June 11, 2015 12:30 PM | John Bridgman
Billing itself as the spiritual successor to their classic Quest for Glory series, Lori and Corey Cole's Hero U is approaching the end of its Kickstarter campaign. Sitting just past $90,000 of the $100,000 goal, the multi genre title's crowdfunding drive ends Monday, June 15th.
Telling the story of Shawn O'Conner, hero, rogue, and student at the titular Hero University. Mixing 3D environments and 2D artwork for important scenes, Shawn socializes and develops his skills at the ancient castle of the school, while fighting and exploring beneath the school to discover its dark secrets and unravel his father's mysterious disappearance.
The combat takes place in tactical RPG style, which should contrast well with the adventure and interactive novel elements of the school portion. In fact, the game promises to play differently in accordance to the player's style. Offering RPG, adventure, romance, mystery, and interactive novel gameplay, Hero U looks to offer something for everyone.
There are currently two playable demos available, each showing off a different style of play. Playable is the first scene of the game in adventure game style, as well as a sample of the RPG style combat. It is nice for a Kickstarter project to offer gameplay samples before backers put money down, and since Hero U tries to implement so much, giving an idea of what's intended is definitely welcome.
The adventure demo introduces you to Shawn and his ambitions towards thievery. There's a lot to examine and interact with as you explore the environment, which showcases both the 3D and 2D artwork well. The 2D in particular is of high quality, bringing a lot of detail to the area. What quickly becomes apparent is the game's sense of humour. If you don't like puns you're going to be put off, as Shawn has one for almost every object and it may get old fast for some.
As for the combat prototype, it's a good introduction to the RPG combat and exploration of the area under the school. You learn quickly how to do both ranged and melee combat as well as handling traps, picking locks, and using items. Fortunately, it doesn't take long at all to understand the interface and control, though the information given in combat is a little lacking.
Hero U looks like it has a lot going for it. Its humour is referential and very heavily based on puns, which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there's little doubt that it helps define Shawn as a character as well as the setting of the world. Aiming for release in March 2016, this is a title worth paying attention to.