Friday, October 5

Review: Vertical Drop Heroes HD [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Just like in other areas like food or other forms of popular entertainment not everything can be a masterpiece, and honestly nor should they be. While dining on fine cuisine or a perfectly-prepared marbled steak is nice there are also times when you just want to throw back some fast food for the pure enjoyment of it, even if it isn’t nearly as good. In many regards that’s the sort of place I’ve landed with Vertical Drop Heroes HD, a title that has some elements that work well enough but can’t really shake its “fast food” elements… making it, at best, a filler title to enjoy in bursts.

For the most part if you’re familiar with the essence of a typical roguelike you’ll understand the deal here. Dynamically-generated levels, you’ll have your choice of heroes with a variety of attributes and weapons to start with as a base, and unlockable progression elements for when you go on subsequent runs. There’s actually a fair amount of variety in your heroes that you can choose from as you unlock more skills and improve your stats, and certainly their supplemental skills can have a massive influence on your success. The ramp up in difficulty as you go up in levels is definitely there, and in general as you improve your core stats and learn the ways the game systems work you’ll get further and further along, with an option to jump to higher levels at the start once you get the unlock if it starts to all feel too easy.

That said, there’s no escaping the fact that while some details may change from run to run in terms of your heroes and the level layouts the majority of it remains roughly the same, at least from a gameplay perspective. Every time you go through there will be differences, just from a mechanical gameplay standpoint it still can get stale pretty quickly. What may be most odd is how unceremoniously you’ll tend to suddenly die, the ramp up in difficulty, when you hit your limit, tends to hit you like a brick wall. The fact that your character just disappears and then you’re done always seems a bit odd, I don’t need an elaborate ceremony but in a few cases it took me a few seconds to even realize I was done.

In the end I’m torn on Vertical Drop Heroes HD. It’s not a horrible game but it’s also hard to generate much enthusiasm for it, especially when this genre is well (and better) represented on the console already. If you’re looking for something to pick up, play for a few minutes, and then put down I suppose it can scratch that level of itch well enough. However, if you’re planning to give it an hour or so at a time it doesn’t take long for the novelty of the title to wear off and for the monotony to set in.

Score: 6

  • A reasonable variety in heroes and their skills once you start unlocking things
  • Well-suited to quick pick-up-and-put-down play sessions
  • There is progression from run to run, helping you get further along and see new things

  • Sustained play tends towards tedium
  • There are better roguelikes already on the system in a comparable price range
  • You can very much feel the more humble roots of its origin in overly simple (and thus ultimately dull) play and mechanics