Heroland from XSEED Games is a cute and fun RPG set in a theme park where adventure awaits around every corner. Learn more about this gem in our Heroland review!
Before I start with the review proper, let me tell you something you have to know about the game. Heroland has been directed by Takahiro Yamane, who previously worked on Fantasy Life, is written by Nobuyuki Inoue, who worked on Legend of Mana and MOTHER, the world was created by Nobuhiro Imagawa, who also worked on Legend of Mana and MOTHER, and has music from Tsukasa Masuko from the Shin Megami Tensei. That right there should give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into, and why you should certainly play this one on Nintendo Switch!
For Heroland, you’ll be taking on a 2D/3D adventure in which you’re invited to an awesome theme park where guests take on the role of heroes and heroines. All visitors will be able to explore dungeons, defeat opponents, search for treasure, defeat bosses, and more! This is the perfect opportunity for someone like you to become a hero, right? Well, it turns out that this time around, you won’t be playing the hero since your job is actually to act as a tour guide for all who visit the Heroland theme park.
When you start your new adventure, you will be greeted by Ada as you disembark on the Heroland island. You’re going to be the new temp, working as a guide for guests to have a good time in Heroland. You’ll need to safely guide guests through the dungeons that Heroland has to offer, so that they have the best experience possible – and tell their friends about it! You’ll have to stay in the background while guests do their thing and act as the heroes they’ve always wanted to be.
As you can tell from the trailer and screens for the game in this Heroland review, you will be playing with an art style that is a mix of 2D sprites with an almost 3D feel to them. It’s a design choice that is rather charming, and will probably remind you a bit of what the Paper Mario series has done, but with characters that are a bit… chunkier. It helps to make everyone pop on the screen, which is quite charming.
The better you are at your job, the more decorations you’ll be able to obtain for your room so that you can decorate it with your own personal flair. Ada will get you started with two $tarfish, the currency for Heroland. This is very important since Heroland does not accept any outside currency, so everything must be done in $tarfish. You’ll also get a starter set so that you can do your job. This kit includes a set of acrylic weapons, as well as some recovery medicine for healing minor wounds.
Your room can be decorated with all the items you’ve obtained during your time as a tour guide. These items include new chairs and tables, replicas, plushies, and more! Items are split into three categories – Furniture, Plushies, and Replicas – and each one of the items you find is going to be either a Normal, Rare, or Super Rare item. You can set items on the floor or on the back wall of your character’s room – who another character will nickname as Lucky. Plushies can be obtained from treasure chests, and if you’re lucky, you might end up with enough plushies from a single fight to gift to most of your group, raising their happiness.
You will be joined in this adventure by Prince Elric van der Waals bal bil bulb el Bossee… or more precisely, you’ll be serving him as a guide – serving being the key word. It turns out that Prince Elric has been recently demoted form first in the line of succession to the throne all the way down to the 18th spot. The Prince himself finds this to be a bit funny, which is why he tells Minister Oak, his companion, to call him 18. The Prince will be a constant in your time as a tour guide, and his dialogue will certainly bring a smile to your face.
New adventures will be started from the Departures Lobby, where you will find guests who want to go out on a new journey as the mighty heroes they are. You can check the board in the Departures Lobby to check out a list of the available dungeon tours you can take guests on. You will get to see the tour’s name, the dungeon’s name, the recommended hero level for taking on said adventure if you have any VIP heroes with you, the other heroes’ level, as well as he hit points of each hero in your group. If there are any free spaces, you can add more members to your party from the available heroes, but VIP heroes cannot be switched out.
You will also need to check which is the Monster on Boss Duty, as well as the one on Trash Mob Duty – the regular enemies heroes will face. Another important piece of information is the amount of $tarfish to obtain as a reward for completing the adventure, as well as the potential treasure that can be tracked down and secured along the way. When you start to play the game, you will only have the one adventure available, but that’s to be expected since the first adventure you take on will end up being the tutorial for Heroland.
You will have to build parties of up to four heroes, which is important since that limit is set because the band of legendary heroes who many, many, many years ago fought against the Dark Lord. It turns out that one of those four heroes is Prince Elric’s father, the King of Knowble. Off you’ll go into the Dwarf Griddle Mines, the first dungeon in the game. You’ll be joined by Lua, a fairy who does a lot of talking since, you know, your character doesn’t directly speak. This is why Lua will be doing all the talking on behalf of Lucky.
While at the Departures Lobby, you’ll be able to get your tour group ready for adventure. It is here you’ll be able to change the hero lineup, changed the weapons each hero has equipped, as well as change which items they’re taking into a dungeon. You can only take the items that are stored in your pouch in the designated slots. At first, you won’t have as many slots as you’d expect, but as Lucky levels up, more slots will become available. There is also a limit on how many of an item you can take with you.
You’ll also need to take into consideration a hero’s desired role so that you can match it to the right weapon, in order to be able to maximize their potential when on an adventure. Weapons also have a durability stat, which you will need to keep in mind. Each character will have a set of attacks and skills to consider, as well as different stats for its attack, defense, agility, magic attack, magic defense, and initiative, so if you want to be successful you should try to have a rounded out group so that you can make the best out of your quest!
The heroes at the front lines are more likely to be attacked by monsters than those who are sent to the back, so you better not forget it! A hero’s hit points are a very important stat since it will determine how much damage it can withstand before being knocked out. If the hit points of all of the group’s members fall down to zero, then the tour will end up being canceled. Once a hero has accumulated enough MonCoin, it will be able to level up, growing stronger in the process. Heroes will also have side-quests they’ll be working towards completing, as well as a friendship level. Once a hero has managed to obtain a certain amount of hearts, its character skills will evolve as it levels up.
The desired role of a hero will dictate the character classes that each hero would like to play during the tour. This will determine their preferred weapons and the stats they will have. For example, if a guest wants to be a Healer, then that means said hero will prefer to use tablets to match its higher magic attack and magic defense stats. Since it has low attack and defense stats, a Healer hero is a guest that is best suited to being sent to the back of the line so that it’s not receiving a ton of damage at the front of the battle.
Weapons are actually rented out to heroes from Lucky’s private arsenal. Each weapon you provide to a hero will have a different power stat, which will dictate how much damage it can deal as well as its recovery rate – dealing more damage or allowing a hero to heal other party members with ease. It will also have skill points (SP), which will dictate the number of times a skill can be used during a single tour. Weapon skills, as expected, will require SP to be used, and they also need to charge up over time. If a weapon does not break at the end of a tour, then its SP will be replenished in full, but if it breaks… well, no one wants that, right?
Once you’re out on tour proper, you’ll be able to advance through a dungeon by moving over the different panels that determine a dungeon’s layout. You can only move over one panel at a time, and you’ll be using Lua as a pointer that will help you select the path you’ll be taking. Panels will have an event, a treasure, or a monster for you to battle. Your objective as a guide will be to, well, guide your group through the tour and towards the goal panel so that you can call it a day.
When in battle, heroes will act on their own, weighing in all the options available to them. A hero might decide it’s best to do a normal attack at the start of a battle, charging up a weapon skill to deal the killing blow in their next turn. A hero’s initiative will dictate when they can take an action, determining how fast and when it can bust a move. If your group wins a battle, it will be rewarded with MonCoin, which acts as the experience points of Heroland. Once a tour is over, the MonCoin won by the party will be split among all members.
Lucky can assist the group once its meter has been fully charged. When the meter is full, press the X button so that you can then select an action. You can then instruct a hero to use a regular attack, a weapon skill, a character skill, or simply guard to lower the damage it would receive from enemy attacks, use an item from your pouch to change the tide of battle, strategize by using a flag that will signal the whole party to do something in particular, and even study your opponents to learn new things. The higher Lucky’s level, the faster his assist meter will fill up!
As you meet more and more monsters while exploring dungeons, your MonDex will start to fill up. In it, you’ll be able to find the name of a monster as well as a description of what makes it tick. You’ll also learn about its attributes so that you can find out its weaknesses. There is also a handy table that will show you the MonCoin your party will obtain from defeating it, as well as any items it might have dropped after you’re victorious. The more monsters you defeat, the more packed your MonDex will be!
Heroland is a blast to play on Nintendo Switch. The gameplay mechanics are easy to pick up, the game’s art style is solid and charming, and the writing is top-notch. There’s a ton of things to do as you work towards covering the debt you incurred in when that somehow insanely expensive vase broke during your first day on the job. There are many guests to guide as heroes, several main quests, and free side-quests to take on to grind some extra MonCoin and items, a Blacksmith where you can craft new weapons for your guests, and more. I highly recommend you get Heroland on Nintendo Switch!
This Heroland review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by XSEED Games.