Unruly Heroes – Review (PS4)

Developer: Magic Design Studios

Publisher: Magic Design Studios

Release date: 28/05/19

Official page: https://www.unrulyheroes.com/

I was truly looking forward to getting stuck into this game as well as looking forward to seeing what it had to offer so without further ado, let’s get into it.

Chinese heritage

So, Unruly Heroes is a re-imagining of the timeless Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’, and once you click on adventure, the game begins with a little backstory and tells of dark forces conspiring to shatter the sacred parchment that has maintained balance between worlds throughout the ages. They are successful and foul creatures roam the land wreaking havoc. Only four truly, unruly heroes can turn it around and restore peace. As the backstory is told, there is elements of comedy and I must admit, it is funny. It is nice to see and adds an extra dimension to the game. Once the story is told, the player comes in.

Before starting the game, I discovered that Magic Design Studios features a number of former developers from big Ubisoft games like Assassin’s Creed and Rayman. This filled with me with confidence as I thoroughly enjoyed the Rayman franchise and with Unruly Heroes being a platformer like Rayman, I knew it was in good hands.

The graphics and the scenery looks fantastic

Wonderful world building and creative character design

Just before you begin each action-packed level, you get a target time as well as telling you how many collectible coins are in each level – it’s normally 100 which can be used to unlock new skins – and how many parchments (normally one) are in the level. If you find the parchments then they unlock art work in the scroll collection section within the extras menu. This information is handy for all those people that want to collect everything and I count myself in this bracket!

You also get to choose easy, normal or hard difficulty. I went for middle of the road to start with but each level has a ranking system and the only way to get the top diamond rank is by completing the levels on hard. This was tough!

The art work looks wonderful

As I dived through the first levels, I immediately noticed how beautiful the game was in motion. I loved the Asian-style art of the levels which is vibrant yet dark at the same time. The levels are wonderfully created and well thought-out, this really helps the platformer shine along with the lovely and sometimes therapeutic audio that accompanies the levels. There is a lot of platformer games out there so it is hard to stand out but the way that Magic Design Studios does it is by wonderful level building, great character design as well as a few tweaks on the mechanics of the game which helps make it feel fresh and new for each level you play.

For example, there is four heroes that you get to play as throughout all levels instead of one and all four have different abilities so if you want to make sure everything is collected throughout the levels then you will need to use all four characters. This, for me, is a simple change in platforming but it is so, so effective. Obviously, some people will have favourites but as said, if you want to collect everything and get the highest ranks, you are encouraged to swap between the characters which, I think, is great.

The four Unruly Heroes that you get to play through as

The characters are Wukong the Monkey King, Sanzang the Sleepy Monk, Kihong the Greedy Pig and Sandmonk the Sensitive Brute. With regards to abilities, Wukong and Sandmonk can double jump where as Sanzang and Kihong jump and glide a little. Believe me, you’ll need to swap between the characters in order to explore everywhere.

You’ll also come across stone statues of the heroes and this enables you to use a specific ability for that character. For instance, Wukong will produce a giant stick and drop it down so you can access the next area, Sankang will shoot an energy ball to hit switches or specific objects and Kihong will inflate and be able to float and fly for a limited time. Once it expires, he deflates comedically like a balloon and this one was my personal favourite!

Kihong in his inflated form – watch out for the spikes

As the levels get tougher, characters might die in which you continue with the remaining heroes but the departed’s soul bubble floats around for a limited time and if you manage to hit it, they will be revived. This, for me, is another little novel idea that helps make this platformer stand out.

Another thing that worked for me is also how you can embody an enemy too. For instance, on one level, I embodied a wolf to help the heroes and as I progressed through the level, I bonded with other wolves that also helped. I controlled one in the foreground and one in the background at one point in which I had to carefully guide them through an array of obstacles. This, I thought was another great touch. It just added variety and gave the feel to every level being individual and different.

Lots of varied and sometimes tough enemies

I wouldn’t say that Unruly Heroes has an heavy emphasis on combat, it is more a fine blend of puzzling platforming and enemies but at the same time, when there is enemies, they are varied and sometimes tough. For example, in the middle of the first level, you meet a giggling, sinister geisha named Lady White who produces difficult enemies for you to fight halfway through a level and I guess you could call them a mini-boss. Several levels later, you’ll then get to fight Lady White in a boss battle and this sets the precedent for the rest of the game – you’ll meet new enemies and then fight them after several levels in a boss fight. It is a good format and once again, it keeps the game varied and fresh.

The sinister Lady White setting a mini-boss of the deadly tree for you to get past

Multiplayer options

If you are not feeling up to an adventure or you are pushed for time then you could play the multiplayer option of a local or online deathmatch. The purpose of the deathmatch is you must get back your demon soul and fight your companions.

A typical fun and enthralling deathmatch

There is plenty of options to tweak the deathmatch to suit you with stage selection being first. You then have the option to select the length of the battle in minutes, how many lives you can have, you can select the bonus drop rate varying from none to very often and then lastly, you are given the choose of whether you want to switch during the game from player to a controllable creature. I selected yes most of the time and by pressing L1 I got to use a different creature to fight for me! It was much like embodying the wolf in Adventure mode but your opponent also gets the same option! Once these little tweaks are chosen, you are thrown into the deathmatch which is great fun!

The review key was provided by Magic Design Studios for the purpose of this review.

Please see below for the trailer: