Knight, Ranger, Cleric, Wizard, and Thief… these are the five traditional fantasy classes Simutronics has offered at your disposal in their new game Tiny Heroes. By this we mean that it is your job to dispose of them. Despite what the title might lead you to believe, you do not take up the role of a hero, tiny or otherwise, in Tiny Heroes; instead you are cast as the villain, although that label is a bit misleading.
Tiny Heroes is a tower defense game in which you guard your treasure from the heroes. To this end, you must use traps and creatures to fend off the good guys. Ideally, you will be able to keep any heroes from setting foot in your treasure room, as you are unable to place any defenses within the room itself. If they manage to grab your goods– or worse, escape the dungeon entirely with them– you lose stars. If the heroes make it out with all of your treasures, you fail the level.
The traps at your disposal are varied and fun, and they put an end to the so-called heroes’ lives in cartoon-like fashion. There’s no blood or guts here, just skeletons crumpling to the floor and spirits departing for the hereafter. Using mana gathered from crystals, you are able to place floor spikes, wall blades (buzzsaws which emerge from both sides of a hallway), barricades, and more in strategic positions to deal with those who would take what is rightfully yours. You can also send creatures into the dungeon, or lay defenses that aren’t in themselves lethal, but make the heroes prone to other traps– sticky tar on the floor to slow them down, or spring traps which throw them back to the beginning of the dungeon.
As you play, you’ll unlock more and more of these traps, which can be taken back to levels you’ve already completed to try to improve your score. There is also a pack of downloadable content that offers potent traps that might get you over a hump in the difficulty, but which require more mana to use and have longer reload times than your more basic traps. While some of these are handy, especially in the face of Elite versions of the heroes, they tend to have their downsides as well, such as the Gorgon wandering away from where you place her.
Also, the touch-sensitivity isn’t quite all it needs to be; often times we would touch the level map to place a trap, and be off just slightly, which would cancel out the placement of the trap. Instead of just touching the desired spot again, you must touch the trap you wish to place again, wasting valuable time. However, none of these problems are game-breaking.
Tiny Heroes is a fun and challenging game that can feel a little overwhelming at times, but if you keep an open mind in regard to their strategies, there is plenty of fun to be had here. Some of the tips aren’t especially helpful and the DLC is a questionable value, but in the end, the core experience provides one of the most fun tower defense games we’ve played, dressed up with a light Dungeons & Dragons sort of flair.