Grind. Any person who’s played an MMO, perhaps barring Guild Wars 2, will be intimately familiar with the concept. Some see it as a necessary mechanic to allow the learning of game mechanics and to give a reason to explore the usually huge open-world environments. Others see it as a way of padding and prolonging the experience. In truth, it depends on the game and in some cases it is entirely necessary, in others it is less so. The common denominator though is that the grind is a means to an end and not the driving force of the experience.
I wish I could say the same about Heroes of Camelot.
Heroes of Camelot is a card based adventure game with RPG elements. At least that’s what it seems to want to be, in reality it comes across as a kill ten boars game. Without the boars.
You’re an adventurer tasked with finding King Arthur with a view to saving England from the attentions of the Dark Knight. You meet this chap quite early on and are unceremoniously handed your ass as a result. This serves as a good driving motivation for the early part of the game – where you build your deck and pick what forces you want to take into each battle. There’s some nice flexibility here and the ability to combine cards, specifically lower value ones, into more powerful versions is a nice touch. There’s also a crossing ability where two powerful cards can be combined to produce and even more powerful card. It adds a nice layer of strategy to the collecting aspect.
The art style is serviceable: though it’s clear that there are some talented artists on the team, the design is largely cliched and mainly, male-centric. There are some nice touches and the production values are also quite high, it’s just a shame about the game itself.
The card battles are automatic and based entirely on the the deck you chose prior to it. You have no options to choose a deck depending on the opponents. You also have no choices in which cards are played or in how they are used. In fact after the first few fights you’ll opt for the auto resolve button- reducing the entire premise to a whoever has the highest HP ( and healing cards, though their use is unclear). You gain cards by exploring the land around the cities, where you will also have random encounters and a final boss fight at each stage. The theory being you need to explore to get the cards you need to beat the increasingly tough bosses. Unfortunately exploration is just a case of pressing a button and either taking what you’re given or getting into a fight and pressing the auto resolve button.
There’s also the monetisation aspect, where you can buy gems to summon highly powerful cards to give you an edge, but I’ve yet to meet an area where that was required. This game has a weird feeling, you play on thinking that you’re just on the grind section before the game proper, or meta game starts, but it never does. The grind is the entire experience here. If it weren’t for the reasonably good art and high production values I’d actually think this was an amateurs attempt at a card based RPG, but as it is it just seems like they either didn’t get to finish the actually game part, didn’t realise they had to, or hid it so well I couldn’t find it.
There’s no reason at all to get this game as there are multiple better examples out there, including two superb games (the Magic games and the new Hearthstone) so I’d just move on and wish the Dark Knight the best of luck- he’s probably just trying to put them out of their misery.
Verdict – Off Target.
Platforms Available/Reviewed – iOS
Reviewed on an iPad 4 from the free full release version. Please check this for more on our scoring policy.