REVIEW – A short, but highly enjoyable adventure, which might hit the end too soon, it still could become one of the pleasant non-AAA game surprises of the spring, or maybe even the sleeper hit of the summer as well. Although the novel, which was the inspiration of Unruly Heroes, was used often, the result is still memorable.
Journey to the West, a mythological novel, was written by Wu Cheng’en in the late 16th century, and its story has been the inspiration behind many game’s plotlines. For example, even Enslaved has taken cues from it, and we should also not forget Dragon Ball, which also followed a similar formula! The plot feels fresh in this case as well, and it is a good starting point, but the story within the game felt quite minimalistic, which felt like an issue. (However, you don’t need to know Journey to the West to enjoy the game.) All you need to know is that there’s a sacred scroll that is scattered across the world, and you go to the West to restore the peace in the world.
You’ll have four characters, and Wu’s creation rears its head here as well. The monkey, the monk, the pig, and the general will all have different advantages and disadvantages, as well as skills. (Their names have been slightly changed, but I use the original names for the leads. The modified names are the following: Wukong, Sandmonk, Kihong, és Sanzang.) You can switch between them at any time with a single button press (something seen as early as in The Lost Vikings), and they each have a separate HP and special attack bar, and this is the game’s method of inspiring you to switch between them. I do have to warn you in advance though that the characters’ movement speed did not seem that fast to me. Perhaps this is why you might see some of them bite the bullet – here, the devs took an idea from Cuphead: if you shoot a bubble that contains your fallen comrade’s soul, you can revive him. (It sounds completely dumb, but that’s how it works, and it does the job.)
The four characters will get a role in solving the puzzles (although there will be some that any of them will be capable of solving, and, as a change of pace, there will be other puzzles with the help from an enemy), but it is yet another reason why you shouldn’t limit yourself to using only Wukong, the monkey, for example, as it is only going to harm you and your progress in the long run.
One of the strong points of this two-dimensional platformer is how the game looks. It looks like Ori and the Blind Forest (or MAYBE Rayman Origins and Legends) but in a slightly more Far Eastern style. Unruly Heroes looks outstanding, without a doubt. You can see a different tone each world, complete with dynamically changing backgrounds and effects, and – if you aren’t bad – you can get through every six levels of a world. You’ll have a pleasant experience. The audio? Well, that’s somewhat problematic.
I believe the voice acting has questionable quality, and we should expect much better than this. It could have been okay… about twenty years ago, but nowadays, this is mostly going towards “lol” levels.
Unruly Heroes truly begins to shine and show how entertaining it could be if you play together with three friends. It’s fun to play this game in co-op, allowing you to garner more coins, which unlocks further skins for the characters. There are also some hidden scrolls that unlock concept artwork, and what would a 2D platformer be without boss fights? You’ll have a few of those as well. They provide variety, even in their design, too.
And still, the adventure ends perhaps far too early. Sure, you can’t get it done to 100% in just a few hours, but Unruly Heroes can still be done in a little more than five hours, but I do have to repeat that this is a thick, fascinating experience, but I do believe that the replayability, as well as the slightly dull gameplay on a few points, should be pointed out as well while I’m at it.
Although Unruly Heroes, which uses Unity engine, and is in development for the PlayStation 4 (will come this Spring with easy/hard difficulty, photo mode, new rankings at the end of the levels, more skins, refined controls, and the like), but still, I think this game is easily worth an eight out of ten, and it could have been even higher. It’s a good-looking game with good vibes, and while it does have its flaws (an almost ignored story, the voice acting quality, and the slightly risky replayability), I still think the score is well-deserved.l
Magic Design Studios‘ game was taken kindly, and it proved that while it might be slightly outdated genre-wise (as in, it doesn’t have as much attention as FPS #22648), with a little care and attention, you can still make something that can be played again at a later date. The heroes can happily return home with the restored scroll and their high score.
+ Beautiful visuals
+ Four characters with different skills
+ It can be played cooperatively
– A slightly ignored story and the voice acting is somewhat bad
– Slightly slow characters
– A bit short
Publisher: Magic Design Studios
Developer: Magic Design Studios
Genre: 2D, sidescrolling platformer
Release date: January 23, 2019 (not available on PlayStation 4 yet)