Platform: PC (Windows XP and above)
I’m setting myself a challenge with this review. You won’t know what it is until the end, but here goes. This is a review of Herofy, a match-three puzzler with a couple of relatively original mechanics thrown in, to help it stand out from the endless ocean of similar titles (Challenge status: So far, so good).
The basic gameplay shouldn’t really need explaining, but for the sake of journalistic professionalism, I’ll do it anyway. You’re presented with a grid, upon which sits a collection of different icons in a random arrangement. Gameplay consists of swapping said icons around in order to try and match at least three of a particular icon in a row, making them disappear and whichever icons were above them fall into take their place. It should all sound oddly familiar.
Herofy makes a few ‘heroic’ (Sorry…) attempts at mixing up the formula. Other games in the subgenre, for example, might require progression through scoring, or clearing all of the tiles on a grid. You won’t find any of that here. Instead, you’ll be required to either make matches on certain purple tiles, or locate a key within a chest, in order to unlock a door placed upon the grid. Then, you’ll have to move your ‘hero’ to the now open door to beat the level.
‘Doors? Heroes? In a match-three game? Why Zed, what is this tomfoolery of which you speak?’ (No, the challenge was NOT to use the word ‘tomfoolery’ in a review. Although obviously it should’ve been.) What the ‘herofication’ of the subgenre boils down to is a few unique gameplay features, tied together by a central theme. Things like being able to rotate the grid, purchase and use ‘spells’ for various effects, dealing with enemies, progressing through an overworld ‘map’ and unlocking random cosmetic items for your ‘cottage’ as a result of your achievements. It’s a novel twist on the standard formula, and makes up the main selling point of the game; something different for fans of the genre (Challenge still intact).
Presentation is best described as functional. Mostly static background screens behind well-defined grids and icons. You can focus on the task at hand, without too many sparkly visual distractions, although a little more variety in environments and general aesthetics would’ve been nice. The music is forgettable, but again, it’s not intrusive. Generally, nothing about the presentation in Herofy is going to blow your mind, but then it’s really not meant to, so that’s okay.
There’s not a lot else to tell you about that you presumably can’t figure out for yourself. It’s mostly formulaic with a couple of novel touches, but if you’re a fan of the subgenre, that’s probably exactly what you were looking for. The game was obviously made with a very specific audience in mind, who know who they are, what they want, and will no doubt enjoy the lengthy, slightly unique challenges on offer that differentiate Herofy from the millions of similar titles floating around the internet. There are better alternatives, but if you’re a fan of ‘Match Three’ puzzle games and looking for something new, you’ve probably already gotten everything out of said alternatives that you can.
Bottom Line: Nothing ground-breaking, but a solid example of the genre with some nifty touches for hardcore match-three fans.
(Challenge status: Managed to write the entire review without once mentioning ‘Bejeweled’ or ‘Puzzle Quest’. I’m going to give myself a cookie.)