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Heroes Trials review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Shinyuden
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

There’s one reason and one reason only to pick up Heroes Trials: if you want an easy Platinum trophy (or two, if you have both a PS4 and a Vita).

Now, I’m not going to cast aspersions on anyone who buys it for that reason. I once spent about hour playing Little Adventure on the Prairie on both PS4 and Vita just to add a couple of Platinums to my collection, and that game is so terrible it seems like a stretch to even call it a game. And, no matter what else can be said about Heroes Trials, it clearly isn’t as awful as Little Adventure on the Prairie.

But that doesn’t mean it’s any good. Or even mediocre. It’s a straight-up bad game, and unless you really, really want that Platinum, it’s definitely not worth your time.

Heroes Trials problems stem from its core idea. It wants to be a old school, Zelda-style RPG that trims away the so-called “fat” of those same RPGs — except in this case, the fat is part of what makes the games worth playing. Heroes Trials gives you a series of, as its name implies, trials, and then sets a time limit on how long you have to complete them. Failing to finish within the time limit sends you right back to the beginning of the trial. There’s virtually no time to explore. No time to browse a merchant’s wares. No time to explore.

Now, seeing as I loathe grinding, you might think that this sort of streamlined approach to RPGs would resonate with me. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that I don’t mind some grinding. Like, I don’t want to wander back and forth between killing random enemies to gain loot and a shop just so that I can upgrade a specific weapon, but that doesn’t mean I also don’t want to see what a world is like by exploring it or talking to random villagers. By taking away your ability to do that, Heroes Trials makes it difficult to care about its world or anything that happens within it.

It also doesn’t help that what’s left is incredibly boring. The trials in question are the most uninspired, uneventful things imaginable, sending you more or less directly from Point A to Point B with nothing along the way to make the journey interesting. The combat is somehow even less inspired than that, allowing you to either hack & slash or fire off spells indiscriminately. Occasionally you’ll find an enemy where one approach is slightly better, but for the most part, it’s all pretty dull.

It all raises the question: is it worse to be one of the worst games ever (a la Little Adventure on the Prairie), or dull, uninspired, forgettable and garden-variety bad, like Heroes Trials? While I wouldn’t recommend Little Adventure on the Prairie to anyone, I’ll never forget how awful it was. Meanwhile, Heroes Trials is blandly terrible in a way that will slip from memory now that I’m done with it. There’s no question which is objectively worse, but it’s also clear which of the two is more enjoyable in a perverse sort of way — and it’s definitely not Heroes Trials.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Heroes Trials PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: D