Vanquish a resurging evil in Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar
Let’s start out this review with a bit of backstory; several years ago I was an avid flash gamer. Kongregate was totally my jam. I spent more time than I should on that site leveling up, earning badges, and gaming my heart out. As time went on I grew bored of flash games and focused on more in-depth PC games. I had all but forgotten the way of the flash game. Well, I’m happy to say that last week good old nostalgia hit me right in the face in the form of the newly-released Steam game, “Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar.
Kolhar is a simple, exciting, and fast-paced RPG which places you in control of a band of heroes on a quest from the queen to vanquish an evil which surfaces around every 100 years. The gameplay mechanics are relatively similar, with battles taking placed in a turn-based manner featuring an “action bar” a la Final Fantasy IV (among others). Characters, rather than being player-controlled, perform a standard attack automatically with their equipped weapon when the bar is filled. Each character may have up to five equipped skills, which can be controlled independently of the action bar and allow players to use them as they see fit. Each skill comes with a cooldown time, so it is up to players to use their skills to attack, buff, debuff, and heal wisely in order to achieve victory. Encounters also come in sets of marathon battles, with all damage, status changes, and earned items carrying over from one battle to the next.
While much of the game’s playstyle is rather straight forward, there are few unique features to be noted. First, is the leveling system. Rather than coming with a fixed stat growth per level, the game presents the character with three randomly-selected stats and allows the player to select one to upgrade. While this may seem frustrating, it actually helps you keep your characters at least somewhat balanced. Level-ups are also only available in battle, meaning that your characters gradually become stronger as they fight. The item system is also quite unique. On the left side of the screen is a vertical bar made of of five squares. Each battle in won nets you a randomly-given item, effected by the Luck stat. When all boxes are filled and a sixth item is won, the item in the bottom box (indicated with a red exclamation mark) disappears in order to make room for the new item. The player may however sort items in the bar as they wish, meaning that powerful equipment and potions can be kept at the top in order to preserve them. New items may also be equipped at any time during the battle and include shields and weapons. Armor is also available, but must be crafted at the blacksmith using materials obtained from events and by trading in equipment that the player no longer needs. The style of gameplay combined with these unique features make battles very fun, and the fast-paced combat system keeps the game from getting stale. Even at higher character levels, the game presents itself in such a way that does allow the player to merely sit there while the characters do nothing but attack. I was always on my toes with each encounter, and it was really quite a good feeling.
While the game is indeed flash-based, I felt as though certain things could have been improved upon. The graphics are my first area of concern. While character portraits are good, and everything is quite crisp and clear. I felt as though the movement of the heroes felt a little too, for lack of a better term, “flash game-y”. I understand that graphics were not the number one concern with the game, but I feel as though a different approach could have been taken in order to make characters move more fluidly. While character movement was good, it felt too much like I was back on a flash game website as opposed to playing a game purchased though Steam.
I was unimpressed with the music as well. The selection of songs was rather shallow, sporting a track consisting of a handful of map and story-based songs, and a set of four or five in-battle themes which looped in a circle. I would not have been bothered by a smaller soundtrack if the music was truly inspiring. As much asI hate being blunt, I really must say that this was not the case with this game’s soundtrack.
The game also seemed to bug out a few times. I personally had trouble with creating armor for my characters at the Blacksmith (weapon and shield creation always worked fine). The game seemed to only want to allow me to smith a certain armor set for characters, or allow me to smith as I please but act as though nothing had happened until the next combat session. In one case, the game flat-out refused to let me smith the final armor set for a character (Benedict, to be specific) and permanently locked me out of the option. Nothing I tried seemed to fix it. Also, while it may not be a bug, the Charisma stat seemed rather obsolete. It was described as a stat which makes random events happen more often, but you could literally get new events just by entering and exiting the Blacksmith. Maybe it had something to do with what kind of events occurred, but it was never made clear in any way at all.
Stat distribution was also a little wonky in a sense. Naturally, stats could be increased by leveling up. This feature worked absolutely fine; no complaints here. Stats were also raised or, in some cases, lowered through the random evens which occurred on the map. While the permanent stat increases and decreases were a very neat feature, it never told me how sever of a stat change characters were undergoing, or even which character(s) underwent the change of the event. The ambiguity of it all was really very frustrating, and made me question whether or not the events were even worth it in the first place.
Despite what I’ve had to say, Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar is honestly a good game at its core. While certain elements of the game may not be preferable, the combat was incredibly fun and addicting. I was honestly sad after I had beaten the game because I wanted more to do. While I do think that the game could use a bit of a re-design, it’s honestly still worth checking out. The reason I was so harsh on the game was because I felt as though it was entitled to a bit of patching up. It deserves it, and I mean that in the best of ways. I would still recommend at least checking it out. If you can manage to look past certain things, you’ll see that it is truly a very fun game and you most likely will find yourself being unable to put it down until the very end.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed) ; Publisher: Phoenix Online Publishing; Developer: Cuve Games; Players: 1; Released: August 21, 2014; Genre: RPG; MSRP: $9.99
Note: This review is based on a PC review copy provided by the game’s publisher, Phoenix Online Publishing.