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Woodland Heroes

Woodland Heroes

Release Date:  2011/10
Publisher:  Row Sham Bow
Developer:  Row Sham Bow

Woodland Heroes starts with several slices of picture-book-styled screens, illustrating a simple back story of the conflict between Raccoon and Bear kingdoms for control of the woodland. In it, you will take up the role of Leader of the Raccoon army to retrieve the lost land seized by bears and find the whereabouts of your Father (the king of your country).

Against the storyline, core gameplay is activated by a short but information-loaded tutorial, which is made up by a series of quests around fighting to re-claim lands from opponents. Going through it, you know the whole game: Woodland Heroes is solely about sending your Units (weapons actually) to conquer one region after another on the map. Sounds kind-of monotonous? Don’t hasten to draw such conclusion, for each battle, under the linear and brief quest list, is uniquely immersive with the entailment of both luck and brain in order to win.

Woodland Heroes has a large map, divided into hierarchical regions which respectively further consist of several tiered lands (which are battlegrounds in effect) from easy to difficult. Every battleground centers two opposing tile-based plots: one is yours to place your Units there and the other, initially shown empty, is for rival units which are invisible before you pinpoint their location and damage them enough(half of each one’s tiles at least). The number, scale and shape of tile-based plots vary from one land to another, making every battle enjoyable in its own way and saving the whole gameplay from sliding into repetitiveness.

Sitting on the tile base, the unit that covers more tiles is stronger and harder to destroy, for only will be a unit destroyed when all tiles on it are damaged. Besides, each unit is designed with a Base Type and a Shot Type, which are shown in myriads of pattern, such as 3-tile line, L-shaped form, square, and so on.

It is the number of tile bases and the shape of units that usher in strategic play. Upon entry, you may find several patches of grid-styled tile bases to place your units (whose number is subject to the limitation imposed on each battleground), and you have many plans to consider and lots of tricks to play, such as how to place units in the least expected tiles and whether to use all the plots or just part of them. After the brainstorm in the first step, namely, placing your own units, you need to rack brains, figuring out the quickest way to locate rival’s hidden units. To that end, you need to take into accounts many factors, including rival units’ base types, shape and scale of its base and the shot types of your own units, etc. Normally it takes several rounds of attack to inflict enough damage to expose rival’s units; and during the trials and errors, more hints that gradually emerge halfway will greatly quicken the pace towards victory, if you are clever enough to take them. Besides, luck also plays an important role in the win-or-lose, all the more making each battle addictive out of unpredictability.

Core strategic fighting is top-notch, so are the supportive designs in the lesser aspects. Unit Types are rich in variety and most of them are available via resources and coins collected during quests; energy consumed does not slow down level-up or set up barriers for questing very much that sometimes you even won’t notice its limitation; and graphics are terrific with artistic and diverse depiction of landscapes for each battleground.

Still, it has its own blemishes. There is not much socialization and interaction among friends, which is not commonly seen in Facebook games. Also, before and after the concrete fighting gameplay, there are too many dialogues among the in-game avatars, unnecessary and boring like a typical time-waster.

To sum up, Woodland Heroes on the whole is a wisely-made game with every aspect polished to its appropriate extent: storyline is simple, supporting systems are enjoyable and the core play is fabulous. No matter it’s for a few minutes’ leisure or several hours’ pleasure, Woodland Heroes is the very game for you.

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