Unruly Heroes is an action-platformer from a French development team Magic Design Studios. Many of whom are former Ubisoft employees who worked on the Assassin’s Creed series and the game most similar to Unruly Heroes, Rayman Legends and Origins. It should come as no surprise then that their debut title is a lovingly crafted experience that shows how far the development team has come.
First things first, it should go without saying that Unruly Heroes is an immensely gorgeous title to look at. Inspired by the Chinese literally classic: Journey to the West, you play as a cast of four characters seeking to recover fragments of a sacred scroll with will keep the world from falling into darkness and chaos. Each environment was so vibrant and each level was very meticulously pieced together that found myself stopping to take in the beauty.
Animations are fluid and intuitive, and there is a perfectly fitting soundtrack that encompasses the action and setting. It ramps up during each encounter at just the right moments to provide gravitas to any situation. Movement and traversal felt somewhat too floaty, but thankfully Unruly Heroes is predicated more on the action side of things unlike Rayman which took a more platform oriented approach.
Unruly Heroes is so much more than its style though, featuring mechanics that offer more complexity than your typical platformer. You can switch out heroes on the fly, which adds surprisingly subtle depth to the gameplay. Some puzzles will require a certain hero to progress, but more notably each hero retains their own independent health and ultimate bars. This means that if one hero is on the brink of death, you can switch to another with full health in order to prevent being sent back to a checkpoint if you die.
The combat in Unruly Heroes is truly where the gameplay shines and it definitely earns its action moniker. With a surprisingly robust combat system, including ranged aerial attacks that can be strung together to form combos, as well as a charged ultimate ability. Each hero has slightly different stats in areas like damage output, attack speed and area-of-effect AoE range. Some will double-jump while other glide and they’re distinct enough to warrant some strategy in picking the right hero for a given situation. Thankfully, they are different enough though, that your’e not constantly confused by their control schemes or different movesets.
Each world is expertly designed as well, with a consistently imaginative range of different puzzles and level specific mechanics on offer that keep each moment fresh and never overstay their welcome. There are multiple boss encounters that build to one final boss at the end of each world. Like the rest of Unruly Heroes, they’re brilliantly implemented with a Cuphead-like challenging three-stage flow and unique set of animations.
As previously stated, while the controls might feel somewhat floaty at first, it doesn’t take long into the roughly ten hour experience to get used to them. There is also local co-op and PvP modes, as well as online PvP, although there’s been no word yet on whether or not online co-op campaign will be implemented down the line.
Overall, Unruly Heroes excels in basically every category a platformer should. With endlessly creative level design, enemy encounters, fun gameplay mechanics, and a stellar art style and music composition, Unruly Heroes exceeds in providing an experience you won’t want to miss. Do yourself a favor and don’t overlook this game, especially if you like anything about the Rayman games.