Guns’n’Glory was a different take on the tower defense genre, adding a touch of real-time strategy by replacing the usual static defenses of such games with mobile troops that you could move around the map in response to changing circumstances. It was a fun spin on the typical formula.
Guns’n’Glory Heroes goes in a new direction, changing to a fantasy setting and moving further away from conventional tower defense. It instead shifts closer to real-time strategy , and adds some (very) light RPG elements. Unfortunately, the game’s attempt to be a jack of several different trades ends up leaving it a master of none, and poor controls badly undermine the whole experience.
The basic setup is standard tower defense: waves of enemies advancing across the stage towards an objective that you must defend. Unlike the original Guns’n’Glory, Guns’n’Glory Heroes shrinks your ranks to just three characters, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and special abilities. Your heroes are in the same area as the enemy and interact with them directly, instead of just shooting from afar, and can be damaged or killed if you aren’t careful. You earn experience points for defeating enemies, though leveling up doesn’t appear to have any effect other than giving you an additional usage of one of your special abilities and increasing its effectiveness.
Unfortunately, this new formula loses much of what worked in the game’s predecessor , and in successful tower defense games in general, without adding enough to make it worthwhile.
In the original Guns n’ Glory you had to think about positioning your defenders, because moving your guys from place to place was time-consuming and having everybody dashing from one hot spot to another every wave wasn’t practical. In Guns n’ Glory Heroes it’s not only practical, it’s essential, with your brief respites between waves spent primarily on moving your three heroes to wherever the next wave is approaching from. This becomes tedious, and drastically undermines the amount of strategy involved from one wave to the next.
The game probably would have worked better if it had either stayed closer to the formula of the original Guns’n’Glory, or deviated from it much more than it did and moved even further from conventional tower defense in favor of real-time strategy or RPG elements. As it is, the hybrid it offers is often less than the sum of its parts because those parts don’t mesh well.
Still, focusing on close-up control of a small number of persistent characters might have worked if those characters were more interesting. Unfortunately, character development when you level up is so perfunctory that it’s unlikely to inspire much investment or thought. More importantly, it runs afoul of the other problem with Guns’n’Glory Heroes: the controls.
The controls in this game are conspicuously poor. Attempting to select or move your own units routinely results in selecting the wrong one, selecting an enemy, or deselecting everybody. Your heroes are prone to getting entangled on the terrain, enemies, or each other, wasting time while you finagle them loose. It isn’t just a limitation of the touchscreen format; it remained an issue even when playing the game on a PC via Bluestacks, using a mouse.
The game is not without its virtues. At its best, the concentration of all your power into just three characters can make for some enjoyably frantic on-the-fly decision-making as you try to figure out how to prevent one enemy group from overrunning you while you’re concentrated elsewhere.
The graphics have a bright, cartoony style that works well, especially the scenery of the stages. There’s a lot of content here, 50 stages in all, and it’s diverse in terms of both graphics and gameplay. There are stages in forests, towns, snowy mountain sides, the dark realm of the invading orcs, and more.
Particularly noteworthy is the music, which is unusually good for this sort of game, or for mobile games generally. It’s suitably epic and majestic to get the player roused for a battle against hordes of orcs, and the sound quality is great.
Unfortunately, the serious flaws in Guns’n’Glory Heroes ultimately overshadow its strong points. It tries to be several things at once, but combines them in a way that leaves it doing none of them very well.