Hyperleague Heroes is a new entry to the idle battler genre, and it manages to be a fairly engaging one.
The game has very nicely illustrated comic book style story pages for the plot, and generally attractive (if a bit low-res) artwork in-game. The music and sound effects are fine, but since it’s an idle game, you’re far more likely to want to mute the sound as you let it run in the background. They aren’t bad, but given the gameplay loop, you’re bound to get tired of both.
The meat of everything here lies in the gameplay mechanics. You’re assembling a team of superheroes to defeat an alien invader and his minions. Your team will run through a series of battle rooms of varying difficulty, and here’s where the first wrinkle pops up. If you’re simply idling and letting the game run itself, they’ll go through a standard route. However, if you’re playing actively, you can pick an alternate path from time to time. Sometimes you’ll find a hidden room which leads to something benefical, like item drops, bonus XP, or healing. Your team isn’t going to find these if you’re not controlling them, so it’s useful to occasionally take control.
When you’re not battling, you’ll be spending your time at your base, which serves several purposes. In addition to organizing your team (you can have more heroes in reserve), you can train them once every couple of hours, concoct buffs, buy items to use while actively controlling/observing your team, buy new team members, equip your heroes with useful gear, or boost various aspects of individual heroes. (Such as health or attack damage.) Additionally, you can go to the lounge and talk to up to three heroes (randomly selected), most of whom will inform you of a buff (30% attack boost, 20% attack speed if they’re in a team with a specific hero, etc) or on occasion, have an item to give you.
Every foe you defeat can be purchased and made to join your team, in addition to the heroes you will periodically be given by the game. Every team member has a special skill, such as giving the whole team an XP boost, or increased gear drop chances. But most importantly, any two team members can be fused, provided you’ve got enough blue crystals to do so. The crystals drop more frequently on loot runs (more on those shortly), but can also be found during the other battles in the game. Fusing them will cost you a hero, but it will boost all of the remaining hero’s stats (sometimes massively), and allow you to choose which special ability you wish to keep. This is very reminiscent of Pokemon’s chain-breeding tactic, where you’d get a skill onto a Pokemon that couldn’t otherwise obtain it. It allows a level of customization and complexity in a genre that isn’t generally known for either.
Every hour, you’re able to go on a “loot run”, where your team will face level-scaled enemies who drop level-scaled loot for you to equip, in addition to the previously mentioned blue crystals. The once an hour restriction might bother some, but it does prevent you from overgearing your team or being able to abuse the fusion system to your advantage. Some may not appreciate this choice, but it encourages a level of active play and paying attention, rather than simply letting the game run on autopilot at all times.
There are a couple of big caveats, however: most of the characters you can obtain are the generic villain and monster classes you fight against. Comparatively there’s only a handful of hero-type characters, and most of them have to be beaten in-game before you’re even eligible to purchase them for your team. So the vast amount of your time (particularly early on) will be spent with a team that has 2-3 actual heroes, and then 2-3 random enemies whose skills or looks you liked. There’s no “hero dossier” type thing, giving you any insight into the heroes themselves, like their backstories or motivations. And the plot which starts out so strong in the intro basically disappears into “okay, now take on these waves of enemies”. It’s nothing that can’t be reasonably fixed, and the mechanics themselves generally carry the game, but it drops it definitely from A-tier down into the B territory, for me. The superhero and comic book aspects are unfortunately little more than window dressing at this point. Hopefully that can change in the future.
There’s a significant amount of planned content to be added in future updates, including a couple new towers (one of which is expected before the end of 2022, the other will hit some point in 2023) and a lot of new enemies (who, like the rest, can be added to your team). While I personally would like to see a bit more hero-specific customization (unlocking higher-tier skills/hidden fusion combinations), there’s plenty here to be excited about. For some, the biggest obstacle is the idea of paying for an idle game – there’s plenty of free ones on Steam and mobile platforms. The big difference is that you’ll NEVER be asked to pay a dime or harassed with popup ads here, and it only costs $5 USD. That’s a very small buy in for a game that could easily be far more content-laden a year from now. If you like the idle genre, this is a pretty easy one to recommend.
CLICK HERE TO BUY HYPERLEAGUE HEROES ON STEAM.
The Chuck is a lifelong gamer who was born in Ohio, but now lives in much closer proximity to Mickey Mouse.
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