Game Reviews

Cute Heroes

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| Cute Heroes
Cute Heroes
| Cute Heroes

This is a freemium game review, in which we give our impressions immediately after booting a game up, again after three days, and finally after seven days. That's what the strange sub-headings are all about. Click on the links to jump straight to day three or day seven.

There are approximately one trillion heroes that you can refer to as being "cute".

The Powerpuff Girls, for example, are just about the most adorable superheroes on the planet, while Alvin and his chipmunk pals do that adorable high-pitched thing with their voices as they attempt to save the local rec centre. Kirby has "kawaii" written all over his plump pink body, and the boy in Limbo is simply adorable as he gamely endures brutal death after brutal death.

So what is it about the cute heroes in Cute Heroes that will make them stand out? I'm going to try and find out over the next seven days.

First impressions

Cute Heroes is a war of attrition, gamified.

You have a base, and so does your opponent, and you have to send out troops from yours to attack hers. You can only generate a certain number of soldiers - based on how much meat you have - but you do get to pick what type of soldier they are: weak and disposable cannon fodder, or heavily armoured killing machines

Each type requires a certain amount of meat, which is collected gradually or through finding some on the battlefield, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses against different enemy types.

Additional stat bonuses are conferred to you should you build a specific number of troops all in one go, further adding to the building strategy.

For instance, you consider building a few heavy soldiers, which are much more powerful than regular troopers in normal circumstances. But if you build nine regular troopers at once they all receive an attack bonus, changing the equation.

As you push onwards, you can capture houses in the middle of the combat area, and in doing so you are helped in battle by their residents. You also have access to special powers, such as lightning strikes, which can turn the tide of war in your favour.

It's complex stuff, but so far it's been very approachable too. I'm wondering how much it's going to ramp up in the days to come.

Day 3: Brawn over brains

There's a healthy sense of humour, and even sweetness, to the violent acts in Cute Heroes. The zombies have comically large heads, and whenever you zap them with lightning they wear a look of surprise before turning into heaps of ash.

Often, when you kill an enemy in hand-to-hand combat, he remains stationary for a moment before Death personified swoops down to take him away.

Outside of the battling, I'm levelling-up my character to unlock access to new equipment, and then equipping it whenever I can.

This makes your entire army stronger, more robust, faster on its feet, and so on.

Although this levelling-up mechanic bolsters the single-player, it can make real online battles against human players feel one-sided. I jumped into the multiplayer for a little bit, but I don't fancy returning as I got roundly walloped by an opponent who was simply far too powerful for me.

It's another case of “might makes right” in online multiplayer that skews the chances of victory towards whoever has the highest level equipment – paid for through IAPs or sheer bloody-minded grind.

Day 7: Wrong direction

I'm flying through Cute Heroes now, sticking to the easier difficulty levels so that I can see everything new that the game has hidden away.

I can always come back to harder challenges, but the fun is in progressing, seeing more of the game's excellent character design and unlocking new units to toy with.

I've also been continuing to upgrade the units I already have, splurging a little currency on two early improvements for the Bowmen and Farmers. This makes the units I use most frequently a lot stronger. They're also cheap to field, and I tend to find that this works well with my general strategy of overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers.

But still I'm finding that the tactical play relies too heavily on strength rather than ingenuity. If you invest more in the game than your opponent you'll have better equipment and soldiers, and that's all you'll need.

Not having direct control over your troops can also be a source of frustration. Their AI is pretty poor, and on several occasions they seemed incapable of deciding whether to attack an enemy or capture a base, so they dithered between the two.

You can vaguely point them in the right direction by tapping the unit you'd like them to focus on, but I didn't find this solved the issue in every instance.

That being said, Cute Heroes is still a decent way to pass the time - especially in its bountiful single-player mode. The fast moving and simple combat - with loads of troops on-screen - makes for an enjoyable grind.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below.

Cute Heroes

Cute Heroes is a great looking, but ultimately shallow war of attrition, where only the strongest can compete effectively