- Developer: The Bitfather
- Publisher: Headup Games
- Release Date: 05/11/2021
- Price: £11.99 / $14.99
- Review code provided by Headup Games
Introducing: Pixel Heroes Mega Byte and Magic Switch Review
I rarely play games on my cell phone. In fact, there are scant few that have remained on my phone long term. Sitting nestled between Chrono Trigger and Legend of Grimrock is the pixelated icon for Pixel Heroes. From time to time over the months I’ll revisit this micro RPG but I have never really garnered any traction in the game. Like I said, I rarely use my phone for gaming. So, does Pixel Heroes find new life on my Nintendo Switch? Not surprising, yes! Perhaps it’s the dedicated physical buttons or the lack of interruptions without having notifications pulling me away every ten minutes. Whatever the reason, Nintendo Switch is the perfect platform to adventure with Pixel Heroes, and hopefully this review will show you why it’s a fantastic addition for any RPG player’s library.
Now This is the Story of All About How…
There are a few campaigns with some modicum of stories in Pixel Heroes. Though the plots aren’t the strongest, humor and satire is where Pixel Heroes excels. The comical writing is superb throughout the experience. From the randomized heroes backstories to the sporadic side quests during each run through and even the events along the way. Pixel Heroes never failed to make me chuckle as I journeyed through its micro world with byte-sized adventurers. I recruited a dwarven herbalist who believed money is a deformed snail conspiracy. I met Death, who talked in all capital letters and insisted it wasn’t shouting. Helping some wayward hobbits will earn you The One Ring as an equipable item. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Though each playthrough can be relatively short, the randomly generated stories, heroes, and loot make it worth revisiting over and over.
My Pixel got Flipped-turned Upside Down…
The gameplay is just as fun as the humor. There are three main portions to the game. Firstly, you pick three heroes and start in a town. You can freely move about and chat with inhabitants or trade gear. Some of the townsfolk will have some level of wacky quest. A series of these must be completed prior to opening the final quest for your campaign. Once a quest is accepted, it will determine the dungeon your team will travel to. This begins the second part. Upon leaving town, you will no longer control your heroes’ movement. They will move across the countryside and engage in some random encounters. These can lead to battles, free experience or items. The outcome is never certain and choices are presented for you to make. It was a clever way to pass the time while traveling from point A to B and really displayed the witty writing.
The third portion of the game is also the meatier part. Once you reach your destination dungeon, you move through eight random rooms to vanquish the dungeon boss. Again, you don’t control your team’s movement, only the combat. Between each room you are given a chance to level up, if enough experience was earned, or change your equipment based on new loot acquired, and there’s plenty of loot. Most of these rooms hold three monsters to battle, but a few will have treasure chests which require a faith or strength roll to open safely.
Pixel Heroes takes a somewhat rudimentary approach to turn-based battles and it makes it challenging. Typically there are six combatants onscreen. Your three heroes and three monsters. Each party takes one turn at a time. So even if you kill two opponents, you will only act once and then the enemy takes a turn. There is a huge variety of spells and debuffs as well as weapons and skills. Mastering your party and their loadout is key to success. My first party was wiped out and there was little I could do. My second party survived to the end off of one lucky weapon find and two fantastic healing spells. It’s one thing that can make Pixel Heroes frustrating and incredibly fun. If luck is on your side, you can enjoy a prosperous adventure. On the flip side, if you get some heroes or gear that don’t work well, the game over screen will come quickly. This is a roguelike RPG after all, and that’s all par for the course. Whether you succeed or fail, Pixel Heroes is a rather short experience. You can clear a campaign in one sitting. Like I said above, the longevity is still decent as there are so many random elements, you can play this game over and over.
And I’d Like to Take a Minute, Just Sit Right There…
The artstyle in Pixel Heroes should be clear from its title. It’s a gorgeously pixelated game with a ton of monsters and characters. The top thirds of the screen shows your party and the varied environments. The bottom portion consists of their skills, stats, and additional information. Pixel Heroes is a simple game with a lot of depth. It has retro looks and sounds and works well with the Nintendo Switch. Though I have the game on my phone, I doubt I’ll jump into that version again. The physical controls of the Switch work well and feel natural. I never encountered any bugs or glitches, at least none that were unintentional.
I’ll Tell You How I Became the Pixel Hero of a Town Called Dot Air
Pixel Heroes is a great reminder that you don’t need the latest graphics and a plot penned by a best selling author. The gameplay loop can be challenging and poor luck can make it feel unfair at times. At other times, it’s a riveting experience with great humor and a ton of loot. There’s a lot of randomly generated facets to Pixel Heroes, ensuring your many playthroughs will not be the same. If you enjoy RPGs in the slightest, then I highly recommend picking up Pixel Heroes. It’s priced right and won’t take a lot of space on your memory card.
- Witty Writing
- Fun Cast of Characters and Classes
- Fun Modern/Retro Experience
- Luck Goes Both Ways