Vertical Drop Heroes HD is a platform action game with RPG and rogue-like features. The story explains that a great hero will enter the portal at the Temple of Knowledge and fight their way through strange lands in search of the Holy Sanctuary that holds a great secret. There are many attempts by heroes to complete this challenge and you play as them.
With each restart of the game, you will be given a choice from three random heroes to play as. The heroes stats are randomly generated from what has been unlocked. If you are not happy with the choice you can regenerate another three for a small amount of coin. The main stats generated at random are health, damage (dmg) and what traits, abilities and powers the heroes have.
There are 20 traits, 15 abilities, 15 powers and 16 weapons to unlock, mainly from merchants found in game and paid for with coins that you collect. These unlocks are persistent and are used in further replays. Your character has two traits and these include extra health, double jump and automatic coin collecting. Abilities include casting fireballs and lightning, to calling heroes to assist and creating traps. The powers include Dwarf Turrets and Sandstorms through to health regeneration for your character. The variety gives you a great degree of randomness when the characters are generated. This initially starts of with similar characters as nothing has been unlocked but as you progress and unlock more, the variety increases.
The game is split over ten stages of varying themes such as forests, caves, and lava filled volcanoes. The aim is to reach the bottom of the procedurally generated stage by making your way downwards via platforms, enemies and other obstacles. You have two options to complete a level; all out attack or pacifist. Pacifist is enabled by default, you must not kill any enemies. This may sound strange as you level up by killing enemies, instead you collect hearts which reward you with XP and gold. If you kill an enemy then the pacifist mode is disabled and it is business as usual; killing enemies for XP and gold.
As you make your way down each stage you come across hazards such as water, lava, spikes and guard posts which spawn more enemies if touched. There are a good variety of enemies, usually designed around the stage theme. They can also have different abilities and traits which can change with each playthrough such as the ability for all enemies to fly. This also extends to the bosses at the bottom of each stage, including a devastating gun toting boss who destroys everything on screen! You will also come across Shrines which are often helpful giving you a chance for attacks such as lightning strikes or rewards such as coins or keys in return for a small payment or spawning some enemies. There are also chests which are unlocked with keys and reward you with health and coins. Finally, there are cages which when unlocked, release a hero who will help you in your journey.
20 minutes of Vertical Drop Heroes HD gameplay
Vertical Drop Heroes HD manages to get the gameplay spot on in my opinion. Personally, I like to play a stage as a pacifist for as long as possible and if/when it goes wrong, start attacking. The stage design usually allow you to do this and it is great fun spending a little time working out the best routes to avoid enemies as much as possible. As you progress through the game, the new unlocks play an important role and greatly improve your chances to complete the levels as you intend to.
The ten stages may sound short, but after the first couple they increase in difficulty. You can choose to start from the first stage or if you have unlocked a later stage you can skip straight to that. A New Game+ mode is available after you complete the game and offers a harder challenge. It is very addictive, your characters death is usually welcome as it means you get to experience new characters with new stats to learn and play with. I have played the game for several hours over the past few days and it is perfect for quick ten to fifteen pick up and play or longer sessions. Priced at only $5.00 (homepage price), Vertical Drop Heroes HD is great value for money and comes highly recommended!
Addictive gameplay that keeps you coming back for one more go. Procedural generation and upgrades to keep the game feeling fresh every playthrough.
Nice cartoon style graphics and designs. Slightly annoying tooltips get in the way of the action occasionally.
A good selection of music which changes across the levels and work well with the themes.