The platforming genre may not be the dominant force it once was, but players still get a constant trickle of new titles every so often. The newest addition to this lineage is Unruly Heroes, but the issue remains the same: is it any good? Yes. This is correct. This is a very fun adventure that is almost ideal for playing with the kids.
It's impossible to miss Unruly Heroes's stunning visuals. The hand-painted aesthetic is exquisite, full of vibrant colours and unique character. Every one of the planets you explore has its own unique colour scheme. The fast-paced nature of the game may make you want to keep moving ahead, but pausing for a moment to take in the beautiful aesthetics of the environment or the monster you're presently stomping on is well worth it.
The developer's pedigree is directly responsible for this stunning design. The outstanding Rayman Legends was developed by Ubisoft Montpelier, which is why the team behind Unruly Heroes, Magic Design, includes former members of that studio.
The music is also noteworthy for being excellent and featuring a wide range of styles. I was always amazed by the sheer number of tracks, which served to further differentiate each area.
The work was influenced by the 16th-century Chinese classic Journey to the West. In this retelling, four rogue heroes (HA!) must search for the scattered fragments of the Sacred Scroll and restore world order. It's a weak idea, and a lot of the game will pass without much of a plot development. In all likelihood, the narrative will be completely forgotten, except for the occasional sight of a helpful Goddess.
Despite its weak narrative, Unruly Heroes is a lot of fun because to the several bosses who are given amusing one-liners. Nothing in there to make anybody, not even your heroes, interesting, but it does keep the mood light. I couldn't help but believe the four characters in Unruly Heroes were underappreciated in light of the team's previous efforts on Rayman Legends. They stand apart from one another just in appearance. Having them interact with one another or having a few sequences where animations might assist portray their different characteristics would have been very helpful.
Unruly Heroes is, at its heart, a platformer in which the player traverses a 2D world by running, jumping, and sometimes punching enemies and bosses. The controls aren't the finest in the genre, but they're good enough to get you where you need to go with little hassle and the odd sensation that a failure wasn't your fault but rather the game's.
The game's gimmick is that you may instantly switch between four heroes, each of whom has somewhat different powers and unique abilities that are triggered at statues positioned around the stages. Example: the monkey is equipped with a double-jumping ability and a long-reaching stick. There's a party trick he pulls out at statues of himself: he extends a huge, luminous staff that serves as a bridge. Meanwhile, the pig can fly by flapping his ears and, with the help of a statue, can blow himself up into a huge balloon that can carry him great distances.
In Unruly Heroes, platforming and puzzle-solving go hand in hand. Nothing here will leave you incoherent with frustration, but the puzzles provide just enough of a challenge to keep things interesting without slowing down the usually brisk pace.
Unruly Heroes has a substantial degree of violence, with a wide variety of monsters out to bash your face in. Only one attack button and a dodge are available during combat, with the latter activated in reaction to the appearance of exclamation marks over enemies' heads. It's a good concept overall, however it may be too simplistic given how frequently you really do battle.
When it comes to adding in new twists to keep things interesting, Unruly Heroes really shines. For instance, at one point your characters regress to infancy (each design is outstanding) and are rendered defenceless. Instead, you get a glowing orb that floats over your head and may be utilised to ride along blue light rails while shooting lasers. However, the ball is instantly destroyed if it comes into contact with the red flashing items. In other parts, you learn about a vacuum that can be utilised to relocate platforms, and you even have the chance to inhabit the body of an adversary. Controlling two characters, one of whom is in the background, and dealing with switches that reverse gravity are also part of the package. The levels only take 10-20 minutes to complete, yet they're always full of surprises.
Of course, not everything has a happy ending. Some of the stages really made me more irritated than anything else. For instance, The Ascent was a real pain to complete. Yes, some managers really are that boring. However, there are just a few low spots during the 8-10 hour playthrough of Unruly Heroes, and even then, the game still feels excellent.
If you do well enough, you'll earn coins that may be used to customise your heroes. Though, with just four skins available for each character, I rapidly accumulated the coinage enough to purchase the skins I like and promptly forgot about the shiny treasure.
In co-op mode, up to three additional players may jump in and provide a help throughout the whole game. Fantastic addition, having co-op right in your own backyard. It's great to have a good time with pals over a game. The fact that I can't play Unruly Heroes with my closest gaming friends from across the globe because of the game's absence of online co-op is a major disappointment. In any case, the game's aesthetic and local co-op make it a great option for a night in with the kids.
In addition, there is a player vs player mode, which is... OK. Since the gameplay style doesn't naturally lend itself to PvP, its presence seems out of place. Already, there is a serious scarcity of individuals online, making even receiving a match an extremely unlikely occurrence.
Unruly Heroes succeeds, I believe, because of the obvious care and love that went into making it. Despite my scathing criticism of major game publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision, I can't deny that we live in an era of incredible triple-A products that include cutting-edge aesthetics and technological advancements that are tantamount to gory wizardry. However, owing to the massive scale of the development teams involved, even blockbuster games may often seem flat. However, with a work like Unruly Heroes, you can almost sense like a tiny team of individuals poured all they had into it.
Unruly Heroes is a great example of how to design an amazing platform game, while not being very creative. It's visually stunning and sonically impressive, but beyond that veneer is a game that feels terrific to play and has a knack for providing clever gameplay twists that keep things new. Though I find Rayman Legends to be the superior game, Unruly Heroes is a worthy debut from Magic Design Studio.