Thanks to Digerati for the review code
Title: Vertical Drop Heroes HD
Release Date: 2/14/2017
Vertical Drop Heroes HD is shown off in a very goofy artstyle that appears to be a mix between Scribblenauts and the BrainPOP web show, which gives off a pretty cheap appearance when combined with the simplistic animations. The music isn’t anything noteworthy either, with the first stage theme sounding like a weird version of the X-Files theme song and the other themes being too forgettable to even remember.
As alluded to in the title, Vertical Drop Heroes HD is an action game where the main goal is to drop vertically to the bottom of every level. However, instead of being a simple linear adventure game, it actually progresses in the same fashion as a roguelike, where there’s randomly generated levels that share similar themes throughout each playthrough. (For example, Level 1 will always have Goblin monsters to take on, although during my multiple attempts at the game I would find different sidequests or level layouts)
Defeating enemies in these playthroughs will get you gold, which can be used in each of these levels to unlock skills and special abilities for the many different classes in the game, three of which are randomly picked every time you die. (although you can spend gold to re-roll if you don’t like any of your options) You can also find keys from defeated enemies, which can be used to open up treasure chests or skip a level entirely if you manage manage to sneak around the boss without dying.
Unfortunately, dying is very common in this game, and when it happens it usually isn’t for the right reasons. Instead of death being something I could easily circumvent by skillfully making my way throughout the levels, it’s more of an inevitability due to enemies that’ll quickly drain your health to zero starting as early as level 2, regardless of how many experience points your character has on hand. The only way I was able to gradually get better at this game was by spending coins on permanent strength and health upgrades in the hub world before each playthrough, which grew to feel like a grind before long.
There is a two player co-op mode in this game, which I hoped would make the grinding less tedious but unfortunately even that doesn’t save this game from being a drag. The co-op is local only and done via a split screen, and while it does work decently enough the difficulty balancing issues are still present, with the only benefit I found from playing in co-op being that one person could do the pacifist mode (where not attacking any enemies will allow you to grab orbs that boost your experience and stats) while the other does all the fighting, which would eventually allow for the pacifist to gain a lot of levels if done properly.
In conclusion, Vertical Drop Heroes was a very unfulfilling game. What I had hoped to be an addicting, challenging adventure ended up being a big grindfest that became incredibly boring really quickly. The roguelike elements feel as if they were implemented at the last second, and the game just feels like a boring drag. I tried my best to find some sense of enjoyment with this game, but I found that in the end, friends or not this game simply couldn’t hold my interest for long, which combined with the high difficulty and heavy grinding leads to a failed attempt of mashing genres together that I think you should just skip. I give Vertical Drop Heroes HD a 3 out of 10.