Tucked away in an unvisited and under-advertised corner of Nintendo’s E3 booth I found a quirky arena battle game titled “Line Attack Heroes.”Â While it may not be the sleeper hit of the show, it was a fun, simple, and interesting arena title that shares creative mojo with the famous Secret of Mana series.
My time with the demo presented me with a host of adorable little characters carrying on in tedious but cute exposition, but what brought the title to my attention was the gameplay.Â Line Attack Heroes is an action arena battle title – the player controls a warrior from a 3/4 birds eye view and competes in melee combat to defeat their opponent.Â A little standard, but fun enough on it’s own – except there is more to it.Â Often your opponent will start with a little gang of lesser enemies, who you can attack, stun, remove from their leader, and add to your own “team” of heroes. That is, these extra characters form a line behind you -and you can attack with them!
The “line attack,” of Line Attack Heroes is the gameplay element that makes the title unique.Â Beyond being a decent arena melee title on it’s own, your posse of peons help you execute different special attacks, activated by swinging the Wii Remote.Â Your line’s attack varies depending on what weapon you hold at the time – holding a sword? Your friends will swing in a wide circle. A hammer? Watch them crash down on your enemies in an overhead swing.Â Â The idea is simple, but the variety is interesting and keeps the game fresh.Â You’ll find new weapons as you progress through the stages, and the story seems to move forward as you win each arena battle.
Line Attack Heroes won’t win any awards for paving new ground or spinning compelling narratives. The base of the game is pretty old hat – arena battles around the loose storyline of collecting magical pieces of a dragon something-or-other to quest-whatever, but these stock ideas don’t keep it from being fun.Â In the old days, games didn’t need complicated stories or new ideas to stand out as quality interactive entertainment – and it’s a little refreshing to see a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Line Attack Heroes seems to be a simple action/arena game based on a simple premise, with simple ideas to create simple fun.Â The battles are quick paced and entertaining, the characters are cute, and different weapons seem to allow for variety in gameplay. In short, it’s good clean fun based on solid gameplay, with an interesting sub note: the game was designed by Koichi Ishii, the mind behind the Secret of Mana series.Â Although the genre is quite different, the quality shows through – Ishii could make mean RPG, and early impression indicate that he’s not half bad at arena action melee games either.