Whenever I find out about a new autobattler title, I dread seeing one very specific pitch. When one of these games boasts “over 50 playable heroes,” this inevitably means it plays exactly like the original Auto Chess. Virtually every single autobattler to come after it has recycled its roster of heroes and mechanics under different names.
This is the case with Hero Chess, a new offering from San Francisco-based developer Robot Panda. The game comes with the same pre-built combinations and synergies anyone who plays autobattlers is already familiar with. Fortunately, it does have a few redeeming features.
Streamlined and fast
While Hero Chess is mechanically and visually near-identical to other autobattlers, it plays much faster. The studio behind it has clearly taken note of the popularity of fast-mode options in other mobile titles like Arena of Evolution. The default Hero Chess mode has fast preparation phases and only 30 player health. Matches usually end in under 20 minutes.
The game’s build is also very smooth and stable. Connection speeds are great, and match queues are instant. The UI is clean and responsive. The art is contrived, but it’s bright and fun to look at.
Buildings instead of items?
Going a step further in streamlining gameplay, Hero Chess does not have an item system. Instead, it has a unique building-type hero: the Gold Mine. It generates a fixed amount of gold each round, allowing for economy-focused strategies. Like a hero, it can be combined into a two and three-star version for more income.
A combination between an autobattler and tower defense could be very fun. Hero Chess could perhaps distinguish itself among other autobattlers by expanding their building mechanics. They should start by fixing the Gold Mine’s current profile to be more building-like. It currently has extremely low health and can actually be pushed around by hero collision.
Until more is added to the game, Hero Chess delivers a sort of “Diet Autobattler” experience. It’s fast, simple, and responsive, but it offers almost nothing over other games in the genre.
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