Game Reviews

Hero Mages Review: A D&D style tactical RPG game for Android

D20 Studios developed this gem of a game and it’s pretty under-the-radar. I don’t think I would have even known about this game if DroidGamers hadn’t mentioned it before I started homing my blogging craft (which is very much a work in progress). So I decided to take the game for a spin, and I’m absolutely glad I did.

Name: Hero Mages | Developer: D20Studios | Genre: Arcade & Action | Players: up to 4 players | Version: 1.6.2 | Size: 9.5MB | Price: $2.99 (Full) |

If you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer 40K, Magic the Gathering, Risk, or table top strategy role playing games that are turn based all blended together, then you’re in for a treat.

Now before I start out with game details, I give props to the developer of this game. I had a slight hiccup with Adobe Air as you have to have Adobe Air to run this game. Adobe Air is having some issues with TI Omap processors. After sending an email to the developer about my inability to get the game running, he went out of his way to really help me out. He sent me a downgraded version of adobe air and a completely different zip file of his game. It took several emails and attempts of work-arounds for my issue (I’m just one of those people that if there’s going to be an issue, I’ll get hit by it).

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Having had other games in which there were issues, I have yet to have a developer work as hard as D20 studios did to make sure I was gaming. Another thing that really impressed me about D20 studios is how quick they responded to emails. I can’t really say enough about the positive experience I had with this developer. But I doubt you guys want to read my rambling words of praise. So on an ending note about the developer, you can tell that he really enjoys this type of genre of fun, and it reflects in his creation.

This game reminds me of a cross between old school Dungeons & Dragons, chess, Magic: the Gathering, 7th Saga (the Nintendo game), and (to some extent) Risk all mixed together. Controls are easy with pretty much a point and click set up. You have three characters to battle with—1 mage and 2 warriors and the battle rounds are turn based. I found that by switching up the characters you use whether you’re going for a mage, a bard, and a paladin or a warrior mage, an archer, or a warrior, you can end up with quite different results as far as how quickly you win or lose.

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Then add in that you have walls and blocks that can create offensive and/or defensive areas, it’s really easy to find yourself thinking several moves ahead just like you would when playing chess or checkers. Don’t get me started when you think you have a solid setup and you lose, it’s pretty compelling to find yourself “oh yeah?! Well, I got something for you this time, Computer! Do you hear me?!”.

Spells are done through cards (spell cards) in which you can hold up to 7 at a time, so as you strategize your attacks, you can choose to keep the cards you have or discard them for other cards. Success on attack and defend is done with dice rolls. The player can choose whether the dice are actually visually thrown or not. I personally liked the visual dice roll touch. Choosing to opt out of seeing dice being ‘thrown’ does speed up game play but it’s by such a negligible amount. This isn’t the type of game you just rush through anyway. However, if you do just have a few minutes to spare and want to play this game, it does have a quick play mode.

Now the game can seem a bit confusing at first since it has a lot of depth, so I highly recommend going through the tutorial. And, by the way, the tutorial is very nicely done. Ross, the developer, made sure to throw in some pretty good humorous dialogue and character interaction during the tutorial.

As you can see, it’s a top-down 2D game. You can use the walls and blocks to your advantage as characters can’t move through objects and are limited to a 5 space move at a time. However, mages can cast attack spells (like a fireball) that comes down from the sky and the archer has the nice ability to attack from far away. The graphics are nicely done and everything is pretty colorful. In other words, it’s enjoyable to watch as you play. And, oh yeah, it has a pretty neat sound track to it also.

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