Fable Heroes review (XBLA)

LionHead has this rather irritating habit of designing games that take you at least 2 hours to get into. Blame my ADHD, but if a game doesn’t challenge me in the first 10- to 30-minutes, I just won’t bother playing it any further and write it off as a useless title.

Fable Heroes ticks nearly every moan and gripe box that my easily distracted mind can muster. It quickly shows that it is a pointless “smash anything that moves” brawler. I love brawlers, and I love smashing everything that moves; however, it must be done in a manner which is both appealing and satisfactory. Not in such a way that you find yourself off in Narnia, wishing that the cupboard door would fly open so that you could at least find some excitement in war torn England.

No, Fable Heroes just lets you smash everything that moves, collect the coins that spring from the debris or mutilated body parts, and move on to the next level. As an adult gamer this is rather annoying and kind of pointless. But that I think is the entire point of Fable Her’es. It is a game for children, and as a children’s game I think it fares rather well.

Its biggest plus point in this regard is that you can’t die. You have 5 hearts, if you get hit too many times or use your radial attack which costs you a heart, you turn into a ghost. As a ghost you can still kill enemies, however you can’t collect the all-important gold coins which allow you to upgrade your character.

The upgrading process is rather entertaining as it is left to the roll of a dice on a game board. After completing a level, your gold coin tally buys you a fixed amount of dice rolls; the higher the tally, the more rolls. The more rolls, the more chances you have of upgrading your character.

Sadly I did not notice a difference in my characters performance with these upgrades. There are two in-game upgrades that can be found by smashing open question marked chests; the first is a giant upgrade which doubles your character’s size, hit range, and power. The downside of this power is that you move and attack at a snail’s pace which makes it rather pointless. The other more enjoyable upgrade is the super speed upgrade which shrinks your character to one half of its size and allows you to move and attack at a blistering pace.

Visually, this game is rather fantastic as it adds a Little Big Planet feel to the medieval atmosphere of the Fable universe. Whilst the graphics are cute and cuddly, at no point did I find my mind blown or disappointed by the styling or quality.

With repetitive use of the same in-game sounds and with absolutely no voice-overs the game’s audio is only salvaged by the use of upbeat atmospheric music. As a combination, the game’s music and visuals help make things playable.

With a price tag of 800MS Points, roughly R80, I would say that this game is strictly for fans of the Fable universe or for parents who are looking for a game that they can play with their 4-year old that that doesn’t involve jumping up and down in front of a Kinect sensor.

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Fable Heroes review (XBLA)

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