Developer: Likwid Games
Format: PC (browser/flash)
Mini Heroes is as close as we'll ever get to a Castaway MMO. Like every other game in the series, it is completely different from every other game in the series. Yet again, it changes everything in the formula and still manages to pull it off. This time it has turn-based combat, dungeons, and almost everything else in the past games has been remixed to fit the style and mechanics this one has to offer.
Mechanically, this game has a lot. Movement is done my clicking where you want your character to move, and combat is initiated when you click on a group of enemies and walk up to them. The combat is akin to that of classic Final Fantasy titles, where you are presented with a load of options for attacking, dealing with your items, or even running away. While movement is never controlled, there are enough options available and variables to take into account to make it all feel strategic.
A prime factor in this is all the points you have to keep up with in battle. There are health points, magic points, and action points. The strategy with health and magic is balancing healing spells, attack spells, or healing supplies so that you either don't use too much or end up dead. Once you've had some taken away, they're gone forever. Action points are a different thing altogether though. You have ten total for a fight, gain one after each turn, and regain all of them after a fight. Basic attacks or spells take one AP, but stronger attacks might take multiple. Judging when it's a good time to spend those action points can take some skill.
Creating a character is fun, as there are many options to determine things from aesthetics to style of play. Weapons include bows, one-handed swords, two-handed swords, boomerangs, daggers, clubs, staffs, and so on. As you fight with each weapon more and more you gain experience for the skill that weapon is classified under. Having a high level allows you to do more, stronger attacks with that weapon as well as use stronger ones. The only problem is that you cannot use weapons that require a skill greater than the one you possess. This isn't actually bad as it enforces the class you chose.
There are items a plenty in this game. The one weird thing about items like weapons and armor is that they have a set durability. Once the durability goes to zero it is unusable and has to be fixed for an amount of time (unless you want to pay in-game currency to speed it up). While this does get you to try new weapons and armors, it's rather unnecessary and hinders you in role playing as the character you've made.
The sheer number of items in this game is due to the crafting and alchemy systems. Crafting is different than in Castaway 2, and is done by combining a material, an infuser (optional and used to extra, permanent buffs to the item), and a template. Templates are rare as loot and cost the in-game currency (not the generic gold, but instead the paragons) to buy. This makes crafting not an often thing, keeping your smithing skill from leveling up fast, which allows you to use better materials. Alchemy is kinda like crafting but with just fruit.
The pet system is also similar to the crafting and alchemy systems in a few ways. You can hatch an egg with an infuser to give it a little buff. Other than that pets are like companions or even extra players. While you choose what they do in combat, they sort of develop their own style of play through what stats level up and what attacks they have available to them.
It's called an MMORPG, but honestly both the MMO and RPG elements are weak. There's a sort of Farmville-esque home area you're given to renovate, but considering the sheer amount of effort it takes to do and the fact that the main game is essentially dungeon crawling, it's not very important. You real just farm fruit for potions and head out. You can also talk to other people, trade, or join parties and fight with them. Honestly, the game is just as fun without others, so theres no real bonuses to playing with them.
The RPG elements are somewhat absent from this game. There's no hint at a story, no real characters (no characters at all outside the town-hub, which itself is kind of boring), and really no other RPG elements. It's more of a dungeon crawler. You go into dungeons, fight enemies, explore, get loot, and leave to either equip or sell said loot.
All of that is fun and works as a good time waster, but the problem with dungeon crawling is the key system is uses. Each door you open leads to a new room, but requires a key to be opened. In one of the rooms there will be a portal to lead to the next level of the dungeon, set with it's own rooms and doors. Problem is, keys are only obtainable in combat, and getting them when you need them can be hard. You might have to start over a whole dungeon just because you didn't get enough keys. It's such a pain, making completing dungeons a pain.
The art is beautiful, hand-drawn, and well animated. There are lots of colors and flashy effects. It all looks interesting and memorable. The music is just the same. It's atmospheric, fitting, and good. Combat feels hyped because of it, dungeon crawling feels adventurous because of it, and even chilling in the town-hub is nice because of it.
Aside from a few problems and some unintuitive menus, Mini Heroes is a rather fun game, especially if you're a Castaway fan like myself. It's a interesting dungeon crawler with MMO elements and lots of content. While the only RPG elements are how you customize your character, it's still a valiant effort. Mini Heroes is a pretty good Castaway spin on the MMO side of gaming. Now if they made keys drop more often to kick up the pace of the game, then this would be an even better spin.
Play Mini Heroes HERE