Hero of the Kingdom III, much like its predecessors, is a quirky combination of an RPG, a point-and-click adventure, and a hidden object game. On its surface, it does not seem like a complex game. The interface and the controls are very basic which makes the game feel dated. Point, click, navigate, repeat. Lonely Troops released the first Hero of the Kingdom in 2012, and after over half a decade there does not seem to be much evolution between the titles.
The dialogue between characters suffers the same symptom as the visuals; it feels overly simplistic. In a title that chooses dated styles over the modern alternative, the expectation is that the other aspects of the game should balance this out. Hero of the Kingdom III struggles to meet this expectation as sitting through the story is more of a task of reading disjointed conversations than an immersive storytelling experience.
Beneath its modest appearance, however, Hero of the Kingdom III contains a surprising amount of depth as to what players can do throughout the game. With the array of skills players have at their disposal including blacksmithing, herbalism, alchemy, and more this title feels like a lighter and more casual version of an Elder Scrolls game. The combination of simple visuals and the depth of options Hero of the Kingdom III feels like a game that, had it come out a decade or two ago, would have been fantastic at that time. Unfortunately, because of the lack of change in style between the previous titles Hero of the Kingdom III feels out of place as a PC game. Its simplistic style would feel more appropriate on a less powerful device like a cell phone.
The hidden object element of Hero of the Kingdom III makes for a unique gathering experience for each player. Players will need to look over each area of the map thoroughly to find hidden ingredients, materials, or even troves of valuable resources in what is essentially a hidden object game. This becomes very important as the main character has a limited health to perform actions each day and must eat and rest to recover that health. These objects may also be used in certain scenarios, such as needing an anti-venom to defeat a poisonous spider or having to use a torch to light up a dark cave before going further.
At its core Hero of the Kingdom III is a charming and simple game. A player is not rushed to complete a combat or run from anything for fear of standing still too long. The point-and-click aspect make it a relaxing experience that players can take their time going through and exploring. This further amplifies the hidden object aspect of the game as players will want to take the time to scan each area, even if they have already been there once before. Because there is no real combat, and instead a list of requirements needed to click and kill a monster there is no rush or fear of failing. The biggest enemy players will encounter is a scarcity in food if they don’t hunt for ingredients or buy food in towns.
The most glaring issue of Hero of the Kingdom III is that in its third installment, six years after the release of the first game, it feels and looks the same. It is the same combination of hidden objects, RPG, and point-and-click with almost no variation in formula or style. It’s kind of like releasing the same game re-mastered for every new console as it comes out, you know the one. The charm is great for new individuals who aren’t familiar with the title, but if the horse is dead it should just be left alone at that point.
The dialogue and the story feel very generic and do not flow well. In one vision the main character has a mysterious princess finds beautiful stones in a forbidden valley. In the discussion between her and her father they go from talking about the stones, to the forbidden valley, to how she won’t ever find love, back to the valley. It seems a little erratic, and while the conversation eventually holds plot relevance later it does not feel like a natural dialogue between two people.
Hero of the Kingdom III is a relaxing and simple game, and while that does not make it bad, many of its elements feel recycled. It can be difficult to really connect with the story as the dialogue between characters feels more like a roughly written stage play rather than an epic adventure. As a point-and-click adventure it is a good choice if one just wants to sit down, relax, and stare at some pretty scenery while also saving the world from impending darkness. The hidden object aspect feels like the core element of the game, which makes it a solid choice if players were a fan of the Scholastic I Spy books.