Game: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle, Action, Role-Playing
System: Nintendo Switch | Steam
Developers | Publishers: Transolar Games | Silesia Games
Age Rating: EU 12+| US Teen
Price: US $19.99 |EU €19,99 | UK £17.99
Release Date: February 9th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Silesia Games
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is the work of Lori Ann Cole and Corey Cole, creators of Quest for Glory a popular PC game back in the day. Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption was originally released on PC and has been ported to the Nintendo Switch.
Point and Click RPG
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a role-playing point and click game that takes place within the mysterious castle known as Hero University. Hero University is where young people learn to use their strengths and become heroes worthy to society.
You take on the role of Shawn O’Conner, a young fella who is attempting to join the Thieves Guild within the local town. You have been tasked to retrieve an object from a house and return it to the Guild Leader. As you enter the house you find yourself in a dark room and you must explore the room to find the object. Searching around you’ll solve a puzzle to retrieve the object and make your exit.
Outside you meet a mysterious stranger where you are faced with your first decisions that will direct your future roleplay. The mysterious stranger takes you to Hero University. Upon reaching the school in the dead of night, Shawn is enrolled in the course for Rogues, or Disbarred Bards as the game prefers to call them.
In the university, you’ll attend classes every day, practice your lessons and interact with and develop relationships with the other characters within the game from the Headmaster on down to the storekeeper. You will also go exploring into dungeon areas to fight monsters and find loot, and complete quests that pop up.
In Shawn’s main class he learns about traditional sneaky skills like lockpicking, but he also has the opportunity later on to take electives which mould the focus of his character. You can have Shawn learn to be a strong combat-oriented Rogue, or dagger-throwing Rogue, or a smart magical Rogue, or a sneaky Rogue that doesn’t fight but talks his way through problems or runs away.
The game unfolds over 50 days and you are on a clock, as a big aspect of the gameplay is time-management. All of your actions and conversations cause little bits of time to elapse. Talk to someone, and ten or fifteen minutes can fly by. Practice your combat skills on a dummy, and an hour is gone, and so on. You can see the current time of the day on the left corner of the screen. Time is important in a University, time to go to class in the morning and free time in the afternoon with dinner time at five. Free time starts again at seven and then curfew time at ten.
Time waits for No One
Curfew at ten with bedtime midnight means all the students must be in their dorms and could get penalised if they’re seen wandering the halls. If you go to bed after midnight, you will suffer (minor) penalties on the following day. The game railroads you onto this schedule, so if you try to pump iron in the gym instead of going to dinner, the game will warp you to the dining hall, and if you try to read a book in the library too close to curfew, Shawn will refuse to do it.
Since time comes at a premium in Hero-U, I found I spent a lot of the game figuring out how to cram in enough activities to raise Shawn’s skill stats. You will spend most of your days following the same basic routine: Class, gym, elective, dinner, rec room, sneaking about a bit, bed, repeat.
Shawn has many skills that grow over time. You can also improve on many of them in the practice room. Activities such as dagger throwing, fitness training, rope climbing will increase Shawn’s skills. Some of the skills determine Shawn’s combat skill and the damage he will do, his health, and the chance to dodge enemy attacks, and so on. It is fun to see the stats increase at first, but by the end of the game I had most stats maxed out and I didn’t notice much difference in the gameplay.
There is an element of character relationships, and development, that also affects the outcome of the game, which adds another layer of role-playing. Some characters may not like you, and others will, depending on how you treat them and speak to them if you choose to at all.
It wouldn’t be an RPG without some dungeons, and Hero-U is not any different in that respect. Aside from the school itself, there are four areas beneath it to explore and rid of monsters. They’re not necessarily large areas, but they were designed with adventure-style exploration in mind, with hidden secrets and plot elements to find. Except for certain major encounters, defeat in battle sends Shawn back to the infirmary for some patching up.
Combat itself is a turn-based system, you can take advantage of enemies not noticing a sneaky hero, effectively allowing Shawn to creep around and avoid enemies. Or you can snipe them from a distance with throwing knives, or simply stalk them for a close-in kill from behind. While in combat, additional monsters can move into range and engage you by entering into the turn order. All in all, the combat ran smoothly, it is easy to move around within the game and perform actions.
Visuals and Controls
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has lots of colourful locations and all are well detailed, stuffed full of ornamental wall decorations, furniture, and other points of interest. Each character also gets his or her own close-up portrait to go with any on-screen text.
There isn’t much more in terms of animation as there aren’t any cinematic scenes. Instead, many important moments are celebrated with lovely drawn still scenes. The game isn’t voiced acted either and you’ll need to be ready to read lots of text and multiple answers.
The music is decent and there are distinct themes for various sections of the castle and its dungeons. This stops the music getting repetitive as it does in some games.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption controls well using the joy-con, though I did feel Shawn movements are a little wooden looking at times but it’s only a minor niggle.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an old school classic with a Harry Potter-like twist with it based in a University. I found the game very slow to get into at the start. But after the first three to five hours it started to pick up, and I got the hang of managing the school day better. It’s an entertaining game, with plenty of humour and a story that plays out gradually as it progresses.
Hero-U offers plenty of replayability as well, to explore different electives in the classroom and conversational trails, or even romantic options. If you are a fan of the old school, classic, RPG/ point and click this one is true to its form.
Final Verdict: I Like It