What happens when the world is slowly coming to an end and the only way to avoid it is by running to the right? Well, Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics attempts to tell the story of a hero who goes on a quest to save the world. Which sounds simple in premise, but developer Spike Chunsoft made sure to develop a video game that is everything but.
One Way Heroics begins the way you’d expect any adventure to begin: A king gives the hero a quest to defeat a fallen angel, Alma, and you must obey. However, there is a strange bit of light called the Shine Raid that glows along the entire left of the screen. Consequently, every action made by the player causes it to get closer and closer. Ultimately, this leaves you with one real objective, run like hell in the opposite direction.
In addition to the light of death moving closer with each step, so does the passage of time and distance traveled. However, enemies will constantly interrupt your journey and keep you from getting too far. This is where I was forced to make a choice, do I stay and fight to raise my level or do run I away? Most enemies aren’t very difficult when they are by themselves, but too often did I make the mistake of taking on too many at once and ended up suffering a nasty and pathetic death to the jaws of a giant bat.
Something important to note, One Way Heroics is a roguelike game, so you don’t get the luxury of starting where you left off to continue your journey. The sad truth, every time you die you have to start over from the beginning. Losing all the gear and levels you’ve obtained during your time with the living. However, you are graded on your accomplishments post-death and awarded genesis points. These can be used to purchase upgrades. Additionally, you’re able to carry over a few of your gathered items and bring them with you during a new adventure.
Interestingly, there is a save feature in the game. This comes in the form of a save fairy, save gem, or you can pay 5 levels at certain spots to save when times get rough. However, if you start from a save file you don’t get any items or genesis points from that run, so that if you get further then you did before you wont be regraded for that adventure.
After so many obstacles in the way, there is still the fallen angel that you have to deal with who comes after over 300km or so. Even though you can fight her during your first meeting, you have the option of running away which is what I did most of the time.
The world of One Way Heroics is procedurally generated and it’d be tough to have the same experience twice. Items and Weapons are scattered on the floor that can be gathered until you surpass the weight you’re allowed to carry.
There are also towns with merchants and civilians ready to aid you as they await their impending doom. Dungeons can also be found that contain deadly enemies, but they also have treasure chest with stronger items just begging to be picked up. Often I had to question whether I had the time to explore a dungeon or town with the Shine Raid inching ever so close to me.
Something that should be mentioned is One Way Heroics is brutally unfair sometimes. Here are only a few ways I died out of nowhere: tripped a fire trap and was blown up, gang of bears appeared and mauled me to death, accidentally killed a bunny and a guardian found me and killed me for it, ate raw meat and got food poisoning, walked through a door that was actually a ghost who laughed and murdered me, and so many other ways. However, even after every death, I couldn’t help but want to jump right back in and try to get further.
Players will need to find the class that fits their play style, I found the Half-Beast class was perfect for me because they start off with a pike that can reach two squares ahead. They also gained an ability that can turn an enemy into a partner. However, the game offers knights, adventures, archers, pirates and more. Each character can be customized with perks that can grant, strength, HP, Defense, an animal companion, and anything else that can benefit your quest.
During an adventure you might come across Dream Stones, these are used to upgrade the castle that you start off in. This allows you to add NPCs to the room who will offer some type of assistance. There’s also a multiplayer function where you can play against friends. However, during this review I wasn’t able to properly have enough time in this mode so it wont be considered in this review.
Graphically, One Way Heroics features that classic retro look that modern indie games do so well. There weren’t any issues with framerate that I encountered during my 12 hours playing the game, but if you’re playing on the Vita there are quiet a few times where the game will stop to load–this game does feature crossbuy functionality on console.
Some good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that is there’s an ending to game. Sadly, I was only able to see one of them, but there are multiple ways to beat the game over the two difficulties offered. Additionally, side-quests can be accepted from talking to NPCs.
Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics has so much to offer in terms or replayability that it makes for a hard game to actually put down. Frustration fueled my will to push on and slowly, but surely I found myself getting further and further.
It hit me the first time I reached the 1000km mark. I looked back at all the mistakes I made in past lives and couldn’t help but laugh at who I was back then. I drank a potion and raised my pike to charge forward into a crowd of lizard knights that happily took my life from me in a matter of seconds.