Heroes Trials is a top-down RPG available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and PS Vita. Heroes Trials was originally created by Shinyuden before Ratalaika Games developed and published a port to Vita, PS4 and more platforms besides. Can Heroes Trials deliver an adventurous top-down RPG?
The story revolves around Zoel and Elia set off on a journey to become the Heroes of Delhua by being the first to successfully complete every mission in the final trial. Gameplay comprises of numerous missions within Zoel and Elia’s trial, although each mission is timed to provide a bit of pressure to progress through each mission fluently. Missions are the equivalent of quests in the sense that every mission will challenge Zoel and Elia to venture to a particular location in order to collect a magic scroll, a specific material or defeating enemies within the allocated period of time. Every mission has a three star rating system to acknowledge the quality of the player’s performance, especially in relation to the amount of time it took to complete the mission and how much time was remaining.
Character design is diverse as there are essentially two lead characters named Zoel and Elia that the player can switch between at any moment. Zoel and Elia have unique abilities as Zoel relies upon melee combat by swinging his sword and defending himself with his shield, while Elia has the capability of casting various magic spells. Pleasant non-playable characters will be met throughout Zoel’s and Elia’s trial such as a couple of people that have a shop where the player can utilise in-game currency from defeating enemies and contained within foliage to purchase boots in order for Zoel and Elia to move at a faster speed by running, while finding iron stone will result in the shop upgrading Zoel’s shield. Meanwhile, enemy design includes large flies, spiders, bats, a variety of monsters and enemy bosses that all have their unique patterns of movement and attacks aimed at Zoel and Elia.
Environment design takes Zoel and Elia on an adventure through villages, forests, tombs, dungeons and more besides. Elia’s magic abilities plays into some of the puzzles such as Elia utilising her electricity spell to change the colour of globes in order to open a door to the next area or in other cases; Zoel collects a key to a door after defeating a larger enemy or finding a chest containing a key.
Heroes Trials supports cross-buy between the PS4 and Vita, although it unfortunately does not support cross-save, so you will not be able to continue from your previous progression on the Vita version when playing the PS4 version and vice versa. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the Vita and DualShock 4 controller as the Vita version has a comfortable control scheme consisting of pressing O to swing Zoel’s sword or cast one of Elia’s magic spells; pressing triangle to switch between the two characters; pressing square to change Elia’s currently selected magic; pressing X to perform an action such as opening a door or chest; holding L to use Zoel’s shield; holding R to run; and changing the direction of the left analogue stick or alternatively pressing up, down, left or right to move your character, although there are no touch screen controls. Meanwhile, the DualShock 4 controller allows the player to hold L1 or L2 to use Zoel’s shield and holding R1 or R2 to run. However, the DualShock 4 controller does not include any touch pad alternative controls that could have involved swiping right or left to switch between Zoel and Elia, while there is no light bar support that could have provided an alternative HUD for your chosen character’s health, alongside no vibration that could have reflected performing a charged attack and your character being hit by enemies.
Graphically, Heroes Trials has some nice subtle touches such as cartoon stylised character models, very good character and enemy animations and swaying foliage, while maintaining a consistent frame rate even when more enemies are simultaneously surrounding your character on PS4. Vita’s performance is similar, although the tombs and dungeons appear to be darker in the colour palette when in direct comparison to the PS4 version, but the Vita port is still both graphically and performance wise very playable.
Heroes Trials’ presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, options menu and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons on Vita and DualShock 4, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch screen or touch pad between Vita and DualShock 4. Menu backgrounds focus on an abstract painting of a kingdom with mountains and a castle.
Dialogue is shown within speech bubbles instead of characters having their own voice-overs. Sound effects include Zoel swinging his sword, Elia casting magic spells, enemies being defeated and collecting items, alongside instrumental music ranging from melodic piano to adventurous arcade styled music. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced character voice-overs if characters would have had their own voice-overs or alternatively sound effects or music.
The trophy list includes 13 trophies with 1 silver trophy, 11 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy with the PS4 and Vita versions having individual trophy lists. Easier trophies include the Social Butterfly silver trophy for talking to an NPC; the Healthy Diet gold trophy for finding a fruit or vegetable in the island; and the I Found My Way gold trophy for completing the first trial. Harder trophies include the Frankenslime, Matador and Manic Hero gold trophies for defeating Potako, Taurus and Denmaku. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 2 to 5 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although the major components of the difficulty curve involve missions being timed, while Zoel and Elia sharing one health bar between them that must last for the duration of the mission or the player will have to resume the mission from the previous checkpoint, although defeating enemies or searching through foliage will often provide fruit to increase their health. Enemy bosses have much larger health bars in comparison to not only smaller regular enemies, but also Zoel and Elia’s shared health bar; resulting in enemy bosses being harder to defeat.
There is no multiplayer or leaderboard functionality, although it would have been great for local co-operative multiplayer to reflect the inclusion of two lead characters, while online leaderboards could have listed each player’s fastest time in successfully completing individual missions and every mission in total.
Heroes Trials’ replayability stems from two lead characters with their own unique abilities as they are challenged by numerous timed missions and battling various enemies, alongside the ability to play on Vita or PS4 via cross-buy.
• Title: Heroes Trials
• Developer: Shinyuden (Original Developer)/Ratalaika Games (PS4/Vita Port)
• Publisher: EastAsiaSoft/Ratalaika Games
• System: PS4/PS Vita
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: Yes
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1
• PS4 Hard Drive Space Required: 333.7MB
• PS Vita Memory Card Space Required: 317MB