Every so often I come across a game that attempts to offer a new twist on what would normally be tired old-school mechanics. In One Way Heroics, darkness is rapidly approaching ready to swallow the world whole. The only one who can defeat the dreaded Demon Lord seemingly in control of all of this terror and stop the encroaching doom is you, the destined hero.
As soon as the game begins and you set off on your journey, you quickly realize that every single action you take in the game moves the screen a nudge to the right. Like a spike wall, touching the darkness is instant Game Over.
Everything to the left, the only area of advancement, is procedurally generated in terms of environments and monsters, making every new game a different experience. Different allies can also be recruited to help in the battle against this overwhelming evil, sometimes with hilarious results. Nothing quite like showing up at the final boss at Level 10 with a couple of rag-tag soldiers from a town miles away.
Dying isn't the end of the world in this game. Every run nets the character Hero Points that can be used towards unlocking things such as item storage (or Dimensional Vault as it's known in the game), special abilities that may make the next run easier, more character classes, and more. I spent a lot of time saving my points up since the game can be played for minutes at a time.
There are also Save Points (or Save NPCs) located in many of the towns to help keep your progress intact including the items obtained during the adventure. What I discovered at a certain point though is that it becomes a much easier decision to just go ahead and die to help core stats grow instead of trying to persevere in what may be a dead end situation. It's this type of tactical thinking that gives the game a good amount of appeal.
Speaking of energy, the character also has a Hunger bar that controls the speed of the character and how quickly they restore health. The bar slowly drains with an action, and once that bar hits zero, life regenerates slower and the character becomes sluggish.
It's not a game breaker since there are plenty of items to be found that may contain food to replenish your stamina but it feels like there is a hidden overseer making sure that these become harder to come by as the game goes on.
Easy to approach and difficult to advance through, One Way Heroics is a surprising title that deliivers a practically infinite amount of replayability here, a wonderful hallmark of the roguelike genre. The mechanics and controls are solid, the unique Replay videos are fun to watch, there are daily challenges and PvP mode to keep things fresh, and the camera is pulled back enough that I never felt claustrophobic trying to make my way to the Demon Lord.
It may not look that pretty, and the world doesn't seem all that well put-together no matter how it's generated, but for a game offering this amount of quality and only costs under $2 to purchase, that's a strong enough reason to give the game a try.
Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided to RPG Site by the publisher.