When I was first offered the review for Nuriworks’ Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan I was “giddy”, yes giddy with excitement. The allure of it being a Science Fiction based MMO-ARPG with hack ‘n’ slash combat and the capability to collect and level up more than a dozen unique heroes (including iconic characters like Duke Nukem and Serious Sam) it got me thinking. Maybe I had found something to fill the void recently vacated by Marvel Heroes Omega which we all know had an untimely demise! This is our Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan review.
Wild Buster: Heroes of Titan, is published by Malta’s Insel Games, who are the publishers of Guardians Of Ember, and came about as a crowdfunded project on IndieGoGo. Insel Games and Nuriworks consider this game to be in “Early Access”, for what it’s worth. Looking at the stat sheet the game certainly boasts several ambitious key features, many being MMO-like.
The game is played in the typical ARPG mode, a top-down isometric view, a la Diablo III, with click to move. Based on one of six characters you can initially select, dependent on the edition you buy (yes this game is B2P), you play through the game either shooting, slashing, burning, rolling, etc. Character choices, akin to classes, range from mech suit engineer, tamer, dual wielding blade assassin, sniper, scythe wielder, etc. One nice feature is that character controls include “dodging”, which is a welcome intrinsic ability to have, as well as “jumping”. Otherwise, the default control scheme/toolbar is divided up between keys 1-4 (potions and such), the 5 key is assigned “quick travel” and keys QWER are assigned skills/abilities with your main attack assigned to the left mouse button. The F key is used for your special attack that becomes available once a gauge is filled. Additionally, the F5 key toggles between one of three toolbars but has what seems like a thirty-second cooldown since each toolbar can have different skills slotted. The control scheme feels a bit cumbersome if you’re an avid player of other ARPGs like Diablo III, Victor Vran, etc. Thankfully, you can modify your key bindings if you so desire.
The cheapest edition they currently offer is the “Founder Edition” which normally runs $24.99 USD and comes with eight heroes unlocked ( four for each faction) and five additional open character slots for unlocking additional “heroes”. Currently, there are 14 selectable heroes with 24 planned, each with different abilities and playstyle, much like Marvel Heroes Omega, the difference being gear drops in this game change your character’s appearance. Each “class” (or character) has a passive and four skills slots that initially have a choice between two skills. This passive ability and skills can be upgraded as you level, the skills can be enhanced/modded with items that add bonuses in areas like Attack, Defense, and Skill Recovery. There is also a rank level system that is an account wide tracking system to gain attribute bonuses.
The game’s backstory is a refreshing change of pace as it’s set in a war-torn galaxy, inhabited and ruled by the Broken, an aggressive cyborg race, that are hell-bent on converting the remaining humans into the same half-man-half-machine followers. The animation is wonderful, being slightly “cartoony” but more in an anime style and redder/bluer color palette versus World Of Warcraft cartoony. Characters are faction based, either “Guardians” (military organization) or “Abandon” (wild mutants). For those keeping score, I went Abandon so I could play the scythe-wielding Undertaker class, who doesn’t like a scythe? There were other choices, in both factions, that also initially appealed to me but I refrained from rolling them initially because the artwork made most of those male characters look like “creepy old dudes” as one of my colleagues put it.
The game boasts other “MMO-like” features including crafting, achievement system (currently forty-nine on Steam), a guild system, auction house, group finder, mounts and pets (with attribute bonuses). The list doesn’t stop there though as there are the daily missions, over 500 quests, 22 dungeons with 3 different difficulties, 4 raid instances and 5v5 PvP leagues, 4 open PvP zones and a free-for-all PvP treasure brawl zone. There are other nuances that are appealing e.g. a toggled quest tracker indicator. So as you can see, for a game considered to be in “early access,” it has a lot of features going for it.
On the flip side, there are design decisions that will probably frustrate a few, especially crafters, e.g. resource gathering tools cost gold, disassembly of drops cost gold and need to be done at a crafting specialist. Potions and heals cost gold. There is no “compact” command on the inventory dialog. Thankfully, there was no microtransaction shop in sight.
Questing in this game, at least in the lower levels, seems to lack a certain fun factor. You can enter a mission, i.e. instance, solo or select a button to find a party. Each mission seems to be considered a “dungeon” and can be done in one of three difficulties: Training, Normal and Expert (which are available at higher ranks). You’re dropped into a mission via helio-plane where a medic “greets” you. You can heal for gold and gain the benefit of some additional temporary stats. Then you make haste on a linear path to the “boss room”. Along the way groups of mobs ascend upon you, in small packs, as well as the occasional annoying pod chamber dropping from the sky. The pod chambers unleash more mobs until you destroy the pod chambers themselves. All of this is timed on a running countdown, “not to exceed”, timer, so don’t think about going AFK in one of these mission instances because the mission will fail. Ironically, you can also gather in these missions, assuming you bought the associated one-time use pick-ax, etc. and equipped it. Unfortunately, gathering a node takes more than a few seconds which cuts down on your completion time. A faster completion time presumably increases your completion XP reward and reward crate. This cycle continues for different missions. Thankfully, the end bosses are all a bit different.
Bottom line, the game is worth giving a try, even though initially it’s rough going on the fun factor, even loot drops don’t seem as spectacular and jaw-dropping like they do in Diablo III. Unfortunately, it’s not currently F2P so there is a $19.99 minimum price tag (currently a 20% discount) to jump into the game currently. The game is available through Steam and Humble where it’s gotten decent reviews, it just needs to also grow its current population to make the co-op features usable.
OVERALL SCORE: 7/10
- The setting, atmosphere and animation style are refreshing
- Has many welcome key features in place
- Replayability due to different hero characters
- Lacking a certain fun factor during missions, seems repetitive
- Low population in this early access hurts queueing features like missions and PVP
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam PC with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Diablo III, Marvel Heroes Omega