Hero Siege by Panic Art Studios is a twist on the classic hack-and-slash gameplay that we’re all familiar with. Hero Siege takes your average dungeon crawler RPG, sets it up to have monsters attack in waves instead of being discovered, then adds randomly generated dungeons and large arenas full of traps and treasures that shift around each wave. The result? Well, read on…
Hero Siege definitely surprised me. When I started playing I expected a so-so arcade knock-off, but the game really shines in its ability to cement its own flavor of dungeoneering. In reality it’s more of a Rogue Legacy meets The Binding of Isaac sort of shmup, where when you die, you’re reset to the very beginning, but you get to keep the levels you’ve gained and all of your achievements.
As you play more, though, you realize that what you find throughout each individual playthrough is really what will make or break the game for you. There’s a very real sense of gradual progression that you get from multiple playthroughs which pushes you to start up more and more sessions to see what the game is really like at higher levels.
You’re offered a small selection of classes to choose from at first; your basic Warrior, Mage, and Archer archetypes take shape as the Viking, Pyromancer and Marksman. Several other classes are left to be unlocked by means that are not immediately alluded to. You fight monsters in waves and those monsters drop scads of treasure and items. You have potions with random effects, weapons with unique properties to augment your normal attacks, and sometimes statues appear that can alter your base stats.
Money, which you acquire great amounts of, can be used to buy small stat boosts that last the duration of the session, or timed potions that grant significantly larger boosts. There are also keys which open specific treasure chests that you can buy with crystals, the game’s premium currency. These crystals can be used to buy cosmetic upgrades for your character too, and are bought for real-money in Hero Siege’s mobile versions. Crystals are, while exceptionally rare, still dropped throughout the game though.
Hero Siege’s gameplay is solid. At first, you feel clunky and a little slow. Not many of your attacks will be as effective as you want, and the first couple times you level up you’ll wonder what the point was. The brilliant bit here is that it is a very subtle progression. When you’re starting out it won’t feel like you’re achieving much, but after you die and start over a few times you’ll quickly realize how much stronger those four or five levels made you.
Hero Siege does have its fair share of issues, at least in the current build. There are a few bugs here and there, which nearly kept me from playing on startup, but the tendency is to grant a little slack to newly released games. There are instant-death traps in the form of high damage spikes and rotating lasers that get kind of annoying in those situations where you’ve made a great deal of progress, then your concentration slips for a second and suddenly you have to start all over. Though perhaps I’m used to being hand-fed more forgiving traps in other games; I’m not sure which I resent more.
Overall, the Hero Siege experience is an impressive one. The game is still in the early stages of release and distribution, and is currently on Steam Greenlight. Hero Siege is available on a variety of platforms.
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One of the game’s developers was also featured in our article 5 GameMaker Success Stories »