Parents' Guide to

The Cruel King and the Great Hero

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Beautiful, memorable storybook tale struggles with pacing.

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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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With a gorgeous art style and beautifully-written story, this adventure sets itself up for success right away, but its gameplay is flawed. Thanks to the characters of The Cruel King and The Great Hero, players will immediately fall in love with Yuu and the Dragon King's relationship. One of the most emotionally-moving moments occurs when Yuu first goes out to explore the world on her own. She thinks she's alone, but the Dragon King is actually hidden away in the forest behind her, where he remains throughout most of the game. Small details such as this allow for emotional investment in the story that continues to pay off as it unfolds.

This title shows flaws, though, when considering the gameplay itself. After all, this is an RPG (role-playing game), not a visual novel. There's nothing complicated about the battle system or the environments, but the gameplay feels inconsistent. Yuu and the characters she teams up with only have a few move options, and it takes too long to get new abilities. So, in the beginning, battles feel very repetitive. This is further complicated by the rate at which Yuu runs into enemies when exploring. Sometimes, players can't take a few steps without encountering another repetitive battle with weak enemies. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Yuu will face enemies that are particularly difficult, making players feel like they entered the wrong area of the map or didn't level up enough to continue. These gameplay issues are disappointing when considering how strong the story is by itself. If the battles were too simple or repetitive, this could be the perfect starter RPG for young players to experience an amazing story and learn some RPG mechanics. If the battles were more challenging, this would be a unique title for older players looking for a great story and gameplay that keeps their attention. But, thanks to these inconsistencies, this title is an okay pick for everyone instead of being precisely engineered for a specific audience.

Game Details

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