No game with singing cacti can be all bad

As modern games get tougher, greyer, and grittier, we can count on Korean-made role-playing games to get cuter. Hello Hero, a free-to-play social RPG by Fincon, might be the most adorable game to exist up to this point thanks to its myriad recruitable monsters. The ability to sway baddies onto your side makes Hello Hero a fun game to settle into for a while, though character growth can be excruciatingly slow if you’re not willing to pay for it.

Hello Hero

Hello Hero takes place in a monster-plagued world that’s troubled by demon worship. Heroes are needed to put things right. Preferably, a lot of heroes led by you.

Your party travels across several maps, each one marked with battlefields. When a battlefield is entered, your heroes stand on the lower left side of the screen, while the bad guys stand on the upper right side (as is proper custom). The heroes and monsters then exchange blows.

Your heroes attack their foes automatically, though you’re allowed to input special skills that hit the enemy hard, apply party buffs / enemy debuffs, or heal wounded warriors. Each skill has a cooldown period, so they need to be used carefully.

Victory brings gold, items that are useful for beefing up your heroes, and, on a rarer basis, new heroes. Said recruitment rarity is one of Hello Hero‘s weaker points. Only five fighters can be in your party at one time, but additional heroes are vital for fusing into your active heroes to make them stronger. If you can’t acquire heroes very easily – even weak heroes – it becomes that much harder to beef up your party for later challenges.

Hello Hero

Hello Hero‘s optional dungeon missions are particularly difficult to complete without a strong party, but passing them up isn’t a good idea because they contain some of the game’s best equipment and hero recruits.

One option, aside from paying for the privilege to recruit new fighters with premium currency (carats), is to grind previous missions and hope you find heroes. Players may understandably be hesitant about doing so, since Hello Heroes utilizes a stamina / energy system. Every time you enter a regular mission, stamina is consumed, and every time you delve into a dungeon, energy is depleted.

Interestingly, running out of stamina or energy may never become a problem, at least not early in the game. Hello Heroes is very generous with refills, and said refills stack. You can play for quite a long time without ever having to worry about running out of resources.

Hello Hero

And it’s this generosity that will probably keep you glued to Hello Hero, despite your heroes’ slow growth. Though Hello Hero‘s RPG mechanics are stripped down and simplified, it’s hard to resist hitting the “Next Battle” button every time you squeeze out a victory. The enemies are adorable and well-animated, but still oh-so much fun to slay. The heroes are a varied bunch, which drives you to collect ’em all – even if doing so is a long slog unless you’re willing to pay up.

Hello Hero has problems that are typical of a free-to-play RPG, but it also has singing cacti that attack you with guitars. Depending on your feelings about social games, you might want to take the bad with the good.