18th Oct2019

‘Little Town Hero’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

little-town-hero-2

Game Freak seem to be taking some flak for moving away from the Pokemon franchise, which they have been synonymous with for quite some time. In truth, Little Town Hero doesn’t deviate too far from the card-battling formula. With a surprisingly in-depth battle system and being set in a quaint, odd little village, it may not be to everyone’s tastes but I can see the idiosyncratic design really appealing to some.

You play as a red-haired child who dreams of venturing beyond the confines of his village. No-one else (apart from a handful of your friends) seem bothered by the fact that they are effectively prisoners and so you yearn to become a soldier at the towering castle that looms prettily over the village and townsfolk.

The main draw here is the intricate (possibly overly-so, for some) battle system. Whilst the developer’s release statement mentions that the game is designed ‘with the busy gamer in mind’, heed not their porky pies, some of the battles in this game can take thirty minutes and beyond. You have ‘ideas’ in battle called ‘izzits’ which, when selected turn into ‘dazzits’ that can be used in the battle. As well as balancing out each attack / defence / usage of these, there are other special selections that can lower your enemies turns, attacks, defence etc. and on top of this…there are certain environmental advantages which can be landed on (you randomly move around a set track in each area) and made use of, if you have enough points and of course, the correct ‘dazzits’. The complex battle system does make the first several hours of the game feel somewhat of a lengthy tutorial, with new options being introduced over quite a period of time. It reminded me of a friend’s (and fellow Nerdly writer, Rupert Harvey) description of the first five hours of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

little-town-hero-1

Tied to this multi-layered battle system is a pretty gentle story which kind of happens incidentally as you progress. Whilst there are various sub-quests, they mostly involve talking to everyone and piecing together ‘thoughts’ which need to be structured in the correct order to pass the puzzles and quests.

There are a few things in the game however, that do detract from the fun of it. Aside from feeling quite ‘locked-down’ and structured (there are no real secrets or collectibles off the beaten track), the fact that you are in a village and the surrounding farms etc. for a large part of the game means that there’s not a great deal of variety and no real sense of threat, it’s all very child-like and innocent, which is fine, but worth nothing.

Other issues are the camera which again seems quite ‘locked’, meaning that you don’t get a sense of fluidity and freedom from it which is possibly linked to the relatively constant frame-rate issues that unfortunately leak through the game, even making the evocative, scene-setting music (by Toby Fox of Undertale fame) occasionally stutter.

Little Town Hero is a fun game but feels like it needs a few sneaky patches to make it flow. A lot of the issues mentioned here feel like they could be cleaned up but the main draw of the battle system will make or break it for the player. Each battle can feel either like a repetitive grind or a lengthy, cerebral challenge, depending on your view. Personally, I’m not sure if I would play to the end, as, although the attacks and options do have different names, they mostly appear the same on-screen when you use them (leap towards them and clatter the enemy with your pick-axe) so it didn’t grab me in a way that I thought it would. There’s not enough variety in the visuals (the townsfolk NPC models are re-used surprisingly often, now that I think of it) and I wasn’t invested in the story.

I don’t tend to give scores in my reviews but this feels like a 3/5 game, one for fans of finicky battle systems, a game that will probably be unearthed as an overlooked gem in ten years or so. For now, it feels like it’s a patch or two away from being the game it should be.

Little Town Hero is available on the Nintendo Switch now.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Off

Comments are closed.