Were you a fan of the “Heroes of Might & Magic” series from about two decades ago? Do you love retro-style pixel art and catchy music that would sound right at home on the Super Nintendo? If so, “Hero’s Hour” might be the game for you.
For those unfamiliar, in “Hero’s Hour,” players will control a hero who recruits armies while moving around a map, capturing resources, and engaging in combat.
Players also start with control of a city, and each turn is represented as a single day. Cities generate gold, the basic resource, as well as recruitable armies; and every day a new building can be added that increases gold crafting capabilities.
The chosen hero and his army can move during that day, take control of resource nodes, find equipment or fight enemies. The basic game cycle is to build an army, maintain your city, and crush the opposition with overwhelming power.
When it comes to battles, “Hero’s Hour” becomes more of an auto-battler, which is a major departure from the “Heroes of Might & Magic” franchise, which uses turn-based battles. You can position units on a map, then they fight the enemy automatically. Players can cast spells and influence the battle to some extent, but cannot directly control units or the hero during combat.
Battles earn the hero’s experience points, which levels the hero, allowing them to choose from a skill tree and grow stronger. Each faction has a unique mechanic, with its own strengths and weaknesses, and each hero has a special skill, as well as a selection of around 50 common skills.
No matter how someone wants to play, this option is available. In my first playthrough, my main hero was a wizard who had a large mana pool and could cast many spells to buff allies and hurt the enemy. I also focused on a skill that increased the size of the army I could take into battle. (Overall, there are nearly 100 spells available.) Being spell-focused, I could heal my units or shield them from ranged attacks, spawn more units directly behind the enemy, and more.
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In a later game with a different hero, I focused on an Oligarchy skill, which gave a huge bonus to attack power and creature health, but allowed me to take less from them. combat – so this hero instead led smaller armies filled with powerful elite units.
After a player’s turn ends, computer armies get their turn. They are like the player – each of them controls a city and a hero and will fight the player and the other. The objective is usually the same: capture all cities on the map.
Capturing another city then adds that city (along with its income and armies) to the player, greatly increasing their strength. Additional heroes can also be recruited, and so in the latter stages of the game it is common to control multiple armies and towns, working to attack other factions and defend your own.
There are a ton of map choices in “Hero’s Hour,” from tiny two-player maps to sprawling six-player continents and multiple neutral factions, with various customizable difficulty settings. There are enough randomization and style choices that no two games are the same.
The decision to use an auto-battler to resolve fights rather than using turn-based tactics is interesting, but I think it’s good. It dramatically speeds up games, allowing them to be completed in an hour or two. It’s always a problem with longer tactical games that many races have to be abandoned in progress as it can take days or more to complete.
It should also be noted that “Hero’s Hour” has full multiplayer support, both player versus player and for co-op, which can take tactics and fun to a whole new level when playing with friends and enemies. .
All in all, “Hero’s Hour” is perfectly suited to what it sets out to do. There is active developer support, which continues even after its March 1 release. Much like the recently-reviewed “Vampire Survivors,” it’s a great game to pick up, kill an hour or two, and put it back to again.
Platform: Windows (Steam, GOG, itch.io)
Rating: 10+ for mild violence
Goal: 7 out of 10