STRANGE to think that such a diverse game like Fable should have an off shoot like Fable Heroes and yet here it is.
Created by Lionhead studios, on what they refer to as their creative day - an annual event, allowing members of staff to showcase an idea - this is the result.
Fable Heroes, available on XBOX LIVE®, is a basic hack and slash co-op game involving up to four players, on-line and locally, set within the Fable universe.
The objective of the game is to hack and slash your way through each level with your three buddies who are the Fable Hero dolls (dressed as Fable characters) and collect as many gold coins as possible. You then reach a fork in the road at the end, and you can choose either a boss battle, or a mini game.
After defeating the boss, or mini game, your gold count is totted up and each player is awarded accordingly, usually with a place on the podium. Unless you come last, of course - then it’s the bowed head of shame, with the obligatory trombone noise.
OK, so you have all this gold burning a hole in your puppet pocket, what do you do with it? Buy upgrades of course!
This process I found to be a little tedious. You have to throw a dice and then choose what upgrade you want from that square (each character has 39 upgrades) which is a fine and dandy to start with, but as you progress you find it takes ages to land on the right square to get the upgrade you are missing. These can be additional power or weapons, weapon upgrades and even movement and attack enhancements.
So what do you do when you’ve upgraded to the max and you still have loads of gold left? Well you can donate it to your fellow players so they can upgrade quicker, or keep it and transfer it over to Fable: The Journey, which launches soon.
To be honest the game is so easy you don’t really need all these upgrades. Defeating packs of Hobbes, Beetles, and other assorted baddies isn’t the hardest thing to do and you are given the opportunity to gain temporary upgrades at the beginning of each battle, by pressing the A button next to a treasure chest resulting in a variety of different changes.
There is of course a moral choice as well during the game, when you occasionally come across “good and evil” chests giving you the opportunity to bestow a temporary power on one of your buddies or inflict a curse which that player can transfer to another on contact, or suffer the consequences.
Gameplay is pretty straight forward, as are the controls. The one thing that puzzles me is what age group they are aiming at here. The look of the game is childlike, yet the content is very violent.
The whole point of Fable Heroes is co-operation. This is a multi-player game and should be seen as that. It can be fun to play, the graphics are bright and cheerful and the controls simple and undemanding.
Fable fans will love the attention to detail as you get to visit some of the more well-known places from the original series.
Fable Heroes is a no nonsense, straight forward co-op game that’s easy to play and has its moments of irritation. It is more for fans of the Fable universe and I can’t imagine many non-Fable fans showing an interest.
I still think it is somewhat confusing as to which age group it is aimed at, but there is no bad language in this so it could be aimed at kids.
I give Fable Heroes 7 out of 10 - it does have some nice moments but it’s hardly a challenge.
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Release Date: 2nd May 2012