Review: Flick Heroes08 Jul 2017 2
Review: Flick Heroes
Released 31 May 2017
There are two kinds of freemium games: one where the payment apparatus is designed to support the game, and one where a game apparatus is design to support payments. Thankfully, Flick Heroes is an example of the latter, and the core game is just compelling enough to justify the irritation of the payment model.
Flick Heroes uses the standard elements of freemium play: virtual currency, mystery boxes, and upgrade timers. You'll earn piles of coins from completing levels, which you can use to upgrade your characters. Timers will get in your way, increasing geometrically as your upgrades become more powerful. Paying money (or watching ads) are your way of skipping these timers. If you play frequently, your cash on hand will probably quickly outstrip your training timers, depending on how many ads you are willing to watch.
The treasure chests are less important. They contain piles of coins, limited boosters, and stat-boosting equipment; they are also the only place to get new characters if you don't want to pay for them directly. You'll never hit a wall that can't be overcome with the tools you get for free, so all the coins and treasure chests and training are ultimately an unnecessary distraction from what is otherwise a pretty good casual action RPG game with mechanics tailor-made for mobile.
Let's all take a moment to appreciate Blizzard's inspired division of combat labor into tanks, DPS and healers, which now seems bog-standard in party-based RPGs. Flick Heroes likewise has a few damage-dealers, a few healers, some buffers, and specialist classes. These latter ones are the most fun to play, requiring a little more thought to get their bonuses. The Rogue, for example, gets to go again if she kills an enemy on her turn, and her active special ability gives bonus damage if you knock her around with another character. So it's a good strategy to save her for last and set up several wounded enemies for her to finish off. Character upgrades are often more than just higher levels of damage, and can seriously change the way you use a character. The Alchemist initially only gives allies a speed boost, but upgrades also add a chance of giving the ally another turn. The 'flicking' action is sensitive to speed and force and feels good on mobile, and the game can even be played one-handed.
But, what could be a kind of tactical fantasy billiards is instead half blind luck. A good starting move is to 'break' your clustered characters with your heavy-hitter, sending them careening through the battlefield and taking chips off the health of the enemies. Other levels require more care to keep your guys alive, but still others do all the work for you with moving walls and walkways that kick your pieces all around without you having to lift a finger. Only some levels are really difficult, needing thought, care, and several tries to pass. But, no level is really brainless either. Each level adds something new: a new enemy type or a new obstacle. Or the level combines hazards in a new way. The variety of obstacles is large, including mud, ice, lava, switches, crates, explosives, and more. Boss characters show up every ten levels, and you can pick up the aforementioned treasure boxes in these levels.
The visuals are likewise clearly Warcraft inspired-cartoon fantasy. The enemies are the universal vermin of the fantasy realm, the greenskin orcs and goblins (it would have been nice to see an occasional change of color). The backgrounds are made up as though playing on an actual tabletop, with play boards appearing to be built of corrugated cardboard. The one major concession to whimsy is the Ham Knight class -- a tank that uses a side of ham to taunt opponents and recover health. The Genie is also a clever and unique character -- wielding a long sword she passes right through enemies without bouncing off. Other characters are less inspired, like the dark-skinned half-naked shaman woman with a snake. The effects are fun, with pieces flying in the air when they are knocked out of the game and leaving axes and swords strewn across the battlefield.
For the price of no dollars, Flick Heroes is easy to recommend as a casual, mobile-focused ARPG. I can't suggest spending much more than that on it, but you won't need to.