Set in a world inspired by the classic tale “Journey to the West”, Unruly Heroes has you swapping between four heroes in order to save the land from an endless night. As an action-platformer, you’ll be taking down your enemies and overcoming some challenging platforming areas, but only if your reflexes are quick enough.
You are instantly able to switch between four playable characters, each with their own unique abilities and fighting style. Some are more agile and can double jump, making it easy (or even possible) to traverse through certain platforming challenges, whilst others possess other similar abilities that need to be called upon for other situations.
Traversing the levels and engaging in combat is smooth and runs without a hitch. All enemies have health bars, as well as the characters that the player(s) controls, so taking on enemies has more depth to it than many other 2D platformers. When one of your four characters dies, you simply swap out to another character and getting them back is to simply strike their bubble. Whilst this does make the game somewhat easier, taking away a lot of the risk in the challenge, the game does get significantly more difficult as it progresses. The co-op mode allows for up to four players at once, turning what could have been a stock-standard single player experience into a much more engaging one.
There are 100 coins scattered throughout each level, which can be spent to unlock new skins. These coins are nice to be optional and provide neat aesthetic bonuses throughout the game. In addition to the coins, there are also scrolls that can be obtained by overcoming some more difficult platforming challenges. These scrolls unlock breathtakingly beautiful artwork that can be viewed in the Extras menu.
We noticed that when exiting a level and re-entering it, you don’t start at a recently activated checkpoint, rather you start at the beginning. Whilst this doesn’t come across too frequently, it just seems like unnecessary frustration.
There are some subtle HD Rumble effects, but nothing special. You’ll mainly notice it in combat, however the controller stays still for other moments where it may have benefited from a little movement.
The plot of Unruly Heroes is inspired by “Journey to the West” which if you aren’t familiar with, is a classic Chinese novel in which the Monkey king, with the help of a few other “unruly heroes”, travel in order to restore balance and harmony.
Unruly Heroes doesn’t take itself too seriously, with great tongue-in-cheek humour that makes the story all the more endearing. As the game progresses, it becomes more about simply going from one level to the next, however it does have the occasional moment that reminds the player of its fun and creativity.
World / Level Design
Don’t expect much in terms of exploration as every level consists of making your way from start to finish in a very linear fashion. There are some hidden sections that do contain some minor bonuses or short challenges, but the majority of each level mainly takes a what-you-see-is-what-you-get approach.
Unruly Heroes certainly has some creative platforming puzzles that will have you stopping for a moment to formulate a plan of attack and you’ll need to get accustomed to each character’s abilities to get the most out of the gang. The level designs start off simple enough, but the game later takes fun and creative twists to feel like one that truly stands out amongst the 2D platforming genre.
Some platforming challenges just seem awkward to proceed through. There is a fine line between difficulty and awkwardness when it comes to platformers, and Unruly Heroes tends to divide its time equally on both sides.
Graphics / Art Design
The art style is gorgeous, with 3D rendered models and incredible lighting effects that makes the environments pop. Character designs stand out with fantastic detail, with each one having their own distinct personality and charm.
The art style takes on a very eastern influence, as is the setting and theme of the game. If you stop once in a while to admire the background, you’ll notice eastern structures and details that highlights the themes of the game.
The attention to detail is sometimes incredible, with beautiful backdrops and wildlife interacting with the foreground and background. Unruly Heroes also picks its moments to show off its detail; during difficult platform sections, the background becomes basic, however in between these moments when the gameplay is flat, you’ll often see a beautiful backdrop with gorgeous eastern-inspired sceneries.
Music / Sound Design
Immediately from the main menu screen, you are introduced to beautiful serene music that has you looking forward to an adventure full of wonder and magic. The eastern influence is dominantly seen (or heard) in the soundtrack, with truly fantastic pieces performed with authentic Chinese instruments. My favourite use of the music is flicking through the levels as you unlock them as each one plays a new note. When done from start to finish (or vice versa), it plays a beautiful solo piece that is just a neat touch.
The entire game has voice acting, which is always welcomed in indie games. Most of the voice acting is well done, yet there are odd moments where jokes either seem mistimed or delivered in a way that can make the player cringe a little.
Final score: 81%
Unruly Heroes is a well-crafted platformer that beautifully captures the eastern influences that it is based around. Despite being a little rough around the edges at times, the game is well executed and is definitely a game for anyone who loves a good action-platformer.
Do you agree with our score? Will you be checking out Unruly Heroes yourself? Let us know in the Comments section below.