TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Hero Emblems II’

The fact that this game even exists deserves an award all on its own, but that it also somehow lives up to the lofty expectations of fans of the original Hero Emblems is the truly impressive part. That’s right, nearly 6 years after originally being announced, Hero Emblems II has finally arrived. The original is considered by many, myself included, to be the best mobile-original match-3 RPG ever released, but a lot has happened since that first game launched way back in 2015. Does a game like Hero Emblems II still have a place in the world of mobile gaming in 2022?

Uh, yeah it does. Duh. I mean we’re here aren’t we? What I always loved about the original Hero Emblems was that it felt like an RPG first and a matching game second. What I mean by that was that, yes, the luck of the board layout played a part in your success, and looking for big matches was important. But beyond that you really needed to utilize all the other things at your disposal like special items, special abilities, new emblems, and the like. It wasn’t the kind of game where you could just grind levels and become overpowered enough to win the next battle, you had to actually strategize.

Well Hero Emblems II is like that too, but to a much higher degree. There is more equipment, more special abilities, more weapons, more magic spells… just more of everything. You’re also managing character health and defense individually rather than managing your party as just one entity like the first game, and this adds all sorts of wrinkles to how the Hero Emblems formula plays out. It’s just much more satisfying in this sequel to spend time kitting out your party members or learning new techniques as it feels more meaningful than it did in the original game.

Also, while I shouldn’t be surprised by this when you think about it, I was surprised at just how much Hero Emblems II feels like the first game. It has the same sort of UI, the same sort of game flow, and the same sort of story progression and humor. It’s exactly what you would expect a sequel to be: More and better. There are some areas for improvement, mostly regarding the game’s English translation and some areas of the UI and some game systems that could be made a little more clear. But if you were a fan of the first Hero Emblems, you will no doubt love this sequel. And if you missed out on the original then this is the one you will want to dive in with, since story-wise the game’s don’t seem connected at all.

I can’t put into words how happy I am that a sequel to one of my all-time favorite games has finally released after so many years of waiting and wondering if it would ever see the light of day. One thing is for sure and that’s that Hero Emblems II will live alongside its predecessor on my iPhone until the end of time.

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