One of my first ever reviews for TMA was of Palm Heroes Classic, an adaptation of the legendary classic Heroes of Might and Magic 3, for the iPhone. Of course, having been originally developed for Windows Mobile, it had its flaws – mostly on the interface side. Still even in those early App Store day, it offered a unique experience on par with the classic desktop Strategy/RPG. But time doesn’t stand still and now almost 2 years later, the developers have released the sequel Palm Heroes 2 Deluxe for iPhone, this time built from the ground up for the iOS.
Palm Heroes 2 follows the traditions set by the legendary Heroes of Might & Magic series for the Turn-based Strategy/RPG genre. There isn’t any consistent storyline; instead the deluxe version comes bundled with 20 maps, some with a storyline, some not. In addition over 100 more maps are available as IAP, so you won’t find yourself lacking in new environments to explore.
In terms of gameplay, you to take charge of one of seven factions both inspired by the classic Heroes of Might and Magic and completely original. The goals in the individual missions vary a bit, but mostly boil down to the basic – kill’em’all and last man standing. The environment is richly populated with all manner of random enemies, treasures and artifacts, teleports, ruins to explore and buildings to capture. And to roam across these vast wastes you have the hallmark heroes.
Each hero is a unique character with his/her own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the faction and the individual tendencies as they level up, they will be offered to learn new skills, along with upgrading existing ones and the base stats. An army of up to 9 different unit types may accompany the hero, those of which are influenced by morale and luck dependent on the artifacts the hero wears, the composition of the troops and the odd bonus you may pick up on your journey. And if you still have a feeling the hero is not important (you couldn’t be more wrong) an advanced leader may easily overcome a newbie relying on a hoard of high-level troops with but a handful.
Now none of this is new if you played the genre before, especially if you have the Palm Heroes Classic version. For those who are familiar with it, here’s rough list of brand new features: A brand new faction has been added in the style of the barbarians. Travel across water has opened up whole new oceans to explore. Upgrades are now available for creatures, though you’ll have to find a special building on the overall map to do that rather than purchase an upgrade in one of your cities. Of course lots of new artifacts, creature types and spells have been added as well.
And last, but certainly not least, the interface has been completely redesigned to make it much much more intuitive to use both on the iPhone and the iPad. Now you won’t find any difficulties hitting that sweet spot on the overall map to navigate to. And the most aggravating part of combat, which was trying to select a target and then a direction from which to attack, is now solved by a handy zoom-window showing the action up close and personal.
Unfortunately the interface is still not completely there in some respects. For example, if you do not have enough resources to build a structure in your town, there’s no way to check which resources you lack. The main menu frankly looks like a high-school diploma project. There are also some balance mismatches as well. With a reasonably powerful hero you can quickly grow an army of a couple dozen ghosts to literally thousands, making minced exoplasm of anything that comes into contact. The town portal spell has for some reason been chucked to level 5, which makes it virtually inaccessible for 90% of the game. And the unit upgrades, as noted above, are only available in a special structure on the map.
Truth be told, all these minor gripes are really just nitpicking. Palm Heroes 2 Deluxe for iPhone is the definitive Heroes of Might & Magic experience on the iDevice and a must have for any self-respecting Strategy/RPG gamer out there. If you’re still on the fence and have an iPad, you can check out the FREE Palm Heroes 2 version with a few maps bundled and the rest available via IAP.
With this I declare Palm Heroes 2 Deluxe for iPhone officially touched!
|Title:||Palm Heroes 2 Deluxe for iPhone||Developer:||iosoftware|
|Reviewed Ver:||2.2.2||Min OS Req:||3.1.3|