Fable Heroes isn't like previous Fable games. Whilst it borrows the same name, Fable Heroes offers a more light hearted approach. There's no farts here. The game is simply targeted at a younger audience, but it still offers elements that make a Fable game. The game is designed for four player co-op, which can be played locally - or online.
You begin by selecting a doll-like character, and then team up with another three. Each Hero has a unique weapon and ability. There's ones of close range combat, like a sword and Hammer, and there's far range weapons, for example, a rifle or handgun. The hack-n-slash gameplay is something new to the Fable , and it offers a refreshing take on the franchise.
Fable Heroes is played in a 3D Side-scrolling perspective. The game takes place in a reimagined world of Albion. Due to it's childish approach, Albion is covered in cartoon style visuals. It's very vibrant and striking. It's one of the more attractive XBLA titles i've seen, and it really suits the games approach.
Whilst it might look inviting, the game is a fairly linier experience. Each level has you moving along the screen, fighting a bunch of enemies, collecting coins, and opening chests. There's also a few choices to take along the way. For example, opening a good chest might send over a ton of gold coins. Deciding to be bad could have your Hero turning into a giant, or hurting your team. The biggest choices are given at the end of each level, resulting in two paths. One holds a giant Boss Battle, whilst the other has a mini game. For example, kicking exploding chicken. It's a nice feature, and gives you a reason to return.
Each level offers it's own environment and foes to fight, but they all seem very similar. Each boss can be defeated in the exact same way, so there's not much skill involved. I still found it rather enjoyable though, due to it's levelling up system. As you defeat foes and smash objects, you will collect gold coins. These can then be spent on upgrading your Heroes, at the end of each level. What's interesting is how you upgrade each of your puppets. Instead of choosing from a list of upgrades, you must take in turns along a board game, throwing a dice and then landing on a square. Each square offers a selection of upgrades. For example, speeding up your Hero, or having a new attack.
Fable Heroes is certainly a charming game. At first, it looks very inviting and fun to play. There's a lot of potential here, but it's repetition, linier gameplay, and lack of ideas stop it from becoming what Fable should be, Magical.
Review by Gareth Smith