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Heroland
Game Reviews

Heroland

Go on (fake) adventures with (fake) heroes and earn your way to retirement in this stylish, legit funny theme park simulator.

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It’s time for a trip to an amusement park! Actually, nah, I’ll pass. I’m not a big fan of rides, y’see. That tends to confuse friends and family, who think being strapped into a death machine is the height of fun. That’s fine with me; I’ll just chow down on a funnel cake or something while I wait to see if this is the day the rides explode and kill everyone. Maybe I’ll even play a game or two of Heroland on my Switch while I wait. How’s that for a segue?

Heroland is a new kind of amusement park! Visitors get to step into new roles as warriors, mages and clerics, battling evil monsters and collecting loot. It’s all your RPG dreams come true! Well…it’s all their RPG dreams come true. Not yours. You’re just a tour guide, pressed into service thanks to being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At least you can try to make a career out of this.

None of the adventures are real, per se, but that doesn’t mean the actors playing monsters aren’t going to try to beat up your guests. The guests will fight back, of course, but they’ll make their own decisions and those might not be so great. That means you’ll need to leap in and make suggestions! Sure, leaping is tiring so you can only do it every so often, but your words of wisdom might make the difference between a fussy guest and a happy camper.

Remember, your job is to keep guests content. That means that even though you’ll be finding treasure and collecting loot from opponents as you “explore,” that stuff’s all for them! Not you! Heroland pays you! (Theoretically!) They might not notice if you nick a couple things here and there, though. Doing so will ensure you have extra gear to hand to guests in need, as well as allowing you to load up on plushies to decorate your Heroland-provided room. You’ll have to balance your overwhelming need for stuffed monsters with the quality of your guests’ stay.

Heroland has a pixel art/papercraft aesthetic reminiscent of something like Paper Mario. It’s also one of those few games that goes for a humorous approach, and it’s one of the fewer games that actually lands it; Heroland can result in some legitimate chuckles from time to time, such as the constant attempts by your otter pal Otterman to be recognized as anything but an otter. It makes more sense in context.

While it can be frustrating to not have full control over your party of guests, Heroland still manages to be an addictive and enjoyable experience. There’s plenty of content to check out, cutscenes tend to be genuinely laugh worthy rather than cinematic slogs and there’s something to be said for plushie collection. The dungeon-run format also suits the Switch’s hybrid capabilities well, so if you’re, say, waiting for your pals to get off one of those horrifying roller coasters, you might try passing the time with this little slice of pixelated heaven.

About the Author: Cory Galliher