League of Heroes Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop) Developer/Publisher: Gamelion Studios Price: $4.99 Put on your monster hunting boots because Frognest needs your help, and it’s not with its name! League of Heroes is a former mobile title from Gamelion Studios that they’ve brought over to the 3DS’ eShop, in what’s hardly an unusual move. In fact there’s been an influx of cheaply priced mobile ports headed to the eShop, so with League of Heroes joining the ranks, the question is whether this is one of the titles that deserved the treatment or if this is simply fodder that should have remained on your phone. You, in the village of Frognest, are the resident hero staffed with the task of ridding the community of its monsters and really earning the "Hero" in that "League of Heroes" title. Want more of a story? Well, you’re not getting one. That’s about as deep as League of Heroes goes. People need help, and you’re the one that’s going to give it to them. The game gives you freedom towards what you want to do in Frognest, whether it's accepting missions from villagers to kill specific monsters to obtain special items, such as bones (none of which further the larger story along any, and all feel deeply similar, as you basically kill or retrieve some new random artifact). All of this basically has you going through similar, preordained maps repeatedly until you've completed your goals and killed the bad guys. Granted, this is usually what games of this nature have you doing, but League of Heroes feels particularly repetitive and lazy. It doesn’t help that the simplicity of the battle modes essentially just have you mashing the A button repeatedly to win your fights. There are also something called “Active Skills” that have you charging up a more powerful attack to eventually release later. It’s one of the better mechanics in the game, but still not much. Rid Frognest of its pesky monsters! Again, and again, and again, and agai-- For the sort of title that already expects you to do a certain degree of grinding, you would think they would work a little harder to inject variety into the maps and gameplay experience. At times, it even feels like a vastly undercooked version of Monster Hunter, almost as if this could be Monster Hunter Jr. for younger, greener, audiences who are looking to jump into the franchise. Such a careful idea would have actually been appreciated, but this is not that, and just feels like a lazy title in the end, especially when so many other similar titles that do this better are readily available. Level up, up and away! The most interesting aspect of the game is how it goes about leveling up. Rather than increasing levels raising your stats, instead, the higher your level, the more weapons, armor, and gems become available to you (as well as new skills becoming available to purchase, as well as gaining you access to new boss battles). Basically, the higher your level, the more of the game you’re able to explore and access. This is how you gain strength, and it’s a fairly creative, reasonably addictive system that will have you continually wanting to grow higher to see what the next rung of weapons and armor has in store for you. It’s not enough to offset the excessive grinding, but it’s a nice twist on typical leveling. Impressive, appropriate visuals create a compelling world to become a hero in Surprisingly, the aesthetics presented to you here actually work pretty well, considering this is a port of a mobile game. The title uses a cutesy, cartoonish art style that makes sense considering the easier, more remedial take this game has on the RPG genre (although there still is the occasional frame rate slow down when things get too hectic on the screen). To match this are an equally cute, enjoyable soundtrack and sound design, featuring small bursts of voice acting that enhance your gameplay and are a nice element. That being said, this more cartoony angle might rub some gamers the wrong way and be a detriment, just like some of the other more child-like aspects of the game. 3D or not 3D? In this case, definitely not 3D. It’s not meant to be. 3D capabilities are managed to be incorporated though, albeit confusingly and even a distraction to your gaming. When the 3D is turned on, it moves the ground and environments onto another plane, but one that doesn’t give the impression of depth or three dimensions, but rather that your characters are floating and removed from their world. This surely must have been some poor judgment, because the effect does not look good and even makes it more difficult to play. I can understand what was being attempted here, with the idea of your characters and their world being pulled out and given greater dimension, but it’s just a misfire, unfortunately. There’s at least something to be said for League of Heroes’ extremely streamlined gameplay. It’s very easy to figure all of this out, as you move with the Circle Pad, attack with A, B, X, and Y, and use your touch screen to navigate through your menus and skills. The game is wise to gradually increase the difficulty as you proceed through it all, keeping a comfortable learning curve that can be mastered and enjoyed by anyone. This simplicity might frustrate veterans of the genre though, turning this into a very slow experience that feels more like a training manual. This can still become problematic at times, like how the Circle Pad allows you to move in any of all eight directions, but your attacks only move in the cardinal main four. As a result, depending on where your character is based when attacking, you might experience frustrating missing attacks due to being set at a diagonal. It feels like a bug that could have easily been worked out, too. It’s an unnecessary little headache that you sometimes have to deal with and might lead to some unnecessary deaths. Yeah! Didn’t killing that boss feel good? So then why not do it 35 more times? Another somewhat novel idea is that in addition to the regular missions and challenges that fill up the game, every four hours more challenges will generate and become available. It’s a smart idea to have challenges based on the real-world clock, rather than your game progression. If you’re stuck or bored with your tasks, for instance, knowing that some new ones will be coming along in a few hours is a reassuring idea. Again though, this is more just the illusion of content, as all of this material is pretty much the same as what you’ve been already been doing. You’ll even get the same missions sometimes, just re-dressed as something else. Quest. Battle. Repeat. It’s always just hack and slashing until the monsters are all gone. You wouldn’t want to catch 150 Pokemon that were all clones of the same basic animal. Pros: +Huge amount of quests and missions +Creative leveling up system +Appropriate, cute soundtrack and art design +Degree of independence and choice in your gameplay Cons: -Incredibly repetitive quests and battling -Tendency to re-use gameplay and missions -Simplistic Battle Mode -Difficulty might be too simple for most -Problematic use of 3D capabilities League of Heroes is rewarded with a "think about it" recommendation as in spite of a clever leveling up system, enjoyable graphics and audio at your disposal, and an easy to master gameplay style, it’s still very problematic and lacking. Incredibly tedious, grinding gameplay, frame rate issues, problematic use of 3D, and a myriad of challenges that are interchangeable and repetitive bring down what could have been a quaint RPG title. If you’re new to the genre or inexperienced with this sort of thing, the experience might feel fresh and exciting, but otherwise, it’s a very remedial, overly simplistic game that won’t leave you hungry for more. Disclosure: A review copy was used to evaluate this game.