Game Review: Heroes of Kalevala HD
Release: September 21, 2020
Developer: 10tons Ltd
Size: 67.2 MB
Website: 10tons Official Site
As you may have read last week in my Sparkle HD review, 10tons surprised me with a solid game that never bored me despite the fact that you were essentially doing the same thing for 100 levels. So, as you can imagine, I wholeheartedly welcomed Heroes of Kalevala, a match three game with a touch of village sim built in for good measure. Even cooler, it’s characters and settings are all based on this ancient epic poem that seems to be the Finnish answer to tales like The Odyssey and Beowulf. I guess I expected a new love for match three games as Sparkle gave me for marble popping puzzlers, but the end result was nothing close to it.
At its core, Kalevala is exactly what you think it is. You have an oddly shaped playing field, rows and columns of squares, and weird items to match within it all. Swipe or tap to switch tiles to get a three-or-more-in-a-row chain going. There are, of course, different blocks you have to match items near to break them, and the proverbial “Heroes” that you choose from beforehand to assist you in-game. Once you’ve chosen your hero, you begin to see blocks with their faces on them, and to activate their powers you must match three of these blocks together. The goal for each level is to complete all this before an evil crow encircles the entire playing field and eats all your gems. It’s a cool looking way to see how much time you have left, but I always felt a simple clock would have served me better.
The other aspect to the game, when you aren’t in the match three field, is a really weird village simulator. Completing levels nets you coins (the faster the better) and coins unlock houses, trees, the ability to give your villagers jobs, and eventually unlocking entirely new areas. You have to keep your people happy to also net more coins at the end of each level. But this never amounts to more than simply stamping down a couple of trees to shut the little buggers up. Everyone’s an environmentalist these days.
-Match your way through over 140 hand-made levels
-Create your very own village
-Eight powerful heroes with distinct abilities
-Story with English language voice overs
-Unique match-3 mechanics like tar fight and lock bombs
My main problem with Kalevala is in the match three levels. Maybe I’m just not good at these types of games, but I get bored almost instantaneously. I can match a couple of blocks right away, then would get stuck and just wait for the auto-hint system to pick up the pieces. This hint mechanic doesn’t break the game (I still failed numerous times), I simply found no satisfaction in any of it. And where I thought the village sim would help pick up the pieces, it just disappointed me more. Despite what seems to be a pretty lengthy “campaign”, it’s never more than just flicking your finger up to throw down buildings and trees randomly so you can satisfy your village dwellers. The goals of this part of the game were a little too hazy for me to get any real accomplishment out of unlocking new areas, huts and making my people happy.
Mitchel’s Final Say
Your enjoyment of Kalevala will really depend on your personal tastes. If you love match three games, then you may find some sort of enjoyment here. It has great visuals (especially the hand-drawn looking cut scenes, and with decent voice work, too) and works exactly as it should, but, to me, it really doesn’t warrant a $4.99 price tag. Besides the village simulator feeling too much like a side-thought, the main game itself becomes too monotonous to warrant revisiting it. I guess where Sparkle felt like it had that “Hey come on, everyone can play!” vibe, Kalevala is a little more closed off in its demographic. I have to say, unless you’re into this sort of thing, pass.