Should I Buy? – Twilight Heroes

Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with *that* Twilight. Instead, it’s a free text-based superhero browser game. Ever played Kingdom of Loathing? It’s like that. No? Well. I suppose I should explain.

You live in the ridiculously crime-ridden Twilight City, and one day you’re pushed too far and decide to take matters into your own hand. And then get beaten up. But, you find a magical talisman that bestows special powers upon you. From there, you set out on your quest to combat crime by patrolling areas of the town and completing quests.

When you start you’ll be asked to give a superhero name and choose one of four classes. There’s the strength based Animalist, the speedy Gadgeteer, the cerebral Psion and the balanced Elementalist. Each gets its own different skills and its stats (Strength, Reflexes & Intellect) grow at different rates.

Unfortunately, you only get one hero per account, so you’ll have to use multiple email addresses to play as the different classes. For the record, I’m a Gadgeteer called Calico Jack. I get skills like stun grenades and electrified nets.

All the gameplay is handled through text screens. Don’t let that put you off though, after all if Echo Bazaar (which I bet none of you are playing, even though I reviewed it twice and mention it at every possible opportunity) can work on text alone, so can other games. For the most part it does, though it means combat is pretty lifeless.

The game tries to get by with humour, loving puns, spoonerisms and pop culture references. It makes stuff a bit hard to take seriously, but I’d already accepted this game wasn’t going to be dark and gritty when I was attacking angry old ladies with a water spray bottle because it was three times stronger than my slingshot.

The game is quite well paced, with new areas opening up as you complete quests and get better vehicles. However, it never tells you how strong enemies in any particular area will be so you might roll up with your beanbag cannon and find regular mooks steamrolling you.

This pacing does rely on you actually doing the quests, but therein lies a few more problems. The biggest is that sometimes you need to be using certain items or have certain skills that the game gives no, or very oblique hints to. There is a link to the game’s wiki on the side that you can use to check these things out, but that shouldn’t be necessary.

There’s a few more systems at play. Once you reach a certain point you can perform a ‘retcon’ to send you back to the beginning of the game to play through the content again with additional challenges for rewards. There’s also the ability to decrypt stuff with computers and combine different items to crate new ones. The decrypting and combining don’t give you any hints on what works though, and so unless you’re willing to trawl the wiki you’ll probably ignore them.

There is a system whereby you can donate money and get in-game rewards but I’ve not tried it so I can’t comment.

You only get a limited number of turns per day, though this can be extended by a certain amount with level ups and a daily limit of caffeine and sugar.

All in all I’ve been having a great time with this game for the past few weeks, and I recommend it to anybody out there with the free time to sink into it. Where else can you dress up in padded pyjamas and fairy wings to battle ravers with a dented hubcap?


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