LNL-Tactical (Modern)

GrogHeads Reviews Heroes of Steel

Dungeon Crawling Underground!  But how does it play? ~

By Avery Abernethy

 

Heroes of Steel is a turn based, combat RPG set in an underground world. Your four characters follow the traditional meme of a medieval world. This is a small party, turn based, combat sim. There is a story to string the combat along, but you have no choices in character personality or alignment. You are good. Your enemies are evil. You need to kill all of the evil.

To strike down the evil hordes you have a party composed of a fighter, a cleric, a thief and a wizard. There is one variant for each character type. For example, your cleric can be based more on healing or more on combat. The thief can be a bow equipped sniper who opens chests and detects traps. Or your thief can be more focused on a stealthy hand-to-hand combat while also opening locked chests and detecting traps.

HofSteel-Your fighter

Your choices are limited. You have four party members. Not three, not two, not five, but four party members. Each character has two variations chosen at the start of the game. Everyone has a melee weapon. Clerics and fighters can also equip a shield. Characters have four slots where they can equip armor and other items which can aid in combat. Spell choices are highly limited.

 

HofSteel-Limited wizard spells

 

There is a story line but it is just enough to keep you going forward to kill more enemies. The strategy in this game is relatively limited. When you level up you can add points to your core skills and talents. Each party member can acquire a very limited number of skills or spells. For example, your cleric can heal, buff the party, debuff the enemy or launch distance attacks. Even the spell casting wizard has a small number of spells which can be strengthened as they level up.

Your group will obtain potions and other magic items. But with only four equipment slots and a maximum of two weapon slots, there is not a lot of variation to be had in character equipment.

Experience is gained by killing enemies and as you level up you can strengthen your limited number of attack, talent, and spell options.

Combat simulations must balance enemy combat abilities with the party combat abilities. If the balance between the party and the opposition is ever out of whack, then the game becomes either an unchallenging game of whack-a-mole or an uninteresting slaughter of your group. The designers kept an appropriate level of challenge through the seventeen levels of advancement acquired over thirty-five hours of game play. There are limited rest points but this was not an annoyance. You can save and exit the game at any time.

HofSteel-Combat at a choke point

 

The music and game sounds are highly limited. I got annoyed pretty quickly with the same grunt or squeal of pain occurring after every enemy hit on one of my four characters. I usually get annoyed by background music, but the lack of variation in battle sounds caused me to play with all sounds off very quickly.

There is not a lot of complexity in your combat tactics. Use choke points with your tank. Keep your more lightly armored team members out of melee range. Snipe with your thief. Wizards mostly blast enemies with fire, but also use debuffing spells to make enemies easier to hit. The cleric heals damaged characters, removes curses, and debuffs the enemy. Lather, rinse and repeat. If you encounter a bunch of enemies in a bad tactical situation, run away until you get to a choke point.

HofSteel-Cleric combat and spell options

 

Heroes of Steel is available on Steam for the PC, Google Play and the Apple App Store.   I played the game on the PC and had no significant problems with controls or game play. But there are better choices out there for PC games. I developed no attachment to any character and the story line was very thin. It was a good combat sim, but there are better combat oriented RPG games out there for the PC.

But as a combat sim played on your phone, this one was not bad. If you are looking for a reasonably challenging, stripped down D&D type turn based underground combat sim for your phone, I could recommend Heroes of Steel. The game is not very expensive and would not be a bad choice for a phone game.

HofSteel-A rest point

I cannot recommend Heroes of Steel for the PC. Heroes of Steel quickly grew boring. I only played as long as I did to see if the game changed significantly after I achieved the first major game goal of killing the evil baron and his henchmen. No major changes occurred after I had the Baron’s head on a pike. Evil was evil. My characters were boring. There was no subtlety to combat. And I can play much more interesting games on the PC.

 

Avery Abernethy is a marketing professor at Auburn University who has been playing computer wargames and RPGs for a very long time.


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