Heroes of Atlan isn’t a new game on the mobile scene, but it’s one of those titles that’s built on solid gameplay and continues to draw in new players whilst holding a firm grip on the game charts.
Flero Games have done a very good job assessing what people look for in a light Social RPG on mobile platforms and have developed their title to match those needs. Fast combat, high quality art assets and quick loading speeds go hand in hand with a deep level of character building and item gathering that means there’s always something you can be doing to pass the time.
Visually, Heroes of Atlan uses a high-quality, partially animated 2D style that makes excellent use of painted characters and backgrounds to give things a distinctly classical edge. Character and monster designs themselves are extremely detailed and walk a fine line between Arthurian romanticised heroes and Greek mythological monsters. It’s a delicate balance however, as some designs are more interesting than others and the lack of animation (characters are moved, flashed and stretched but their art never actually changes) can on occasion be bothersome. The games menus are also clustered around the screen in addition to being denoted on the home-screen as buildings on a map, which can make things seem a little close together on smaller phone screens. Overall however it’s a luscious presentation of a very interesting world.
Musically the game suffers a little from some relatively low quality recording when compared to other examples of the genre. The compositions are nice and the overall environment that tracks generate is good, but everything has a quality just above that of a Midi, and it gives the games soundtrack an antiquated feel when paired with the luscious visuals on offer. Sound effects fare better but don’t stand of particularly strongly. They do however serve to cover the limited animation extremely well.
Unlike other Social RPGs, Heroes of Atlan puts a heavy emphasis on its plot. From a relatively expected opening scenario where you are hailed as the ‘latest hero’ to join in the defence of Atlan the game ramps up significantly. Stating with the introduction of a secondary character and eventually evolving into a whole party of different characters who trade comments and banter to forward the story. These conversations take place when missions are given from the home page, before and after battles in dungeons and even when completed missions are turned in, keeping the narrative flowing smoothly and taking the game to some interesting places. Characters are also memorable, and though they play to type (dark female spellcaster in revealing outfit) the game constantly tries to keep the player involved.
Gameplay is the crux of the matter here however, and on this front Flero Games has put together an interesting package. Whilst the game is primarily the traditional series of combat missions spread across an ongoing series of maps (unlocked one way-point at a time) the battles themselves are streamlined in such a manner to be entirely automated. Usually this would be the kiss of death for any level of interest in such a title, but team building is handled in such a manner that watching them do their thing unaided (or clicking the skip button for an immediate result on replaying a battle) is actually a pleasure. Starting with just one character of a class and sex of your choice, you have immediate access to 8 equipment slots that can be outfitted with basic gear from the shop. This equipment can then be upgraded by gathering resources and recipes into a number of ever-more-powerful forms, growing your character in addition to them gaining experience/levels through combat. One can also upgrade passive skills with points earned in the background from battles and can summon spirits to equip as a second layer of stat bonuses with slots to do so unlocked as that unit levels. Soon you will be able recruit additional characters and go through the same processes with them in addition to formatting the right layout for your battle party on a 3×3 grid. Here the standard rules for attacking, defending weaker units and effectiveness apply, meaning that shielding that weak archer in the back row with a beefy paladin is essential. Alongside these systems sits ‘fame’ which is earned through completing battles for the first time, competing in a PVP arena and use of the airship. The airship takes on an almost ‘Farmville’ like dynamic here with the player able to transport goods with it, explore distant locations and raid other players deliveries. It also allows you to fight pirate attacks, racking up lots of fame for doing so. Fame comes in handy when purchasing newer, more powerful characters and acts as a barrier between the player and all the most powerful toys at the games outset. Gathering items to upgrade the airship and craft is also a great deal of fun due to the easy manner that the designers implemented that transports you to the correct battle and skips over the fight itself to deliver rewards to spare time. There is an energy system in place to take into account, but this is generous and refills quickly. Freemium aspects raise their head in a limited inventory space, but in game premium currency is fairly common and can be used to unlock an additional page of slots for items, otherwise selling and using them is easy enough to open up space. There are no in-game ads to take into account and the games social elements are limited to adding friends through the game or through Facebook to help you train and battle against.
Overall, Heroes of Atlan is a very good game that struggles in a few areas – notably its score – but tries extremely hard to provide a story and sense of world. If titles such as the ‘Atelier’ series appeal to you, with their resource gathering and crafting, then you will get a lot of enjoyment from this title. Sadly its story, given such priority in the design of the title, is quite weak and often gets skipped past the first few hours once the ‘point’ of a sequence has been understood, leaving it a little toothless. We strongly recommend that players download and try the game, which is still being updated as of 2016 and shows no signs of going offline at any time soon.