If you like dungeon crawler games, you would’ve probably heard of ReadySet Heroes. Developed by Robot Entertainment and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, it’s touted as a “fast-paced multiplayer dungeon crawler that packs a big twist.”
Unfortunately, the multiplayer aspect of ReadySet Heroes could use some work, and while the “big twist” offers some potential, other aspects of the game can get downright frustrating.
What It Is
As mentioned, ReadySet Heroes is a dungeon crawler. There are two game modes: Tower Crawl (basically the single player mode) and Crawl N’ Brawl, which can be played online or locally. Once you’ve chosen the game mode, you pick one of six characters – four more need to be unlocked by completing certain challenges – and you’ll be thrown right into the game.
Tower Crawl is a local-only mode; up to two players can cooperate to clear 30 randomly generated rooms, and you’ve only got three lives. As you progress to new rooms, they get progressively more difficult, and you’ll meet four different bosses too. You may even stumble upon “secret rooms” that offer extra loot.
Once you’ve cleared a room, you’ll get a chest that offer a number of things: weapons, equipment, gears, or spells. Each of them have different rarities too, ranging from Common to Legendary, though the game doesn’t really explain how rarity impacts the gameplay.
Oh, as you progress through the game, you can break barrels and kill enemies to gather “gems” of different colours, which improve your stats accordingly. Red gems, for example, increase your attack power.
That’s generally what Tower Crawl is all about. Crawl N’ Brawl, on the other hand, works on the same premises, but there’s a timer. Once it counts down to zero, all players duke it out in a mini-game to determine the winner. However, I only managed to play very little of this mode – I’ll elaborate more on this further down this review.
The Good Stuff
Although the characters you choose in ReadySet Heroes do not impact the gameplay, the different weapons you get from chests do. There are five weapons in the game: Sword, Axe, Staff, Daggers, and…a Lute. No kidding, you can use the musical instrument as a weapon in this game.
Each of these weapons have their own unique attacks and animations. All weapons have a normal three-hit attack, and you can tap and hold on the attack button to unleash a charged attack. With the Sword, for example, a charged attack is a 360-degree roundslash.
Of course, there is also a secondary attack. Again, let’s take the Sword as an example. Once I’ve activated the secondary attack, the character will hold a pose. If I’m attacked in this pose, the character will perform a counterattack. As you probably can tell by now, the Sword is my favourite weapon.
While ReadySet Heroes isn’t the most impressive-looking game graphically, I do like the cute art style with bright and vibrant colours. On top of that, I didn’t face any performance issue either – I played the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro system.
All in all, I do like the versatility of the weapons in ReadySet Heroes, though it’s too bad this is affected by RNG. This is especially the case if you’re looking to get a specific weapon to suit your playstyle.
The Bad Stuff
Unfortunately, there are quite a number of things that aren’t particularly great about ReadySet Heroes, and the multiplayer aspect is the worst offender. See, it’s extremely difficult to be matched with anyone online, with the matchmaking process often timing out.
There are a couple of times where I did manage to get into a Crawl N’ Brawl with a couple of players, but even then the connection quality wasn’t great; I even got disconnected in one match. Really, it got to the point where “online multiplayer” almost feels like a redundant feature in this game.
Switching over to local multiplayer isn’t any better either, no thanks to the split-screen with huge black bars, leaving a rather small screen for each player.
And then there’s the RNG aspect of ReadySet Heroes, which impacts the game a little bit too much. Depending on your luck, you may get better equipment earlier in your Tower Crawl run, much later, or never at all. In fact, the game gets a lot easier if you manage to acquire the most powerful item in the game: the Shovel gear. Without this one item, I doubt I could finish the Tower Crawl mode.
What makes the Shovel such a broken item is the fact that it can dig up gems to power up your character accordingly. Since there is no time limit in Tower Crawl mode, you can just slowly dig up for gems until all of your attributes are maxed out.
No, it’s not fun and it’s time-consuming, but without this, it’s pretty difficult to clear all 30 room, given that gems are only dropped by slain enemies and breaking barrels. It also doesn’t help that health potions drop very rarely, which is also the only way to heal up. Did I mention it’s also possible to get potions with the Shovel?
Last but certainly not least is the fact that ReadySet Heroes doesn’t really teach you how to play the game. When I started my first match, it took me a while to figure out the controls. If I hadn’t go through the menu to look at the controls, I probably wouldn’t know about the secondary attack.
Is It Worth It?
ReadySet Heroes it not a bad game, per se: it just needs more polishing here and there to really shine. If the online multiplayer actually worked, and the RNG isn’t so punishing, it can actually be a really fun game to play with friends and families.
In its current state, ReadySet Heroes is a hard game to recommend, even if it costs only RM79 on the PlayStation Store. But for what it’s worth, it felt very satisfying when I finally managed to clear the Tower Crawl mode. I can definitely see myself getting back into the game occasionally to just relax and wind down.
Maybe I can finally enjoy a proper online match then.