From the publishers of Poke’mon; Game Freak, comes a delightfully looking and sounding new IP called Little Town Hero on the Nintendo Switch. This game revolves around you fighting monsters but they definitely do not fit in your pocket. Ok so bad jokes aside this game has been a delight to review. I will get into the details after a short summary of the games premise.
You play as a red headed boy of 15, whose father left their little town (and I do mean little, there are a handful of buildings and about half the town is one, maybe two farms) when he was born, leaving your mother Ember to raise you by herself. Your group of friends consists of your green haired rival Matock, the blonde blacksmith in training Nelz, and the green haired farm girl Pasmina who was raised by her Grandmother Yarne since Pasmina’s mother died early on in her life. The game starts with you trying to sneak into the castle which is forbidden territory and acts as the only way in or out of the village. Starting with a rather funny intro scene that has Nelz distract the guards you still get caught and sent back home.
It just so happens that a guardsman by the name of Angard, which took me entirely too long to pronounce it en-gaurd like the fencing term (he holds his weapon in a fencing manner as well) is sent to protect the village from monsters but spends his time drinking instead. You and Matock convince him to start training you and after obtaining a mysterious red stone from your job at the mine, you over power and hurt Angard. It just so happens that this is the catalyst to the first monster attacks. Unable to fight in his condition, Angard insists that you must protect the village in his stead.
There isn’t much combat in the game unless you wish it. Early on, you get a side quest and after completing the first part you can replay fights to gain bonus Eureka points. Other than that, each chapter has one boss (some side quests do end with a boss) and you occasionally fight your rival Matock, or some animals around town. A fight against a monster involves you and your enemy starting in one space and after each turn a number between 1-4 is chosen at random and you move that many spaces, only able to choose where you go if there is a branch in the path or if you get a ‘Free Mobility’ perk to go off. The spaces can have nothing on it, or in a couple of fights something advantageous for the monster. Objects that aid you in a fight if you use a specific Dazzit, a new Izzit that can only be used in that fight, or an ally who will help you with a special move. Spaces can have multiple effects on them and if you do side quests you can unlock even more people to help you. The objects or gimmicks (as the game calls them) get upgraded a couple of times throughout the game too.
You start each battle with a random selection of Izzits that you use your Pow to transform into a Dazzit and then you use the Dazzit to attack an enemy Dazzit (you still with me?). You want to try and break all the enemy Dazzit’s with a remaining red Dazzit left over so you can go into a chance turn and deal damage to the enemy’s guts (armor that regenerates whenever you deal damage to the health) or their body (health). Dazzits come in three flavors, red which are one time use but persist if they do not break, yellow which can be used multiple times in one round, and blue which do not attack but can either buff or do something special such as damage all enemy Dazzits or even the enemy’s body without breaking all their Dazzits. The monsters have their own flavor of blue and red Dazzits and all of them have varying effects such as pierce, free mobility after use, and others. You can also upgrade your Dazzits and increase your guts to a maximum of 12 by spending Eureka points you get for completing some side quests, beating monsters, and even failing to defeat a monster will net you at least one point. You can retry the fight after being able to upgrade your Dazzits.
Some monsters have their own special mechanics when fighting them and the last boss is a bit of a pain. Depending on how lucky you are and how well you plan, determines how long the fight will be. Do not worry though as there are no rock-paper-scissors system in this game and you can take as long as you want to plan out what Izzits to turn to Dazzits, and what Dazzits to use and when. You can pick what Izzits you have, but it consumes BP and the cost goes up every time you swap one out from what is called your Headspace to where you can use it. You only get a BP when you break all the enemy Dazzits and have a Pow left over. You can also use 2 BP initially to restore all your used Izzits without having to take body damage. So using them wisely can help you snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The voice acting is just gibberish but still cute and fits with the art style of the game. And my favorite part of the aesthetics is the music. The music is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! It changes in some chapters and in the normal fight music even gets changed and sounds triumphant during the final boss fight. Toby Fox outdid himself for this game. The art of the game is also pleasing and cute, with great animations though there are only a few for your attacks. I will say it is funny how you use the same finishing move that kills monsters on your friends and animals that you practice or try to catch.
The game runs fine, so long as there are not a lot of objects on the screen. There is a decently long set of train tracks leading from the shopping district to the mines and the game starts to really chug (no pun intended) along unless I move the camera to the side. Occasionally, the same can happen when moving around the farm but really only if you get close to the wheat fields. During combat it runs fine, though sometimes slows down during the finishing move. All things considered, it does not take much of a toll out of the battery. I was getting around 3 hours or so before I decided to dock my switch and that was with about 25% charge left. I am also using the upgraded switch. My biggest complaint though is the RNG in the game. The RNG is the core of the game and that can lead to some satisfying and frustrating moments. I was able to defeat one of the last bosses with a chicken because I managed to get the Throw Izzit after landing on a space with a chicken on it. However, the final boss beat me because I bypassed a couple of key spots which made me loop around a couple more times, using up more of my moves, guts, and getting me down to a losing situation, ultimately making me redo the final part. There were also times when it just made a fight drag on because I was unable to get what I needed or wanted.
Little Town Hero comes down to this; the game is a lot of fun and has a tremendous amount of charm. The flip-side to that is with RNG being such a key part of the game, it can lead to frustratingly long fights. Even without doing the handful of side quests or fighting monsters again from either loosing a fight or through the practice option, the game will run you around 20 hours. The story is good, has some sad moments, some happy ones, and plenty of funny moments with a few twists towards the end that I did not see coming. I do recommend this game, like I said it oozes with charm, just be prepared to possibly get frustrated if you loose a fight after 20+ rounds because of bad RNG. Overall though, Little Town Hero is a fantastic new IP that is a ton of fun to play. – TS
Little Town Hero is now available on Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch review code provided by Rainy Frog