Heroes! by Bellamy Briks
I used to think of Quest as a system that outputs parser games, but Heroes! has shown me that it can also be used to make purely choice-based games. Briks’s game has the classic structure of a ‘time cave’ (in the terminology of Sam Kabo Ashwell), meaning that it branches often and that those branches do not, in general, come back together. Indeed, we start with a choice between one of three protagonists, whose stories are all completely different; and those protagonist tend to have at least two independent main storylines to explore.
Heroes! is charming, winsome, disarming, fun. You cannot dislike a game with pictures as adorable as these and storylines as good-humoured and whimsical. It all starts out as standard fantasy stuff and then turns into something not quite expected but almost always smile-inducing; the evil villain being a baby-kidnapper who is caring for dozens of babies in their evil house, and Bellamy Briks definitely not foregoing the opportunity of showing the protagonist sneaking off with a literal cartload of smiling babies. The pictures are essential here. While the writing is fine, it doesn’t quite stand alone. But then it doesn’t have to.
Some of the passages – especially in the goblin princess story – felt overly long to me, but otherwise I did what I was meant to do with Heroes!: enjoy it and smile.