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If you like point-and-click adventures, RPGs, and genre mash-ups, then you may be interested in Transolar Games' recently released spiritual successor to the Quest for Glory series - Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Following a couple of Kickstarter campaigns, the game launched a few weeks back to some localized praise, but without too much media attention. Still, by now we have a few reviews to check out. Have a look:
RPG Codex Scoreless:
A few hours into Hero-U, I realized that I had missed the Coles. I'm glad they're back, and I hope this game does well enough for them to continue creating games. They originally left the business in the late 1990s, around the time when television, comic books and music all began striving for dark and gritty themes. With Hero-U, they've created a cheerful fairy tale that's spiced with danger and sprinkled with chaotic lore. The game is full of horrible puns, but it embraces the cheesiness and pulls it off. The Coles haven't lost their special ability to blend mirth and danger without going too far in either direction. A simple visit to the school library illustrates this blend, with Shawn making silly comments about the paintings on the library wall at one moment and contemplating the fate of fallen heroes from a history book on the next.
I really like Hero-U's atmosphere. There might be soul-sucking Lovecraftian horrors waiting in the wings, but for the students of Hero University, all of that is just ancient history. They spend their time cramming for exams, writing papers, playing games, trying to find a date, and contemplating their future roles in society - just like undergraduate students in every corner of our world, despite whatever good or bad things might be happening in their countries. The game's ending matches that theme perfectly. Instead of a difficult puzzle or final boss, you get a summary of all the decisions you made throughout the school year. If you prefer games where the stakes are personal instead of the usual 'save the princess/country/world' cliches, then Hero-U definitely delivers.
Adventure Gamers 4/5:
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption accomplishes something many revivals of fan favorites struggle to do: it manages to deliver an experience as faithful and reverential to the Coles’ beloved original series as possible, including the characteristic niggles series veterans already know to expect, like an abundance of verbal puns, slow combat, and a bit of an everyday grind. This should win the favor of old-school Quest for Glory fans, yet despite its many nods to the Sierra classics, this game absolutely stands on its own merits, with clever writing that manages to pull players along its somewhat open-ended narrative, possibly even without them realizing it. Those new to the series will find a well-designed and inviting experience here, so if this sounds like your kind of RPG-adventure hybrid, then pack your suitcase and enroll for a semester abroad at Hero-U.
Old Grizzled Gamers 52/100:
I actually, no joke, hate a lot of the mechanics in Hero-U. But as flawed as they are, Hero-U has a couple of really good ideas. I’m a sucker for the school gimmick; growing stats, skipping class, and such intrigues me. The exploration is decent, the combat is satisfying, in the way that I learned how to cheese it into submission in a hour. It’s fun to play, in an infuriating way.
But all other issues aside, the art style is butt ugly and there are a ton of small moments which are just not animated. When I slide a shield mounted to the wall to the side to reveal a keyhole, I want to see it happen in a game created in 2018. The fact that Hero-U doesn’t bother with even these little bits is an indication of how little the developers have done by comparison to other games on the market. That’s fine for a small indie game but at a whopping US$35 I actually find the price insulting.