It’s been a long time since I sat in front of a PC, loaded up a web browser and played a Flash game. Things have moved on a lot since those days and unfortunately some of these gems aren’t getting the traffic they used to. Vertical Drop Heroes HD, however, has ascended from Flash game to console game, and is impressively the brain child of just one man.
Like most games of this type, repetition is key to progression, so the more you play the more you’re likely to succeed in the end. However, with death being an inevitability, and no chance of starting where you left off, it makes for quite a tiring experience. At the start of each game you get to choose from three randomly generated heroes with varying amounts of damage and health. Each character has a weapon that you can choose to auto attack the enemies, however, this, in my opinion, should be turned off due to your hero often attacking when it’s too late.
You jump into a randomly generated world and make you way down, yes down, not sideways or up, fighting as you go against randomly generated enemies. When, and if, you make it to the bottom there is a huge boss that is, you guessed it, randomly generated. You can skip the boss though, if you’re quick enough, because if you don’t have the damage or the health then death spells the end of your chosen hero.
Scattered around each level are gold coins that can be used to buy temporary power-ups or more permanent upgrades from merchants before or during each stage. Upgrades will add more attack power or health to your hero. Experience boosts are also an option and come in handy as you descend, giving you an upper hand on the boss. Also, placed around each stage are keys. The keys are used to unlock chests, alternative paths and, more importantly, the exit if you don’t want to face the boss. This does come in handy if things haven’t gone to plan on your way down.
To add a little extra challenge to each level, there is a quest giver placed towards the beginning of each stage. They give you optional quests to collect items as you go down, such as collecting specific orbs or animals. When you get to the bottom you can use a magic portal which, for a cost, teleports you back to the start of the stage to have another go if you missed something on your first run.
The bonus to Vertical Drop Heroes is the short sharp experience it offers. The levels are brief and can be completed quickly if you want, or you can take it slow and methodical, tactically considering you descent and collecting those optional quest gubbins. If you die, pick another hero and rinse and repeat. Due to it’s lack of depth it does get a repetitive but it’s well suited to limited play session where you only have a little time to spare.
Visually Vertical Drop Heroes is basic, but with a game like this you quickly stop looking at the visuals because you’re so fixated on dodging or collecting. A small game like this should definitely be on your ready to play list for those quick gaming sessions when you have nothing else to do, however, I must admit I can think of better things to blow £6 on; if dropped to half price then I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot.
Overall Vertical Drop Heroes is cheap and cheerful, fair play to Nerdook for transforming a flash game into something a little more substantial. Whilst the game is worth a go it’s not something that will grab your attention for hours. The first ten minutes will give you everything you need to get to grips with it, meaning there’s no real incentive to carrying on playing.
Thanks to Xbox and Nerdook for supporting TiX