Review – Unruly Heroes
Unruly Heroes, a new action-adventure game from Magic Design Studios available now on PC, Switch, and Xbox One, is the best-looking game of 2019, which doesn’t seem like a particularly high bar to clear in the first month of the year, but it’s entirely likely that’ll still be the case in December – it’s just that impressive looking.
The 2D action adventure game features a hand-drawn illustration style that’s reminiscent of Rayman Legends, with gorgeous backdrops and colourful characters that are full of life. Even the camera work is exceptional, using zooming cameras to set up cutscenes with style.
Players control one of four characters, each of which sports unique combat and non-combat abilities – like double jump, for example, which only Wukong and Sandmonk can use) making it necessary to switch between them from time to time to bypass environmental hazards or puzzles, or to defeat certain enemies.
While much of the game centers around platforming and light puzzling, gathering things like coins and scrolls and finding the soul bubbles of your companions that have fallen in battle along the way, there’s also a lot of combat to keep the ‘action’ fans of action-adventure happy. Combat seems simple at first, with short- and long-range attacks, but quickly becomes frantic as you mix up attacks into combos while switching between characters to optimize your damage. Now add in anti-air attacks, wall-jumping, stomp attacks…
Inspired by Journey to the West, the story sends the four heroes in search of pieces of the sacred parchment which maintains the balance between worlds. Dark forces destroy the parchment in a gorgeous opening cinematic that showcases several of the environments players will need to explore. The game plays things in a cutesy style that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and though that’s a tough style to write they do a good job with it.