Enjoy Rogue-like games such as Hammerwatch? Like platformer-Esque games like Rogue Legacy? Then Vertical Drop Heroes HD will fit right in.
Vertical Drop Heroes HD - Gameplay
Vertical Drop Heroes HD has a lot going for it. You start off as one of several characters from a randomly generated set. At first, these heroes are all the same, with nothing making one drastically different than another. But as time goes on, you are able to purchase upgrades and skills that make all future hero choices differ, just like in Rogue Legacy.
The game itself is a side scroller, and the only way to progress in the game is by going down. All the levels are randomly generated, giving you a slightly new experience each time. Along the way, you run into boxes with gold, treasure chests, trapped heroes, traders, and random wizards/princesses that give you rewards if you just so happened to obtain certain items while dropping down.
If you reach the bottom and defeat the boss but want to go back up and get the remaining chests, etc., there is usually a teleport pad at the bottom of the level. The game is designed, however, so that some achievements can only be unlocked if you beat numerous levels in Pacifist Mode. Pacifist Mode shows little orbs that give you money and experience so long as you don't kill any baddies; if you do, the orbs go away. Beating any level like this is hard, but it is much easier if you turn off auto-attack.
Vertical Drop Heroes HD - Control
The game is made so that you don't need to put too much effort into button mashing. Your character (unless noted otherwise) will auto-attack any surrounding enemies for you. You can also use skills that range from blasting yourself into the air to turning surrounding blocks into gold. You can only use a specified amount of skill points at each level, but they get replenished either via a statue or by traveling to the next level.
You can also activate green crystals, which, if you pay a little extra at the beginning, can teleport you to a specific point in the game, but at a cost. It has a set level register, so even if you were level 40 when you reached a crystal, it might only start you off at about level 22, which brings you to a slight disadvantage when you don't want to travel through all the levels all over again to get back to where you were.
Oh yeah, you will die. A lot! The point of the game is to die. Make it as far as you can, get as much money as possible, and purchase upgrades to Strength, Health, and Pacifism points. These upgrades last for the rest of the game, carrying on to all of your future heroes as well. This is one of the only games I know of that makes dying not a bad thing but something that is expected. You need to die in order to progress.
Vertical Drop Heroes HD - Graphics, Audio, and Multiplayer
The music is catchy and fits with the mood as the levels progress. It gets more serious and eerie as the levels go on. As for the graphics, they are more like the sprites for Rogue Legacy and Castlevania-Esque games: Small. It's a very retro game, and the graphics are what you would expect from a game where just about everything you interact with that is not monsters, and traders are blocked.
Multiplayer has its fair share of bugs. The best way to get around this is to play the game with your teammate physically next to you with a controller in their hands. Networking via IP to play multiplayer works about as well as it does for Hammerwatch, which means there are times when it either does not connect or acts very slowly when it does.
However, this game is much more fun with a buddy. Playing it alone is challenging, but the game is better if you play it with someone. If your buddy dies, they will respawn in the next map, which makes the game just a little easier, so long as you both don't die.
This is a pretty fascinating game, in my opinion. The multiplayer can definitely use some work, but the hack-and-slash aspect of it and the ability for it to be enjoyed as a single-player game more than makes up for it.
TechRaptor reviewed Vertical Drop Heroes HD on PC via Steam. It is also available on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation Vita. This review was originally published on 09-13-2014. While care has been taken to update the piece to reflect our modern style guidelines, some of the information may be out of date. We've left pieces like this as they were to reflect the original authors' opinions, and for historical context.