Sometimes you have those games where you think “why is this a thing? Asterix & Obelix: Heroes is one of those games. A game with the look of something you would have come across on Spele.co.uk fifteen years ago, the most awful sound design imaginable and bugs that are almost hilarious, if it weren’t so sad. No, Asterix & Obelix: Heroes was a mistake I would rather not have played.
A clear beginning
I must admit that I started this game with some skepticism. The idea of an Asterix & Obelix card game did not immediately excite me and the images I saw in trailers and on Steam were not too good either. Now, besides the comics I read in my childhood, I am not too familiar with Asterix & Obelix either. I do know Asterix, Obelix, Idefix and Panoramix, but I had long since forgotten the rest of the cast. Still, I tried to put those preconceptions aside and play this game objectively, but those preconceptions proved confirmed after only five minutes.
Surely it strikes some amateurism when you play on a PC without a connected controller and then the game provides a tutorial with instructions for the controller. I might have laughed this off had it not been for the fact that the entire keybindings of these games were not full of controller buttons, which I therefore did not even have connected. Now the game was perfectly playable with mouse and keyboard, but it still would have been helpful if I at least had access to a fairly basic, but essential component.
So a bad first impression, which then continued to persist each time, because man, how hideously ugly is this game. When I first started up Asterix & Obelix: Heroes, I felt like I had turned on something that was actually meant to be played on your cell phone, which is not even a crazy idea considering the history of the game’s German developer, GameXcite. Before this, for example, they made two Asterix & Obelix games for iOS and Android. Quite coincidentally with actually the exact same assets as what we see in both the PC and console versions. Now I’m not at all averse to reusing assets, but if you’re going to use something that’s meant for your phone on PC as well I find that somewhat objectionable.
By the way, the characters also look simply awful. The charm that the original cartoonists managed to put into the characters is almost completely gone. Especially a large number of the enemies are really a horror to look at, which is just a real shame. After all, the original comics were really well drawn. Perhaps the most dramatic part of the presentation are the animations. Especially the walking animation, if you can call it that, made me laugh, that’s how bad it was. He literally slides on the ground! By the way, Asterix is the only character you ever see walking, so an animation could have been made for that.
By the way, the terrible animations continue in the game’s combat. Each character has maybe one or two animations, which usually amount to hitting or throwing something. When Obelix uses his special power, which allows him to flext with his body and gain extra lives, he simply punches the air. Whatever card or power you use, Obelix always punches the air.
Also, the sound design is really terrible. Cards that make a deafening bleeping sound when you mouse over them, wolves that groan like a grown man when you hit them, and battle music that just keeps repeating itself constantly. The sounds started to get on my nerves so much at one point that I had to turn off the sound effects just to keep from going completely crazy. Especially that bleep you hear when you pass over a map is mental torture, as you can sometimes get it played five times a second.
If this wasn’t enough to put you off, I can confirm that the gameplay in Asterix & Obelix: Heroes isn’t too good either. Just a brief explanation of how the game works, since chances are you’ve never heard of this. You enter a region with four heroes and two preset decks. Then you walk, or rather slide, through the map via a self-selected route toward the final boss. Along the way you can find all sorts of things, like new cards for your deck or food to heal your party with, but the most important thing is the battles.
In those battles, you can play cards to damage, strengthen or weaken. Each character you take and the enemies take turns performing actions and each draw five new cards on their turn. At the end of the fight, the damage you took remains until the end of the level and you get a little EXP. Unfortunately, it remains fairly simple and remains so for a long time.
You really have to beat the first three regions before you can do a bit of strategic deckbuilding with new synergies, after which you are basically soured by the boring, repetitive and dead simple gameplay.
The gameplay in Asterix & Obelix: Heroes is just really simple and repetitive. It comes down to focusing and taking out the right enemy and properly maintaining your resources towards the final boss. You really have to beat the first three regions before you can do a bit of strategic deckbuilding with new synergies, after which you’re basically soured by the boring, repetitive and dead simple gameplay. Besides, every bit that is a bit difficult is very easy to get through if you grind a little bit, if your mental state can still handle that of course.
Ten times the same joke
Asterix & Obelix: Heroes still has a story and dialogue, but it doesn’t really add much. The Gauls are simply fetch quests all the time, basically acting as an excuse to visit every area from the comics that ultimately turn out to end in nothing. In addition, it is also just tremendously boring presented through cutscenes with dry text in a bright yellow bar. Something that really could have been better for a game about comic book characters.
Along the way you still meet all sorts of characters, which basically amount to one-note jokes. For example, I read maybe ten times the same “hilarious” joke that Kakofonix can’t sing, that Kostunrix has stinky fish, and that Hoefnix hates the previous two characters. I understand that some of these characters in the comic were also meant to be jokes, but then to repeat that joke so many times I don’t think even the most hardcore fan can appreciate it.
You can also recruit these characters, by the way, although the developers very clearly missed something here as well. For example, I gained access to the Egyptian Drake and the Phoenician Verramsj that I was quite eager to use, but were at least 30 levels lower than my regular party. Thus, if I was going to use a new character, I first had to train them completely in lower levels, something my disturbed mind simply couldn’t handle.
Asterix & Obelix: Heroes is simply a terrible game without any of the charm of the comics on which it is based. Filled with reused assets meant for iOS and Android games, missing features, ugly art, terrible sound design and mind-numbing gameplay. Even if you are a huge fan of Asterix & Obelix and you can play this for free, I actually cannot recommend it. This is a game you can absolutely ignore.