STRANGE to think that such a diverse game like FABLE should have an off shoot like FABLE HEROES and yet here it is, created by LIONHEAD studios on what they refer to as their CREATIVE day an annual event, allowing members of staff to showcase an idea - and this is the result.
FABLE HEROES, available on XBOX LIVE®, is a basic hack and slash co-op game involving up to 4 players, on-line and locally, set within the FABLE universe, and that is it really.
The objective of the game is to hack and slash your way through each level with your 3 buddies who are the FABLE HERO dolls (who are dressed as FABLE characters) and collect as many gold coins as possible, you then reach a fork in the road at the end, and you can choose either a boss battle, or a mini game.
After defeating the boss, or mini game, your gold count is totted up, and each player is awarded accordingly, usually with a place on the podium, unless you come last of course, then it’s the bowed head of shame, with the obligatory trombone noise.
OK, so you have all this gold burning a hole in your puppet pocket, what do you do with it? Buy upgrades of course! This process I found to be a little tedious. You have to throw a dice and then choose what upgrade you want from that square (each character has 39 upgrades) which is a fine and dandy to start with, but as you progress you find it takes ages to land on the right square to get the upgrade you are missing. These can be additional power or weapons, weapon upgrades and even movement and attack enhancements.
So what do you do when you’ve upgraded to the max and you still have loads of gold left? Well you can donate it to your fellow players, so they can upgrade quicker, or keep it and transfer it over to FABLE: THE JOURNEY (which launches soon).
To be honest, the game is so easy you don`t really need all these upgrades, defeating packs of HOBBES, BEETLES, and other assorted baddies isn`t the hardest thing to do, and you are given the opportunity to gain temporary upgrades at the beginning of each battle by pressing button A next to a treasure chest, resulting in a variety of different changes. There is, of course, a moral choice as well during the game when you occasionally come across “good and evil” chests giving you the opportunity to bestow a temporary power on one of your buddies, or inflict a curse which that player can transfer to another on contact, or suffer the consequences.
Gameplay is pretty straightforward, as are the controls; the one thing that puzzles me is what age group are they aiming at here? I mean the look of the game is childlike, yet the content is very violent.
The whole point of FABLE HEROES is co-operation, this is a multi-player game and should be seen as that. It’s definitely not a single player that’s for sure, and it can be fun to play, the graphics are bright and cheerful and the controls simple and undemanding.
FABLE fans will love the attention to detail as you get to visit some of the more well-known places from the original FABLE series.
FABLE HEROES is a no nonsense, straightforward co-op game that’s easy to play and has its moments of irritation. It is more for fans of the FABLE UNIVERSE to be honest, and I can`t imagine many non-FABLE fans showing an interest. I still think it is somewhat confusing as to which age group it is aimed at, but at least there is no bad language in this so it must be aimed at kids!
I give FABLE HEROES 7 out of 10 it does have some nice moments but it’s hardly a challenge
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Xbox Live Arcade®
Release Date: 2nd May 2012
Review by Dayvid Ryan