Hero and Daughter is a rare treat. Here we have the Hero that’s done it all, multiple times, and is still max level. Essentially being tired of everyone’s shit he basically tells the King to deal with the xth resurrection of the Dark Lord himself. Not impressed with the qualities that should so in fact be upheld by a Hero of the people the King takes matters into his own hands and gives our parched Hero a drink. Welcome to the bottom of the barrel as our Hero Ralph is now a grand total of Level 1 permanently unless he gets his act together. How does a Level 1 Hero manage to take out a Dark Lord? Apparently by meeting up with a Haremancer and summoning a plethora of girls to fight with and for him. Yes you read that right. Haremancer.
One of the best parts of Hero and Daughter is that outside of Combat and Roguelike exploration it does in no way, shape, or form take itself seriously which works very well to contrast against the hardcore elements that it offers. Dialog is light and fun both in the core story segments as well as the more optional paths depending upon the relationship level with the summoned girls that are brought into this world to help you. Each has a unique personality and look to them that helps create the feeling that these are more than simple battle options with different skins. One of the more noticeable elements was that all of the girls were drawn and not made with the built RPG Maker Character Creator which grants even more character considering the sheer number of them.
Being stuck at Level 1 is almost a death sentence in the RPG world as other than a few rare instances it generally does not happen to stay that low for very long. Being stuck at Level 1 in this case however is going to take a bit of creativity as even if the summoned girls are many, Ralph himself will still be partaking in battle as said miserable level. Creativity will come in the form of presents from NPC’s, Monster Drops, and Treasure Chests as stat boosts can be found in a variety of forms including the godsend Chiropractic Goddess that I kept running into while Dungeon Crawling. She heals you AND raises your max hit points. Being Level 1 in these case may not be so bad after all until there is a mishap and your hit points fall back down a bit.
As we all know generally NPCs are good for one thing. Talk to them once per “quest” line (if they even make it that far) and they may provide some important information. Exploring the town upon every return from questing through the dungeons is extremely recommended as there is a chance that NPCs will gift you items either to raise stats, learn new spells, or gift you presents that will allow you to raise the affection of whichever girl(s) you choose to. Sticking to the classic formula however dialog is going to be the same line over and over but it’s worth the repeat just to see if you get a present. Spicing things up just a bit is a test of memory however to how well you can recognize the NPCs as they move around every time that Ralph walks into or out of a building. If you really don’t want that same line of dialog repeatedly in order to get all your potential gifts you may want to learn the appearances of your fellow townspeople.
The town like you starts at the ripe level of one. Unlike you however (as an almost cruel recurring joke that honestly does not get old) it levels up like everything else in the world. Each purchase big or small as well as other avenues are all available in order to get some experience over into the town’s counter in order to level it up. For every addition level acquired, shops will begin to carry more variety in their stocks as well as offer new services once the experience goals for them are met. This is a slow process in the beginning with limited funds but as time passes any girl not out in the field with Ralph will add experience to the town while the selected few are out Dungeon Crawling. Like the chiropractic goddess that may be found in the field, the actual Village Elder may also be found and for the simple task of a back massage will add heaps of experience to the town honestly making finding him more of a priority than spending money. The Elder and the Goddess should honestly meet but then Ralph would be out of extra Hit Points and Town Experience.
All of the above however is useless without actually leaving town and diving head first into the first dungeon as any of the others would obliterate the party immediately and the final one is locked. Dungeon Crawling is honestly fun. “Random layouts” which are based upon IDs change how each run could be handled as the same layouts are not being seen repeatedly which in turn affects another feature of Bounties. Bounties can be found and cashed in while in town for specific foes that may be found in the dungeons but will only show up if the dungeon is actually using the ID in question. These foes can be walked up to and because of their insane strength at times Ralph is able to make the choice as to whether or not he wishes to face the opponent as the name and level are detailed.
Battles themselves are standard in a way with your party having their portraits closer to you and your enemies across the way. With the girls constantly gaining experience points and leveling up more challenging areas can be breached allowing for better gear, more money, and all around better quality loot to bring home. Well except for Ralph of course. Having to rely on stat boosters and equipment to survive it can be quite the challenge at times as while the girls can take a hit, he certainly cannot with his measly stats.
Things get “better” over time but the real challenge is keeping him alive. Why would this even matter though? Ralph while not being able to level up still receives experience in which he can transfer to any possible party member of his choice while back in town. Since new party members start at Level 5 this experience goes a long way to catching up new members which can be summoned by the Haremancer in the pub through the acquisition of summon crystals in the dungeons. These are rare enough but thankfully their golden hued chests are easy to spot when they do show up and picking them up should almost be the first priority as each new girl brings something different to the table.
Finally after everything that our poor now Level 1 Hero must endure, he does get something for free. Walking off to the right of town is an area in which Ralph is given a house free of charge in order to call home in which he can set up with all of the cool stuff that he picks up in the field as well as invite girls over. The Haremancer only summons girls to this town, the rest is completely up to Ralph and his very lacking skills of seduction.
The only issue that I could honestly say that Hero & Daughter has is that I was able to walk through the river that passed through the town. It wasn’t blocked off. That is honestly it for any issues that I had with what is a stellar experience made through the VX Ace RPG Maker engine. If anything I was overlooking it as it meant that I didn’t have to go the long way around and diagonal movement was enabled making moving that much smoother and more natural feeling. With everything that was constructed around the basis that your main character himself doesn’t level up, being able to walk on water was honestly a nice touch as at least Ralph got to do something out of the ordinary for being Level 1.
Generally I wouldn’t go into the next piece of detail as it “technically” fits under spoilers but continue reading at your own peril, once Ralph defeats the Dark Lord things start for real. Well at least we all knew the Dark Lord would fall right? With three dungeons leading up to the Dark Lord’s castle, once these are all said and done there is a load of new content that is opened up both inside and outside of the town making the original premise nothing more than the introductory segment. Those can be explored once you yourselves get there but with all of these new locations and challenges that open all of those excessive items finally start to make sense as to why certain items would heal 9999HP.
Hero & Daughter is an amazing title that can be played for hours on end with its addictive gameplay mechanics alone. Adding in the variety of different characters that only help to improve an already robust system with awesome lines of dialog and the hardcore elements and possible frustrations of not being powerful enough as smoothed over as the ridiculous dialog that can’t help but be chuckled at.
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Article by Pierre-Yves