Little Town Hero
Little Town Hero, initially announced under the codename Town, is a role-playing game developed and published by Game Freak as part of their Gear Project initiative. It was released worldwide on October 16, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch and later released for the PlayStation 4 in Japan in April 2020 and June 2020 in North America and Europe, as well as Xbox One and Steam in July 2020.
The story takes place in a small town that has forbidden its citizens from leaving, as they consider the outside world dangerous and unpredictable. That hasn’t stopped our protagonist Axe from wanting to explore the outside world anyways.
Everything changes, though, when a monster suddenly invades the town and terrorizes its inhabitants, who had never seen monsters in person before. When Axe discovers a mysterious stone in the town’s coal mines, he finds himself able to harness the power of “Eureka”, ideas given form, and drives the monster away.
Armed with his newfound powers, it is up to Axe to defend his hometown and uncover its secrets.
Why It Sucks
- The battle system is considered by many to be needlessly obtuse, convoluted, and too reliant on luck. To put it simply, the combat plays like a combination of Hearthstone/Magic the Gathering Arena and Mario Party, with all the RNG that comes with both.
- Battles can last between 20 minutes to well over an hour due to all the RNG involved, especially in the case of the final boss.
- The game overall feels rather cheap, with a minimal amount of unique animations for each character during battle. Axe in particular only has five unique attacking animations (one for Yellow Dazzits, one for Red Dazzits, one for Blue Dazzits, one for attacking an enemy’s hearts, and one for landing the finishing blow). Animations during cutscenes and outside of battle can look fairly cheap as well.
- The naming conventions the game uses to describe its mechanics can be confusing. For example, Ideas in unawakened and awakened states are referred to as “Izzits” and “Dazzits” respectively, and the shields defending the player and opponent’s hearts are known as “Guts”.
- The plot can feel generic and uninspired at times.
- The opponent's decks are often designed to make sure that the player’s deck runs out, forcing them to Struggle, and the player’s deck is only replenished when they lose hearts.
- The final boss can be considered one of the most frustrating final bosses in gaming history. Unlike all previous enemies before it, it has infinite Guts which can only be broken by landing on each of the named townsfolk's spaces (three per phase), where they weaken the boss’ Guts one by one before Axe is allowed to attack its hearts.
- To make it even more frustrating, the final boss has three phases, and the player’s hearts and deck are not refreshed between either of them.
- The game is rather short and can be beaten in around 10-20 hours.
- Game Freak has stated that they made Little Town Hero with “busy gamers” in mind, as the game has a compact story and no real level grinding. Despite this, it can be a considerable time commitment for said “busy gamers” due to the length of each fight.
- The game has some minor, yet noticeable frame rate issues at certain points and has a chance of randomly soft locking during combat.
- The ideas behind the game’s premise and combat do at least sound interesting, even if the actual execution fell short.
- The soundtrack, composed by Toby Fox (of Undertale fame) and Hitomi Sato, sounds genuinely good. Many consider it to be the best part of the game.
- Despite the lacking animations, the in-game visuals, art direction, and character designs do at least look decent (especially the bosses).