Vertical Drop Heroes HD
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2014-10-06 PC Platform E (Everyone) Nerdook Productions

I'll admit it, I'm horrible at platform games. Mostly because I tend to miss my jumps a lot and fall to my death. Fortunately, in Vertical Drop Heroes falling down is a good thing, since that is the way we have to go.

The story tells us about a hero who will be granted the knowledge of all existence if he manages to overcome a series of trials. Every adventurer thinks that this prophecy applies to them, though, so basically, each time you begin a game, it tells the story of that particular hero and what became of his/her adventure.

The character selection screen gives you three randomly generated characters to choose from, each with different look, attributes and skills. You can also re-roll to get new characters, but this costs coins which you won't have right away. You will soon enough discover that your heroes won't last long at first, and that just dropping down while avoiding enemies isn't productive either.

The controls are simple enough: move with the arrows, use X to attack (or you can have your character auto-attack when in proximity of enemies if you're feeling lazy enough not to press a key), and use your abilities with Z and C. The down arrow is used to interact with objects and NPCs.

Going through the portal for the first time will take you to your first adventure. The goal is to reach the bottom, but you shouldn't avoid fights, since you always begin at level 1 and you NEED to level up. Kill what you can for experience, collect coins and keys, open chests. Talk to NPCs for “mini-quests” and to purchase new abilities for future characters. It's important to note that whatever ability you purchase and unlock during a level will not apply to your current hero, but can be present in future characters.

One of my favorite features were the shrines. These stone monuments have different effects when you activate them. Some can unlock temporary abilities or raise your stats until the end of the stage, others can spawn extra enemies and give you bonus experience, some will even spawn gems and coins, and a few will have some sort of interesting freezing or burning effect around you (which can either help or hinder you).

I also liked how we can choose to release prisoners, even if we're not doing a mini-quest that requires us to open their cages. These characters can be helpful by becoming allies and attacking monsters, or dropping precious coins.

On your way down, you must avoid spikes, flames, moving platforms that can sometimes squish you, and other deadly obstacles, and attempt to defeat projectile-throwing enemies, monsters that split into smaller versions of themselves, creatures that temporarily fade and can't be hit and much more. At the bottom of each stage is a boss, sometimes by itself, sometimes with a series of “friends” to make things more complicated. Save your special abilities for these times where you will definitely need them.

Vertical Drop Heroes can be really addictive, and I found myself starting game after game just to see how far I could go. Sure, it gets a bit frustrating having to start from level 1 every time, but with the unlocked upgrades and shortcuts, you can get further and further every time.

The randomly generated levels help keep the gameplay fresh so you won't get bored too soon, and the enemies and obstacles change from one to the next. I did find the odd occasion where there was no way to progress further, and I had no way to break any blocks nearby to make a hole to squeeze through. But once in the dozens (or was it really hundreds?) of games I've played is not too bad! I haven't reached level 10 yet - the furthest I've been was level 7 - but eventually one of my randomly generated tiny heroes will reach the end of all trials and be granted the knowledge of all existence as promised!