Review: Fable Heroes (XBLA)

by

Lionhead Studios and Microsoft bring us the third title in the Arcade NEXT promotion for Xbox Live Arcade, Fable Heroes. This may not be what many fans expected and is somewhat different game to what we are used to seeing in a game of the Fable franchise. By the look of it, seems this game will be loved or hated by the fans of the Fable series.

Story
You play with puppets.. Yes, that’s it.. No story whatsoever, now let’s move on.

Gameplay
This is a side scrolling beat em up, you can either play local or via Xbox Live with up to 4 players. If you decide to play solo, the other 3 puppets are controlled by the AI, in the fashion of Left 4 Dead games, without the awesome sauce of course.
By default you can choose one of four different puppets; Reaver, Garth, Hammer and The Hero from Fable 3. Additional puppets can be unlocked by completing objectives. Apparently some of the puppets can be unlocked only when you play Fable: The Journey and viceversa, the gold you obtain in Fable Heroes may be transferred to Fable: The Journey.

Fable Heroes

Combat is not bad and has something for everyone, depending on your own style of play. This ranges from swords, guns, hammers and magic.
Most of the stages are pretty linear without room to explore or discover new areas, that’s it until you reach the end of the level and the road divides in two, leading you to a different route with mini game or a boss fight.
In each level you will find multiple chests in which you will find power ups; as money, slowing time for the enemy, a double that will help you fight, become a giant or a small self. But that’s not all, there are also chests in which you can obtain rewards or misfortunes.
At the end of each level your puppets go to a board game which will be able to roll dice to move on the board, the number of rolls depends on the gold you have earned at the end of each stage.
Each square on the board has different attributes, imagine monopoly or similar games without the penalty boxes. The main objective of the board is to power up your puppet, you get 1/5 options in each square, each upgrade is not free, you have to spend gold and some upgrades are pricey. So get on to grinding the minigames!

If like me, you are a completionist, you will spend a lot of time grinding for gold until you buy every single power up.

Controls if not bad are not really impressive, same can be told of the different attacks, X for a weak attack, Y for a strong attack. (Which is slow to cast, but can be upgraded) The area of effect attack is really effective at killing massive amount of enemies. (But this comes with a price, one of your hearts is depleted, so it cannot be abused.) If you are low on hearts you can die easily, don’t get cocky!

Fable Heroes

Graphics 8/10
The graphics are not bad, the cel shading cartoony style will remind you games like Costume Quest and Dungeon Defenders.
Of course Dungeon Defenders is hardcore mode and Fable Heroes is rainbow mode, clearly a game that was not designed with a mature audience in mind, a graphic style that is not bad but will keep away many hardcore gamers.

Sound 6.5/10
The music is cute, very casual, cannot say bad but nothing epic to comment really. As I said before seems it was aimed for a very young audience and not for a grown up player, after a while it can get boring. I wish they did something better like the music for Castle Crashers, that was catchy, with nice tunes and variety, alas was not.

Extras
The game comes with two avatar awards, one t-shirt with the game logo on it, not very impressive but ehh. The second avatar award is a mask from one of the Fable characters, this is not so bad actually. I love when developers give us this plus, although i wish there was more, can’t really complain when it comes to freebies for the avatar.

Downsides
Fable Heroes can be pretty linear, perhaps too much, without room to explore you really don’t have much interest in replaying a level at all, except exploring both paths at the end, aside of that, could have been better.
There is no story whatsoever, this really takes away not only the gold but the silver as well, i wish there was any story, there is none, bummer.
Dont force people to buy another game to unlock content, hated that in Castle Crashers and hate it on Fable Heroes, i refuse to buy Fable: The Journey just to unlock a few puppets. Gamers buying this game may not like Fable or may not even own a Kinect, more of a marketing tactic than a bonus for the fans.

Fable Heroes

Overall
So it’s enjoyable? I can say it is but do not feels like a Fable game. Definitely Fable Heroes is not for everyone, especially may not be for the fans of the series in search of a more mature and enriching gameplay experience.
The game is very casual, if you can get past the childish look of the graphics and the music, you may find the game enjoyable even if you are not a fan of Fable, as there is no story or plot behind the game you are not missing much if you are new to the fable universe.
Fable Heroes it’s available for the Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Microsoft Points

We give the game a 7 out of 10

~Mario