There are many ways to immerse the same story, especially when the irreverent Sun Wukong is its protagonist. For hundreds of years there have been countless tributes to the Journey to the West, the ancient jewel of Chinese literature. But few or none can match the exquisite staging offered by Unruly Heroes.
Although of course, it would be unfair to say that Magic Design Studios has simply prepared a banquet for the eye of the player: the mixture in excessive proportions of action, platforms and the simple puzzles of rigor works wonders, both solo and multiplayer, offering All in all a fun and challenging adventure, with the extra bit of chaos that offers rewardingly fluid combats in scenes full of life.
However, the debut feature of the Montpellier studio does not conceal – or disguises – the origin of its creators, ex-employees of Ubisoft whose work in Rayman Origins and other main sagas of the gala company are reflected in scenarios, heroes and mythical enemies that They have been animated with untainted mastery through Spine 3D.
The result? An unbeatable cover letter for the study. But also a small fable, humble in some aspects, but that manages to eclipse their weaknesses based on being generous in details. To the point of maintaining the great sense of play and fascination from the first game to its final climax.
The unmistakable Gallic touch feels like a glove to Sun Wukong
The parchment that kept the evils at bay has been torn apart into fragments, leaving the doors of this world open to an army of evil creatures. Fortunately, what would be the omen of the end of time for some, turns out to be a new challenge for the Monkey King and his companions of adventures.
Unruly Heroes is not an adaptation of the Journey to the West to the current systems, but it offers us a light and light story starring Wukong, Sanzang, Kihong and Sandmonk, which takes root as we discover each scenario without conditioning the experience. With its clichés and without too many twists, yes, but that finds between level and level a luck narrative thread that gives consistency to the proposal.
Under the pretext of recovering the pieces of the parchment we will have at our disposal no less than four worlds divided into 29 exquisite scenes, full of variety and traps, and an intoxicating artistic section hand drawn and animated masterfully, which player- translates into a gameplay that ends up shining almost with the same intensity.
What would be the omen of the end of time for some, turns out to be a new challenge for the Monkey King and his companions in adventures.
In fact, the duration of each level is one of its strengths, so they do not become short-approximately fifteen minutes per stage without going to fixed shot-and its distribution of secrets and unlockable of rigor that contribute to reinforce its inherent replay ability
In a way, Unruly Heroes adds to the formula of Rayman Origins subtle elements of the series Trine or Guacamelee!, without skill trees and with successions of fluid and accessible hits, absolutely devoid of the complexity of other action titles, although some of the levels will allow us to use specific abilities, including having the bodies of concrete enemies or the use of a gigantic sucking pumpkin.
Perhaps the musical section is not established as well as the proposals developed through the UbiArt Framework – Unruly Heroes achieves virtually identical visual results through Unity – although the greater presence of action mechanics end up rounding the experience, offering four characters with different offensive techniques and unique abilities, so that, as we will see a little below, we will have to alternate between them to advance on our own or with the help of up to four players.
Unruly Heroes to four players: More chaos, More fun
As with Rayman Origins, Magic Design Studios borrows several ideas from the New Super Mario Bros. series and integrates them into the equation. One of them is to offer the possibility of going through their exotic scenarios in local multiplayer (not online), so that each player can take control of any hero that is not in use.
This in the end ends up being a double-edged sword, because even in the scenarios where you have to move forward in tight times – or simply avoid traps and platforms – it is almost inevitable that there will be some stragglers, it is also great to have a pair of extra muscles when there is a final boss or you need to have controlled a wave of enemies.
Alternating between the abilities of different heroes is essential when moving forward, so if we play on our own we will have to alternate between characters to create bridges, destroy barriers or access sites that can only be reached through the Magic. In fact, and for this purpose, if one of our protagonists is eliminated, we will have the option to recover his spirit and put him back in the game.
In this aspect, the local multiplayer is given a sense of cooperative that very few action titles and platforms manage to transmit. At two levels is the experience that I have enjoyed the most, when discovering design details or strategies that can only be observed from the perspective of someone who allows himself to risk a little more.
A four Joy Cons (we play the version of Switch) is a madness in which the artistic section does not go unnoticed, but the action and reflexes take over completely the game. I do not like to give the feeling of being another game, of course, but enough to want to replay on several occasions those scenarios that have enchanted us more or just try to overcome a boss who resists us by applying a quadruple dose of blows before its -nevitable- routines begin to take us ahead.
Finally, and together with the adventure mode, Unruly Heroes offers a Versus (with online and offline options) slightly inspired by the Brawler mechanics of Smash Bros, being able to count for lives or falls and up to five interactive scenarios. The truth is that it is an extra addition, since the heroes themselves are not properly balanced for a fair fight and their combos system is too simple.