PSA: Pocket Heroes is kind of a drag

By Owen Faraday 18 Jul 2012 0
Can't remember the last time a tutorial killed me. Can't remember the last time a tutorial killed me.


It gives me no pleasure to say this, but Pocket Heroes is no fun. I'm just as smitten with the concept as I was a week ago but in execution I feel let down.

The logline for Pocket Heroes is brilliant: a co-operative iOS RPG you play asynchronously with your friends. If you don't love that idea, you weren't held enough as a baby. But as the examples of Croesus of Lydia and Billy from Gremlins taught us, we don't always get what we think we're getting.

In Pocket Heroes, your character takes a turn, then you hand the action off to a friend and wait for the turn to pass back - no newsflash here, this is just how asynchronous games work. The problem is that Pocket Heroes just doesn't give you enough to do on your turn.

When you play a turn of Ascension or Outwitters, you have a nice, meaty selection of tactical decisions to make. You might take that turn in the span of less than a minute, but when you're done, you feel like you've been challenged. In my experience, a turn of Pocket Heroes consisted of pushing the "attack" button three times and ending my turn. It took less than ten seconds and was about as fulfilling as George Jetson's job.

Now, if the rest of your party is totally on the ball and snapping turns back and forth, I'm sure Pocket Heroes is a blast. But I've had a hell of a busy week, and I might have had two or three opportunities in the course of a whole day to sit down with Pocket Heroes. Matt King from the forums and I have been playing since this past weekend, and we just beat the tutorial last night. I died in the tutorial, by the way.

I've seen forum posts on BGG, NeoGAF, and elsewhere describe a game that's riddled with bugs and UI shortcomings - I didn't have a single technical problem with Pocket Heroes, for what it's worth. I should also point out that the BGG iOS guys really liked this game, and I get the impression that they got a lot further than I did.

Don't confuse this post with a review - I've barely scratched this game, and it would be ludicrous for someone who's seen so little of the content to pass any informed judgement on it. But that in itself is my judgement - Pocket Heroes isn't a very accessible game for people with real life stuff to do. And that's a shame.

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