes against magic power. Then, there are tactic cards, which are usually a certain buff or even a spell, which is manually dropped by the player during the fight. And finally, targeting. You get to choose which hero will attack which foe, and which support will aid which ally.
The combat system
The best thing about these options is that they are completely manageable during a fight, which then, from real time action turns into a tactic game, for a moment. It all pauses and lets you choose a different target of your heroes, or a different formation. You can focus your power on a single weak enemy or spread it around equally, or you can retreat a hero low on health. It’s totally up to you. This option, however, has a cooldown, as well as the tactic cards. These are split into color groups, so you can use two of the same type during a single fight. Cooldowns increase as you progress. This system has a nice interface to it, so you don’t get confused before the fight, nor during it. Also, the pause circumstance helps a lot and really does make this tactics element feel appropriate.
But, there is no actual real time action. You don’t get to really control your heroes and their actions. After they slay the designated target, they’ll just stick on to their closest one, until you make changes in the tactics segment. The hero skills are cast automatically, so you don’t have the jurisdiction over that part of the game, at all. Sometimes the timing is great, but sometimes it’s plain awful. That’s because skills happen on a regular time basis, after each cooldown. So, you are stripped from that actual adrenaline flavor of combat. Instead, you have that sports manager feeling, that you are somewhere aside, shouting and yelling commands. While this would be great in a strategy title, in an RPG game like this, it alienates you from the very essence of the game: being your hero! Living through his fears, stress, failures, hopes and great victories and achievements.
The game has an interesting premise, right? Seldom do you see Aladdin, King Arthur, Robin Hood, Theseus in the same universe. And where is a cool story to back it all up? Well, there is nothing to actually back up, because of insufficient gameplay elements. Core, and at the same time the only game element, are the fights (either in an adventure, or a dungeon). All the hero progression related business is done there – no exploration, professions, quests, events and such. Only quests are to beat the game, but that’s like stating the obvious. That’s also some lazy game design right there. And after all, is it a good idea to have Aladdin and Theseus in the same story? Sometimes it’s cool to play with those tropes, but just to include random legendary heroes to make your game feel amazing is not a way to go if you ask me.
The same could be said about the looks. It lacks originality and inventive approach. It does look pretty good, but most of the players familiar with League of Legends (and that’s like most of the players overall) will notice the game has a familiar visual design. The animations and effects, on the other hand, are done beautifully, and none of them cog the screen or the processor of your device. Music and sound effects are decent, but maybe a bit too loud, especially the effects, compared to music. This can be, however, tweaked in the settings. What can’t be, is that a tune or a whole theme here or there sounds out of place and not fitting. The game does appeal like an AAA title, but it doesn’t feel like one.
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