Hero and Daughter+ – What We Think:
Imagine playing an RPG in which your main character can never progress beyond level one. New areas still have stronger enemies, secondary characters far surpass you in level, and everyone you encounter makes fun of you for still being at level one. Well, imagine no longer; this is the experience you will have playing indie JRPG Hero and Daughter+.
Stuck at Level One…
Ralph is a legendary default hero from RPG Maker VX Ace. It seems after years of defending his kingdom and dispelling dark lords, he tends to be a little on the cocky side. Upon seeing this, his king decides to inflict a spell on him bringing him back to level one and keeping him there.
How is a level one hero supposed to take on a new dark lord? Luckily after falling in his first battle, he is summoned to a pub in the local town run by the Haremancer. Laughing at our hero’s weakness, the perverted Haremancer informs Ralph that he will assist you on your journey by summoning cute girls to help you in battle from summoning stones you can find in dungeons.
“Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”
Building your own harem of battle-maidens brings a lot of variation to the turn-based battle system. You can bring up to three additional characters with you into dungeons, and each girl has a different set of abilities and specialization, allowing you to strategically form your party. Unlike your hero, they will level up normally and learn new abilities as they grow. You’ll find quickly that they overpower Ralph, and to prevent him from constantly falling in battle, you it’s necessary to find stat-boosting items in dungeons to keep him fighting fit.
With over 35 different girls to add to your harem, most of the story in Hero and Daughter+ is centered on them. You can give gifts to earn affection points and unlock new conversations with them, and also give them any EXP that you have earned in battles. Since EXP is useless to Ralph, this helps beef up your current party or level up any newly summoned girls.
The Never-Ending Quest for Loot
Dungeons consist of five randomly-generated floors filled with treasure and enemies, as you would expect. Battles aren’t based on random encounters, and in order to initiate a fight you need to walk into the enemies that roam the floors. The fifth floor is where the boss resides, and once a dungeon is conquered, you can always revisit it to repeat the whole process. This is encouraged, as each dungeon also has a set of optional enemies you can fight in order to fulfill a bounty for some cold, hard cash.
Collecting the seals from three dungeons and taking on the dark lord in his castle will take approximately three to four hours, thus completing the main quest. However, it’s the end-game of Hero and Daughter+ that really gives this game its shine. After seeing the credits roll, the game opens up dramatically, delivering more content, more dungeons to explore and of course more dark lords. The amounts of new activities you unlock make it feel like a fresh new take on the core game, and can keep you occupied for hours.
What’s Big and Gray and Wrinkly All Over?
Let’s address the elephant in the room for a minute here. While not given an official ESRB rating, Hero and Daughter+ is considered a mature game on Steam. Most of the character models can be suggestive and lewd; however, the interactions Ralph has with the girls are not of an overtly sexual nature.
Once your affection points get high enough with each girl, they will “confess” to Ralph, which is to simply say “I like you.” North American audiences might be turned off by the title Hero and Daughter+, but this is due to a misunderstanding of the translation. The Japanese title uses the word “musume,” which is literally translated to “daughter” but is often used simply to describe any girl.
A recent example is an anime from the summer season titled Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou, which was localized and translated to Everyday Life with Monster Girls. Another speculation for the title is due to one of the girls you summon being your daughter from the future, but this character is not able to be romanced like the others. Instead, Ralph talks to his daughter and plays a paternal role in conversation.
Not Bad for a Level One Hero
Praised by Dragon Quest creator Koichi Nakamura at the NikoNiko Indie Game Festival, Hero and Daughter+ is every bit addicting as it is fun. With a combination of great music, enjoyable characters, humorous interactions, town building and post-game challenges this is a game you can really sink your teeth into. Expect to see the closing credits multiple times, only to be treated to a new objective to conquer in this ever-growing overworld.
With an ending that hits you right in the feels, I highly recommend this title to any fans of Chrono Cross, the Grandia series and even Pokémon, as it takes elements from all three games and combines them into a casual JRPG worth playing.
Hero and Daughter+ is available via Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Hero and Daughter+ below: