When I was a kid, I constantly struggled with the idea of having a super power: would I rather be invisible or able to fly? As superhero powers go, the ability to slide at a moment’s notice doesn’t exactly evoke fear in the heart of a villain.
On the contrary, it’s a frightening ability for the characters in Sliding Heroes. Though highly original, this accelerometer-controlled strategy game proves just how unwieldy any sliding superhero would be.
To be frank, using nothing but tilting to control your characters doesn’t really deliver the goods when it comes to actual gameplay.
You control an army consisting of four character classes: Warrior, Mage, Cleric, and Lancer. After summoning your desired unit, tilting your handset sends them rolling in the corresponding direction. When they run into an enemy, your forces attack.
The idea is to clear the board of all foes and occasionally a boss to unlock the exit. Getting there with at least one of your squad is enough to move on to the next stage.
The monsters themselves are initially varied, some landbound, some keeping to the skies. Like your own units, they too have their own strengths and weaknesses. As such, the game is all about deploying the right class to take out monsters susceptible to their kind of attacks.
It’s fairly basic stuff, navigating through each level and matching up your targets with the correct unit the backbone of play, but none of this is helped by the fact that the controls are sluggish. It takes too long for the game to respond to your tilts.
Precision is also called for, purple pools sapping your health away and holes in the ground swallowing units. It’s not uncommon to get caught up in unseen level furniture, too. The whole process of moving your band of battlers around – which, remember, is your one and only action during play – is a constant frustration.
Objects within the levels are meant to be used as a tool for dividing units into smaller, more manageable groups for battle. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work because you’re unable to control any one unit or group at a time. Organising groups does you no good because you’re always moving every unit on the board.
Incorporating the ability to select units manually by roping them with a gesture or executing a multi-touch box would great improve things. Groups could then be drafted and controlled individually with tactics in mind. Instead, you end up fighting against the controls and babysitting your own units more than actually battling enemies.
The end result is a condescending, almost insulting, non-entity that would serve as a nifty bonus round but is a bit vacuous for a strategy game. Suddenly invisibility, at least in Sliding Heroes case, seems like the obvious choice.