LightSlinger Heroes is one of the most polished mobile games I’ve ever played. I’d like to preface this review by stating that I don’t normally play mobile games or if I do, I get bored with them after a couple of days and then they eventually get uninstalled when my phone is yelling at me that it’s running out of storage. LightSlinger Heroes, however, is a rare exception. I have thoroughly enjoyed playing it even though, on the surface of it, it looks like any other bubble shooter game. It incorporates some RPG elements into the gameplay and forces you to grind to try to level up the heroes in your team to defeat some of the later bosses.
Upon installing LightSlinger Heroes, I was really impressed by the art style. The character designs feel quite unique and not like rip offs of other games. They are also very varied with some looking like steampunk robots and others looking like cute little animals. The game menus are reasonably well thought out, although it does appear a little cluttered and intimidating when you play it for the first time. However, they are easy to navigate and the game encourages you to look at all of the menus during the tutorial. I also appreciated the way the look of the level selector, it is quite simple but it is immersive enough. The soundtrack to the game provided a nice level of immersion, especially during the boss battles as it created a bit of tension which helped to set the tone and give me more of a reason to try to win the battle.
In terms of gameplay, LightSlinger Heroes is essentially a bubble shooter game, however there is some strategy to it as it incorporates some RPG elements. There are 4 different coloured bubbles in the game: red, green, yellow and blue. These same colours are reflected in the class and colours of the characters whether they’re on your team of heroes or they are your enemies. The game explains how matching certain bubbles is more effective against some enemies than others. Matching blue bubbles will deal 200% damage to a red enemy but matching green bubbles would only deal 50% damage. Yellow bubbles deal 200% damage to blue enemies but only 50% damage to green enemies. It’s very much reminiscent of how certain types in Pokémon are not very effective and super effective against other types.
Before a level begins, LightSlinger Heroes tells you what types of enemies you will encounter so that you can structure your team accordingly; I just used a well-rounded team of heroes so that I could adapt to any situation although this did make some of the boss fights more difficult as they deal a lot of damage to the player. Your heroes can also do spells after you have destroyed 30 of their corresponding bubble colour. These spells would vary from doing damage directly to the enemies, to giving you a bubble that would split into several bubbles or increasing your shield; these had to be used strategically based on which enemies were on the screen at the time.
When playing with your heroes, you gain a bit of XP for each of them once you’ve finished the level. You can level them up quicker by sacrificing other heroes that you may have looted from the levels (which sounds a bit morbid come to think of it). Sacrificing red heroes to your main red hero, mine being Proto-V, gives more XP than if you sacrificed to red heroes to your blue, green or yellow heroes. My main heroes were the ones that I collected that had the highest base stats, some were looted and others were purchased using the in-game currencies; my favourite heroes were definitely Proto-V and Eon, Time Mage. This game does feature micro-transactions but they aren’t needed, you can watch 30 second ads instead or just grind. I have encountered a few bosses that are more challenging than others so I have gone back to previous levels to gain XP and hope that I have improved enough.
In terms of the levels, there are several different game modes in LightSlinger Heroes: Story, Elite, Arena and Events. Story and Elite are essentially the same except Elite is more challenging. When I got stuck on one because my heroes weren’t good enough, I would just play the other. Even though it’s called Story mode, there isn’t really any story involved, you just play level after level with no overall game or any kind of character interaction; I can forgive the game for this though since it is free and it does make up for it with the gameplay and variation between levels. Some levels would feature portals to shoot through, lasers that destroy your bubbles, rotating levels or bosses. Some of the Elite bosses would have armour bubbles that have to be destroyed before you can do damage to them or they would require you to bounce your bubbles off of the walls in order to do damage.
Arena is an online mode where you take on the teams of other players. There are different leagues; Bronze, Silver and Gold and you can fight up to the three other opponents a day so you have to choose wisely because the more difficult the opponent, the greater number of points you gain but if you lose, you have wasted potential points. I won the Bronze league on my first attempt by about 40,000 points and I came second in the Silver arena. I really enjoyed this game mode as it felt like a welcome break from some of the more challenging Story and Elite levels and I felt compelled to play it everyday in the hope that I would win the league; which resulted in a lot of in-game currency as well as hero tokens. Events is a limited time game mode where you can potentially unlock a very powerful hero, it just takes a lot of time and you need a really strong team in order to do so; this was probably my least favourite of the game modes.
During my time playing LightSlinger Heroes, I never experienced any crashes. However, I did experience the odd glitch every now and then; it was particularly annoying how a boss wouldn’t register that I had destroyed all of the armour orbs so it meant I had to redo the whole level. Some levels would also take longer to load than others and would occasionally freeze for a second or two but it was never anything too major. Besides these minor issues, the frame rate was always consistent and the physics of the game worked in the way you would expect them to. For reference, I was playing on a Google Pixel XL which is quite a powerful phone so I’m not sure how well it would work on lesser devices. I can imagine it would probably work just as well if not better on iPhones since most games are better optimised for iOS than Android.