Usually, when playing Fable, if I had the notion to doll up and hit the town it would have included finding a rather ill-fitting ladies dress, an ample amount of liquor and some less than reputable behaviour on my behalf. It was not a family friendly affair to say the least. Now Lionhead have sought to erase these dark times from existence and create a far more welcoming game with Fable Heroes.
Fable has been a staple for Lionhead studios since its first appearance eight years ago. Since then there have been two direct sequels and several spin offs which Fable Heroes can now be added to. Fable Heroes begins and ends in almost the same fashion. And when I say this I mean you begin with no objective and end none the better. There is no story whatsoever relating each character to the next, other than that you might have stumbled across them at some point in the Fable universe. It can almost relate to the Hangover movies in which a bunch of friends seem to aimlessly stumble through different familiar areas until it comes crashing down to an inevitable end.
That being said, the areas you travel through are wonderfully colourful. Each level is a vibrant reincarnation of famous towns and backwoods from the Fable series and fans of the games will be able to spot and reminisce about a much brighter time. Much like the scenery the characters are also sufficiently cuddly and have a similar design to those from the previous main games.
The gameplay itself is very easy and works through the use of the “X” button for a light/fast attack and “Y” for a charged heavy attack. There is also a special attack that costs your player one health bar and allows for a large explosive burst that knocks enemies away and kills them. The navigation of the levels is not unlike that of Super Mario World in which the player traverses across a rather pretty and almost board game like board with different squares for levels. Each level also boasts a party game ending for those playing on local co-op and adds a good deal more excitement when you have to compete for coins.
A highlight of the game happened to be the way in which you levelled up your characters. Once you and your friends have scrambled through the levels snatching as much gold as possible from under one another you are met with an almost monopoly type board that has two levels. The first level is based on upgrades for your character and each one of these represents a different attribute to upgrade, whereas the inner part of the board is built up by achieving certain conditions in the game and allows the user to get one-off perks for the next level.
Fable Heroes is great fun with friends but when played by yourself it tends to get rather dull quite quickly. With relatively simple controls and an easy to play style, anyone and everyone can spare a few hours of their time to play with a younger member of their family and enjoy a fun and colourful experience with their favourite Fable characters. Even if you can’t find a small child to play with you can always compete with your friends and have a great laugh avoiding chickens (for once) in the rather addictive mini-games at the ends of levels.
With no story and a lack of levels Fable Heroes feels like it is just missing something. No matter how fun it can be, after the experience is over it just seems to float away from you, much like many of the AI characters that follow you, leaving very little to brag about. A great experience to be shared but, like playing with dolls in real life, it is best left to a younger generation.