Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption by Transoloar Games
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is an RPG adventure game featuring a mix of point-and-click exploration and turn-based RPG combat. Originally released for PC in 2018, it’s getting released on Feb 9th 2021.
Hearkening back to the classics of the early ’90s, Hero-U is made by the same developers who created the lauded Quest for Glory games of that era. Coupling a richly detailed world with a narrative extensively shaped by the choices of the player, Hero-U promises to be a worthy successor to the venerable series.
A Rogue’s Education
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption opens with a simple premise: Shawn O’Connor, a would-be thief, is breaking into a lavish house seeking easy coin. The room that serves as a setting for this scene is something of a statement of intent for the rest of the game while also providing a kind of introduction to the basics: every drawer, cupboard, table and chair can be investigated, interacted with, or searched for elusive loot.
Shawn’s efforts, of course, lead to unexpected consequences, and soon enough he is recruited to the titular Hero-U, a school for heroes. Shawn, of course, isn’t much of a hero (at least to start with), but that doesn’t make the setting any less of a playground for him to explore. Hero-U is a vast, sprawling complex with hidden rooms, locked doors and a variety of characters to meet and learn about.
Navigating this world is a matter of clicking on locations to lead Shawn to them and then choosing from a variety of interaction options. Just about anything in the school can be inspected in this fashion. There were times that I wished I could control Shawn more directly, but I suppose it that would contradict the game’s purpose and connection to its predecessors.
In addition to a variety of secrets, nooks, crannies and hidden treasures, Hero-U also plays host to a sizeable group of varied characters to chat with. The writing is serviceable, if not thrilling, and these characters all bring something to the table. All of them have a gauge to measure their relationship with Shawn – some start out less friendly than others – and all can be developed with good choices.
Relationships aren’t all that can be improved; Shawn’s various skills range from fitness to charm, and all of these can be improved simply by performing related tasks. Numerous opportunities exist for developing these skills through training each day, and this will come in handy later; any skill could turn out to be important down the road.
Speaking of diligent use of time, Hero-U provides only so much of it each day, and using it wisely becomes important. Some events take place only after a certain amount of days have passed, and all of this adds yet another dimension of exploration to Hero-U.
The narrative is also determined by the choices Shawn makes and Hero-U does a wonderful job of ensuring player decisions carry consequences. I was delighted to find that the game can simply crash to a halt – not that kind of crash – early on with one obviously foolish decision. This is a game that pays attention to the choices you make.
Puzzles and Pugilism
In addition to the overall narrative, there are a variety of puzzles to find and work through. Some are specific mini-games, while others require certain items to be found and put to use. Even innocuous items can turn out to be essential, so it becomes important to choose carefully when deciding what to pick up and carry around.
Alongside puzzles is a well-rounded, turn-based combat system. Combat can be entirely avoided, but if you find yourself eager for a brawl, it’s never a long walk to find one: the basement and dungeon below Hero-U are crawling with nasties to clobber.
Hero-U itself is a beautiful environment to explore. The structure is filled with detailed chambers, rooms and art. Every wall seems lined with portraits of characters that can be inspected for a closer look. It’s clear that considerable love has been put into making this a visually engaging world to explore. The music is somewhat more restrained, but it does provide a tone of whimsy to this charming world.
Hero-U is a well made point-and-click adventure game that does its forebears proud. Featuring playful writing, pleasing art and a detailed world that’s so very eager for you to explore every little part of it, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a worthy continuation of the genre.
The protagonist can be a tad irritating – and my goodness, they did give him a creepy smile – but this is an endearing game that sets itself high goals. Anyone looking for a well made point-and-click RPG to explore will find a rare treasure here.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is available via the Nintendo Game Store and Steam.
Check out the official trailer for Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption below: