Review: Battleheart 226 Jul 2018 0
Review: Battleheart 2
Released 12 Jul 2018
Despite the fact that the original pick-up-and-play role-playing game Battleheart made its debut seven years ago, it's hardly lost a lick of its charm. Unfortunately, follow-up Battleheart Legacy was bereft of much of the charm and pull of the first game, leaving players to tinker with Battleheart until Mika Mobile finally released a true sequel in Battleheart 2. Now that it's available for iOS devices with an Android release to follow soon enough, it's proven itself another formidable casual twist on classic RPG tropes that's easy enough for even newcomers to enjoy.
Though the world of Battleheart 2 is rife with classic RPG classes such as mages and knights, it's curiously bereft of any deep narrative. For that matter, it's a fairly light application, launching quickly and offering a tutorial or a way for veterans to jump right into battle. The tutorial is the only way ahead of being thrust straight into battle to glean any sort of plot thread information, with a female ally relating that the "fair land" of Battleheart is "once again in turmoil."
This sequel follows the assassination of the king that ruled over the realm from five years ago, which caused a bit of a shakeup in the kingdom. King Marcus apparently died without an heir, so the Capital has simply remained without a ruler the entire time. There are a dozen various noble houses currently vying to wear his crown, and while they're all preoccupied with that, monsters and other creatures have invaded the countryside. While the useless Royal Guard sits by and does nothing, it's up to you and a band of brave heroes to save the day and eliminate the advancing threats.
With that explained, it's off to the races, so to speak. Battleheart 2's minimalistic menu lets you run off into battle, adjust your party, select gear and talents assigned to each character, or go online to enjoy some multiplayer matches. Available missions can be selected in any order from the map screen at your leisure. You can even choose to tackle a formidable boss fight whenever you think you can handle it instead of going in numerical order. Your first order of business, however, should be assembling four adventurers out of the dozen or so unlocked at the game’s start. You can choose from an interesting assortment, each with about a paragraph of unique backstory.
You can select a powerful Knight, a Cleric with the gift of healing, the Berserker with physical attack prowess, and even magicians like the Frost Mage, with various elemental magic that can deal devastating blows to the enemy at long range. Assembling a formidable party is what will ensure continued victories as you play through the game's scattered missions, as you'll need a healer or an equivalent, no doubt, and appropriate party members to provide for you in any situation. Foregoing any sort of healer isn't a great idea, as you'll soon find that all four party members are knocked out within a shockingly short amount of time. It’s up to you to continually change out targets that need healing, however, because party members often won’t simply swap over to the next fighter in dire need of a health boost.
It's all part of the very important strategy you'll need to employ as you take to the battlefield and control all four of your adventurers simultaneously. Using the game's touch controls, you'll complete a series of bite-sized battles where you fight off various waves of enemies. To control a character, you'll simply tap on the one you want to control and drag it to an enemy or ally. You can also simply drag them to an empty spot on the map, and the character will head there in a hurry. Targeting allies with healing magic and buffs is simple, and the nature of the game means your actions will simply be repeated ad infinitum until the battle is over, or until you change something.
It's a no-frills and intuitive system, though unfortunately sometimes your assignments don't seem to take. For the most part, however, it's painless to direct your characters. It can get a little frustrating when several enemies are clumped up onscreen and tangled up with allies, which can call for some strategic movement around the battlefield. Otherwise, since the game's in 2D, it's easy to change up the path of a character and get them to a more manoeuvrable space quickly. The situations in which you can't, however, will often result in a few deaths that could easily have been prevented. Adding some sort of way to select characters beyond tapping on them would help make this less of an issue in the future, perhaps.
Each character also has abilities beyond their simplistic melee and primary attacks or buffs, and you can unlock additional skills as the game progresses. When you find the perfect combination of characters for your party, you'll want to stick with them because of this system. Unfortunately, this leaves little reason to explore the other characters available at the onset when you find four heroes that work best for you, making for an adventure that will eventually devolve into a bit of banality.
There's a good amount of automation happening in Battleheart 2, but there's still plenty for you to orchestrate, meaning it's not a game that wholly plays itself, like several others on the market. While it’s largely unchanged from the first game, it still delivers enough satisfying combat and great-looking environments to be worth buying into, especially if you’re jonesing for more of the same formula.
With that said, it's the perfect way to kill some time while on your commute to work, waiting at the doctor's office, or any time you want to jump into an RPG-flavored world without the lengthy introductions, lore setup, or being forced into character roles you don’t want at the onset. For RPG combat on your terms, Battleheart 2 delivers in spades.