Video Game Review: Heroes II

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Video Game Review: Heroes II

First Impressions

Trivia is one of my things. I have a tendency to pepper conversations with interesting facts that many people wouldn’t have thought twice about once they’ve heard. Trivia is the way I am wired. It is also a way that I enjoy learning new things. Put some knowledge into the form of a trivia game and I’m hooked and learning. Naturally, when I learned that there was a Bible trivia game coming from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I wanted to dive right in. Heroes II sounded good to me right from the beginning, although I did wonder why I hadn’t heard of Heroes I. In any case, I’m starting at Heroes II, and it looks like a great game to me. I tested this game on an iPhone 11 with 64GB capacity running iOS 14.4.

Upon opening the game, you are greeted with a quick loading developer screen and game engine screen, and then you see the artwork. The artwork looks like my comic books brought to life with a three-dimensional style. The music feels both contemporary and classic; well-orchestrated to give a sense of awe to a simple tap to navigate the home screen menu. Like all well-designed mobile games do, it draws you in to play immediately. The heroic music and artwork truly inspire hope in me, an Adventist pastor who has seen the church fall behind in cutting-edge media since the widespread adoption of the internet.

The Gameplay

When beginning a round of trivia, the horn signals the beginning, and the music takes on a quickened pace to keep the mind moving quickly as you read and answer the multiple-choice questions. Each round earns you manna and experience points (XP). To unlock more heroes, you need to level up by gaining more XP. The manna comes in handy for doing this very thing. There are several effects that you use manna to purchase, which can make it easier to gain XP and even gain more manna with the Friday effect. These effects can be applied to a single question during the round, 12 questions per round. The more the effect is powered up, the more questions the effect can be used on. Each effect’s name is related to the thing it does during the game. As effects unlock you can only choose up to 3 on a given round of trivia.

One part of the game that I really liked about the effects is that it takes a little bit of time to select the effect(s) that you will use on a question. Finding the balance between minimizing time spent and maximizing XP and manna rewards is an act of finesse. The competitor in me wants to get the fastest time possible, but I found while playing that I also wanted to use the effects to gain more XP and manna so that I could unlock more heroes at a higher pace.

As you gain more XP you level up on the heroes and as a player. The more levels you gain as a player the more heroes you can add to the hero map. It is laid out similar to a timeline, though not every hero shows up in chronological order with the Bible. The order makes sense, but part of me wishes it had been truly chronological.

Difficulty progression is an important aspect of games, and Heroes II has nailed this particular portion. Similar to other upgrade and unlocking styles for leveling up in games, there is some strategy when you unlock new heroes. It may be easier to rack up a higher score and gain more XP and manna with fewer heroes in play at a time, or it may be better to expand the number of heroes to be included by unlocking heroes as soon as they become available. At different stages of the game, different strategies for best leveling up can be attempted.

The game is both single and multiplayer, in that you can challenge anyone you choose to beat your time and join the game. This is a great method for spreading the word about the game, especially because it is a free game with no ads or micro-transactions, but also a fantastic way to keep the gameplay experience consistent while involving other people.

The pace of the gameplay is excellent for short time periods of needing to engage your mind in something, or for more extended play if you have the desire. My shortest engagements with the game have been as low as even 1 minute to get into a round and complete it, to my longest engagements of playing it for nearly an hour. Even at an hour, I wanted to keep playing it, but other responsibilities of life still exist. I find it hard to say playing this game is “killing time” as it teaches the knowledge of what is in the Bible and points us to Jesus, our Lord, and Savior.

The Content

The questions in each story vary in difficulty from things that might be considered common knowledge among those who are familiar with the Bible to details you would have to pay attention to very closely to know off hand. Mercifully, each hero has a story that can be read in-game so that you can become familiar with some of the details of the story. It is important to carefully read the wording of each question, as sometimes the wording can be a little confusing and lead you to select an incorrect answer, as happened to me a few times. Some questions required further investigation after the fact, like why there were seemingly three different answers about the number of generations between Adam & Eve and Noah. These differences I discovered were due to the wording of the questions, and as such, did not give three different answers to the same questions, but tested how well you were paying attention to not only the stories of the heroes but also the wording of the questions.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • This game is completely free. No purchase price, and no micro-transactions or ads in-game. I cannot think of another app that is free, with no hooks or strings attached to it such as this game is. On that alone, I believe it is worth the download and giving it a try.
  • The artwork is on par with or better than top mobile games. Top-notch graphics, running on the Unreal Engine, this game is smooth and looks great.
  • The game does not require an internet connection to play. I was able to play the game in airplane mode with my Wi-Fi turned off, and while I could not send a challenge, I was able to progress in the game and my progress was saved.
  • The game is being translated into many languages and will be available for worldwide use. One developer whose mobile games I have played test launches their game in a select few countries, and if it does not do well enough in those countries the game never sees the light of day. Sometimes I’ve seen the gameplay footage of those games and wanted to play them, but don’t get the opportunity because the market they tested in didn’t like it, even when I thought I would. The fact that this game is rolling out worldwide is a huge mark in the positive column.

Cons

  • The game is called Heroes II, which is strange to me when I haven’t heard of Heroes I.
  • The wording of the questions can sometimes be confusing, with the implications of similar questions from different perspectives coming up with multiple different answers.
  • The effects eat up time to apply, and especially if applying all three available effects to 1 question. My fastest rounds were completed without any effects, but my highest XP and manna scoring rounds were not my fastest.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been enjoying playing this game for the time that I’ve had it and have made it about halfway through, unlocking 6 of the 12 heroes. I am looking forward to playing with church members and family members to see what we know what’s in the Bible, and how fast we can recall it. I absolutely love the effects and the names they have; the effects and names work together very well with Bible knowledge and are a bit of Bible trivia in and of themselves.

I am hopeful that this is a successful foray into the world of mobile and video gaming for biblical content and for modes of outreach and connection with others. As someone who has grown up playing video games and still plays a select few mobile games to this day, I am excited for the future this game represents. It reminds me of a Bible trivia computer game I used to play when I was a child.

Overall, I would rate this game 8 out of 10. There are some elements of the game that I would like to see changed, but not having played through the entire game, I have to trust the developers have those elements in the game the way they are for a reason

Download Heroes 2 The Bible Trivia Game Now! (Expected Release Date March 25, 2021)

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About the author

Keith Rusk

Keith Rusk is a pastor in the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference. He graduated from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University with a Master of Divinity. He enjoys video games, board games, and trivia games.