Hero U: Rogue to Redemption
Magic school adventure's slow pacing pays off in great game.
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Hero U: Rogue to Redemption
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hero U: Rouge to Redemption is a fantasy adventure game available for Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. Created by veteran designers Lori and Corey Cole, Hero U is their first game published together in over 20 years. It exists within the same universe as the Coles' famous 1990s adventure game series Quest for Glory, though no knowledge of the past series is required to follow this game. This story follows a young man who, after being caught stealing, is forced to attend Hero U, a magical school that trains heroes, as punishment. Players have the option to flirt with some of their classmates, with comments that aren't overtly sexual, but there are some unsolicited comments about female characters' appearance. Players can also indulge in some drinking and gambling in the game, which will have negative repercussions. There are some fights but no blood, and no fights are against human opponents.
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What’s It About?
In HERO U: ROGUE TO REDEMPTION, Shawn O'Conner is a bit of an outsider. After he's caught trying to steal a valuable coin from a flashy home, he's whisked away to magic school Hero U and forced to choose between going to jail or attending classes there. Shawn is assigned to the Rogue class, which at Hero U is called "Disbarred Bards," in order to avoid the stigma of roguish activities. Shawn soon meets his classmates -- Thomas, Caesari, Katie, Esme, and Joel -- and learns the daily routine of balancing classes, improving skills, and exploring the castle. Throughout each day, events such as exams and optional quests emerge as players make choices about who Shawn will become. Who will he become close to? Can he avoid the overbearing gaze of Headmaster Mortimer Terk, who will seemingly stop at nothing to find a reason to have Shawn expelled? Will Shawn spend more time in the library or sneaking around the halls past curfew? Most importantly, who is the anonymous sponsor who brought Shawn to Hero U in the first place?
Is It Any Good?
In the best way possible, this adventure feels like a game that was made 20 years ago. The dialogue in Hero U: Rouge to Redemption is offbeat and witty in a way that feels imperfect. It's slow to get started and doesn't give players all the answers they need right away. In a way, it's not offering instant gratification. Hero U is a great example, reminding players that old school doesn't necessarily mean outdated, and new doesn't necessarily mean innovative. While this slower-paced experience may feel more familiar to those who remember playing older games, it's not so foreign that younger players won't be able to appreciate it.
A positive standout feature is the lack of "right" and "wrong" choices in how players choose to spend their time. Many strategies will lead Shawn successfully throughout the story, since the only real goal is to avoid expulsion. There's also a relaxing element to the routine of each school day. Many events are the same, but each class lecture contains a unique cutscene that either moves the story along or offers information that will be relevant to a class exam question (which players have to remember the answers to and manually answer!). It's all but guaranteed that players won't be able to discover everything on the first playthrough, and understanding how to maximize Shawn's time every day between skill-building, peer relationships, and money-making for school supplies is difficult at first. It's easy to feel like not much is being accomplished in the first few days, but once players find a rhythm, the days move faster and become more rewarding, leaving extra time for optional quests and puzzles. Overall, fans of casual RPGs (role-playing games) and fantasy adventures are sure to appreciate the corny jokes and small details throughout this tale of adolescent shenanigans and hard-earned redemption.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the ways that Shawn attempts to flirt with his classmates. What about his approach might be appropriate or inappropriate in real life, and what are realistic ways that people can tell if affection is reciprocated?
Is there ever a difference between stealing and "borrowing" items, as some game characters say? What's the correct way to borrow an item from a friend or family member?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Transolar Games
- Release date: February 16, 2021
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy violence, suggestive themes, simulated gambling, use of alcohol.
- Last updated: March 4, 2021
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