Three years ago, you saved the world.
The moon turned blood red. The demons broke free from the portal to wreak havoc. A Dark Lord (well, Lady) had arisen to sow chaos and despair.
Together, mage, warrior and soothsayer followed the path of an ancient prophecy, fought back these evil forces, slew the Dark Lady and brought back peace to the land.
The only problem? None of it is true.
It was all one big fat lie.
Your partners-in-crime were:
Letha, the above-mentioned warrior who, by the way, just happened to have murdered your mutual employer for being a demon sympathizer, thus getting the both of you flung into jail
Alvis, the wannabe soothsayer who, actually, doesn’t have a scrap of magic in any bone of his body and lies through his teeth out of sheer habit
Verity, the “Dark Lady” who wanted to fake her death, because… reasons…
And you, not at all a master of -any- elemental magic, just some illusions.
Well, you do also have some other skills at your disposal. Perhaps you’ve studied a great deal of theoretical magic and history. Perhaps your gift is that of the gab, charming others with witty banter. Maybe you’re not half bad at tactics and in the combat arena, or maybe you’re just really good at running away.
You’re going to need them.
Because tonight, the moon has turned blood red (for real), and you’re not to blame, but your three years lie is finally catching up to you.
Heroes of Myth by Abigail C. Trevor is one of the most recent offerings from the Choice of Games lineup of text-based choice-laden narrative games.
I picked it up via iPad app because I was simultaneously craving reading a book I could tote around on the go, and something more game-like and interactive where I could have an influence on where the story went.
For moods like that, the Choice of Games lineup is definitely becoming a good resource, though it can take a little patience to dig the gems out of the merely decent or the unfortunately mediocre with cringy writing.
Crowdsourcing some Steam review opinions, and then playtesting the first few chapters for free via their website (see link above) is usually how I go about it.
By and large, Heroes of Myth navigates the twin perils of purple prose or the outright ungrammatical fairly well. The style is straightforward and easy to read.
The one caveat is a gender neutral character who is constantly addressed as “they.” Done tastefully, I think there is little wrong with that usage. But as repetitively as it is sometimes used in the story, the pronoun can produce momentary confusion as to whether it’s referring to that specific character, or used in the more normal plural sense. This can get occasionally disorienting and even cringy language-wise.
Despite that minor niggle, the power of Heroes of Myth is how it treats its central theme – that of truth or lies. Is honesty the best policy, or is it better to tell the world a mythic story to dream about and believe in? You get to decide.
There are multiple viable paths through the chapters. This allows repeated playthroughs with entirely different archetypes of your choosing.
In the vein of Choice of Games style games, your initial decisions move your stats towards shaping your character in certain ways. If you tend to talk your way through things and being bold and flashy, your Charm and Showy stats go up. Fighting everything might push up your Combat stat instead, and making more introverted hover-in-the-back-of-the-crowd decisions leans you towards Subtle instead of Showy.
In the later chapters, these stats become more fixed, and get used for tests of success or failure. Often, you’ll want to use the better stat choices for optimal results, but there can also be times when it becomes interesting narratively to fail.
In one playthrough, I had a terribly low Charm skill, so most of my choices that relied on conversation tended to repel NPCs with my uncouth and overly forthright manner. Near the end, there was an option to assure certain other NPCs of some matter… except that I as the player actually wanted to fail this, so I picked the choice suspecting my character would make a hash of things, and they did. The NPCs did not believe my character. Character: *unhappy* Player: “Yes!”
Speaking of characters and NPCs, Heroes of Myth provides quite a veritable cast of NPC characters – each of whom you have your own relationship meter with, and as is the usual fan service with such games, the possibility of romance with quite a number. At least five, if my count is correct.
All in all, I find Heroes of Myth a fun romp. It’s a fantasy adventure story that lays out its premise from the beginning and concludes where it should.
As stated, there’s going to be demons, illusions, a prophecy (twice-repeating) and a fantasy kingdom with a cast of characters to save. You begin at the start of the second repeated prophecy, flashback to portions of the first “prophecy,” and end when that second prophecy concludes. Nothing more, nothing less.
But how you get there, well, that you’ll have to decide for yourself.
You’re a hero… aren’t you?