As I was shopping the other day I stumbled uponLittle Town Hero a game developed by none other than Game Freak, the developers of a somewhat popular franchise called Pokémon. Being associated with such a strong and powerful name can be quite daunting since everyone will compare you to the latter and expect you to achieve a certain standard.
Little Town Hero suffered a lot from being in this situation, in my opinion, and after the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield, it completely fell into oblivion. So, what made me pick this up now? Well, the Big Idea Edition is just a nice piece to have in my Nintendo Switch Collection and I just couldn’t help myself. Also, I’ve wanted to play this game for a while since it was developed by Game Freak.
Coming to this I didn’t have high expectations since I knew it wasn’t developed by the full force of Game Freak which meant that a fully polished experience would be almost impossible, and I was right. But, despite this, I really enjoyed what this small game had to offer starting with its setting, which is simple but enough to keep me engaged during my entire playthrough.
The whole game is spent around an isolated village protected by a big castle that doesn’t allow anyone to leave. This sounds a bit awful but every villager seems to be content with their life. Except, for a small boy named Axe whose will to see the rest of the world often gets him, and his friends, in trouble. One day, after one of his failed attempts of storming the castle’s gates he met a soldier that was cast out of the castle. The soldier takes a liking to the boy and offers to train him and one day, after one of their regular practices, a monster suddenly appears, and it’s up to Axe and his friends to defeat it and find out where this monster came from.
Battling the monsters is where the core gameplay of this game is and it can be quite entertaining but infuriating at times. Despite being called an RPG, Little Town Hero combat resembles a game like Hearthstone. You have a deck with skills called Izzits that cost Power to be turned into what they call a Dazzit. Once you have a Dazzit you can put it up against your opponent’s own Dazzit with the intent of breaking it. Breaking all of your opponent’s Dazzit will result in a Chance Turn where you’ll be able to attack its hearts, break them all and you win the match. But it’s not as simple as it seems since before reaching the hearts you must break a shield that has a certain amount of points, and it regenerates every time you attack a heart.
Also, to make things a bit more difficult, you can only attack the shield and the hearts with a Red Dazzit, which can only be used once a turn. This really makes you think twice before wasting one and it made me favor the Yellow Dazzits more. Despite not being able to attack the hearts, they can be used several times in a turn until they break. Combining this with the support of Blue Dazzits really made my life easier during each battle.
Still, there’s another major feature that you’ll have to get used to. In every monster battle, you’ll be playing on a board and by the end of each turn, you’ll roll a die to move around. Scattered around the board are several ‘traps’ that can be activated with a certain Dazzit to deal damage to the monster. Also, you’ll find your friends around the board too, and knowing how and when to use them can certainly turn the tide of the battle!
Although I really liked this concept and the gameplay itself I found myself feeling frustrated for how long a single battle took to complete, even if a monster wasn’t particularly strong or difficult. The only monsters that I genuinely found challenging was an optional boss and the last boss. Both took me forever since breaking their shield was a very annoying task… Luckily, there’s a way to further increase your chances of winning.
Being an RPG there is a form of character progression. Although your character doesn’t level up you can improve your Dazzits by spending Eureka Points that you can earn after completing a battle or a side quest. If you walk around the village every chapter you’ll find villagers that need your help and I tried to help as many as I could, not just because I wanted the extra points but because I really enjoyed knowing more about each person in this village, which in turn made me feel more immersed in the game.
The village itself has a considerable area to explore and the reward is usually finding someone that has a quest for you and, some quests will only be available in certain chapters. Miss one and the only way you’ll be able to get it is by starting a new game. The game isn’t that long to complete but there are battles that you’ll probably wish you won’t have to go through again, so keep an eye for those quests during your first playthrough!
One thing that I found amazing was how easily you can tell that this game was made by Game Freak right away, from the character models jank to the annoying roadblocks that prevent me from exploring things from myself, and the simple and linear story. But I do have to give my praises to the monster’s designs, each was unique and detailed! And to flesh them out even further they were given different soundtracks and different sets of skills making each battle feel unique and memorable!
But, is Little Town Hero worth it? Usually, when I get to this part I already know the answer but, this game in particular is very difficult to judge. I really enjoyed it but some of its issues are too visible to ignore no matter how much of a good experience you are having. On the other hand, I can’t also ignore the amount of charm it has. And, it’s true that more than once I felt frustrated with the gameplay but the more I played the more it grew on me.
I really can’t not recommend it since weeks after I put this game down I still have it fresh in my memory, meaning it caused a good impression on me. So, with this said, give it a chance! But, if you have some doubts about it try waiting for a sale since I know that many people might not like the gameplay. And, if you are thinking about getting it, try buying the Big Idea Edition! You can see that a lot of care was put into it and it’s a great piece for anyone’s collection.
Have you played Little Town Hero before? If yes tell me what you think of it and if not, what’s stopping you?