This is a unique year for Game Freak. After Giga Wrecker Alt in the first half, is Little Town Hero the second new IP of the Japanese producer in a year that is not Pokémon. Announced about a year ago under the name Town, it is an RPG with a considerably lower budget than the best-known series of Game Freak.
As the name makes clear, the game is set in a small village. It starts with the main character Ax and his childhood friend trying in vain to break into the city castle. Ax tried to enter the castle because of a tradition that says that whoever wants to leave the city will find the way in the castle. After being caught, one of the soldiers decides to train him so that Ax can also become one of the castle guards. Monsters suddenly appear in the city and Ax, after discovering a mysterious stone, can fight those monsters.
Much of Little Town Hero is based on fighting and the adventure experience is quite short. You can walk through the city where you live in five minutes. Regarding the plot you unfortunately have not much to discover, with both side and main missions interwoven and no real clarity as to where the plot is really going now, it is clear that the game relies mainly on the fights to have a good time.
Fights are based on the game methods that can be found in collector card games. In Ax’s head, ideas appear randomly at every turn in a pre-assembled deck, displayed with balloons that the player selects. These ideas are divided into three categories: attack, defense and specials. The player then uses the arsenal of ideas to defeat enemies. With increasing “mana” over turns, the player can resort to more powerful and ambitious combinations of ideas. In the battle, the attacking and defensive forces of the player are confronted with the forces of the enemy to assess damage. Although the whole thing is a bit complicated, fights are easy to understand and the seemingly confusing interface quickly provides clarity. The terrain squares on which Ax moves can provide benefits, such as finding friends who give a bonus. Fighting in Little Town Hero is interesting and challenging and forces the player to think. However, these fights can last too long, especially if you make a wrong move at the wrong time. You can sometimes win battles with some luck, but since you don’t have random battles, you’ll always come across the same scenarios when you reset a game.
The RPG components correspond to the complexity of the battles, after each victory you earn points with which you come up with new ideas and thus adjust your deck. Just like you receive cards in a TCG. The scenarios always have a nice charm, but unfortunately the characters have little expression and despite the fact that they have few characters and the city is small, there are many characters with the same appearance. It’s all very simple, but still, sometimes there are some framerate dips, although these are not annoying and not very common, they are most noticeable when the switch is docked, which is strange for a technically low demanding game.
Finally, one of the major attractions of the game is the soundtrack composed by Toby Fox. Unfortunately, the impression is bittersweet, because although the compositions are very good, the short lifespan with only one city and a few different fighting scenarios make for only a few musical compositions. The soundtrack is pleasant for the ear, but is too short for a title that lasts around twenty hours to play.
Little Town Hero does little with the story but brings interesting battle scenarios with it and an outstanding (but short) soundtrack.