Originally published at: Review | Chronicles of 2 Heroes - XboxEra
The sun rises from the east, the sky and water are blue, and feudal Japan is in trouble once more. The wrath of Amaterasu threatens the peaceful land and our siblings kunoichi and samurai, Ayame and Kensei, enter the stage in ‘Chronicles of 2 Heroes’ to save their way of life. Developed by Catness Game Studios and published by Infinity Experience, Chronicles of 2 Heroes is a 2D Metroidvania-like platformer where players control our two heroes with their unique abilities to complete levels and challenges that can make their world-saving journey easier.
Both Ayame and Kensei, naturally, play differently. The former players nimbly, being able to jump and throw shuriken at her opponents and the latter, a hefty man clambering about. He can’t jump, but instead he can charge an ability that allows him to dash past opponent attacks and even damage them provided the skill is charged long enough. Mastering the ability to switch between both heroes is key as you’ll need both characters’ skill sets to complete platforming and battle challenges. And for the most part these characters play well aside from the physics which I will touch on shortly.
Oh, and they also converse much like I do with my siblings. I guess that never really changes!
Our heroes’ homeland is dressed in a variety of colours, a 16bit-like visual style that looks very nice when in motion. Across the six environments waits plenty of puzzles, a few that surprised even a veteran platforming enjoyer like me. I grew a bit frustrated with the game’s physics. In a genre where characters typically float gracefully (relatively anyway) from platform to platform, our heroes drop like hard rocks and I never got used to this. It would make timing certain attacks and switch-flips quite a bit annoying and it didn’t help when the game later adds other platforming mechanics like the trampolines.
I take a bit of issue with how the game distributes some of its challenges, too. As you progress through the levels, you’ll find pathways that lead to challenge rooms where your platforming skills will really be tested. Compared to what you find on the game’s story path, these rooms can be fairly daunting for some players and you do want to beat them if you want to unlock other skills for our heroes. Mind you, it’s entirely possible to complete the game without getting a single new skill or heart, but it’s worth your while to take on these challenge rooms—even if they’re supposed to make you’re journey easier. But honestly, I found them to be the highlight of the game. And when a game gives you a new skill or mechanic, it does a great job of introducing it to you before rough-housing your day.
You can always go back to an older map and complete an unfinished challenge room later on through the game’s temple system. Here you can fast travel, pet cats, and drink tea which gives you a small shield to help. You’ll never have issues with fighting baddies I think, it’s moreso their placement—but that’s what the Metroidvania genre is all about. There is also a map system but I think it’s fairly useless. Thankfully the stages are small and the fast travel portals are split evenly across the environments for easy travel.
Chronicles of 2 Heroes is a solid platformer with a few quirks. Its challenges are unevenly distributed and its physics are rough, but I like the hero switching concept and I found a lot of fun in taking on some of the game’s difficult puzzles. I can definitely recommend this game to the folks that love pixel-perfect jumps.