Great Hero’s Beard – First Sip Review
Great Hero’s Beard is an incremental/idle game, also commonly called clicker games. However, as I will cover later, the clicker nomenclature is not really appropriate here. The game is developed by OneShark and published by SakuraGame.
Fairly barebones, especially with all the skeletons you fight. The story of GHB places you in control of Turgut the farmer of questionable morals. Now the only real dialogue/cutscene in the game happens right up front here. You gain the basics on Turgut and then follow him to a tavern where he overhears two strange men telling tales of their adventures. Adventures that were possible because of their “Golden Compass” a device that allows travel to other worlds.
As we learn in the intro dialogue, Turgut is not the most honorable laborer around. And as such he has no qualms in stealing the priceless artifact to use it for his own gain. Thus does Turgut’s journey begin in earnest. Despite the game being called Great Hero’s Beard, the “hero” portion is debatable. Turgut uses his newfound power for three main things, killing monsters, gaining loot and rescuing Princesses. However, rescuing might be too noble a term as the opening mentions “stealing women” as if they were objects. The way I see it, Turgut is the lesser of two evils. The princesses are held hostage by monsters and Turgut “frees” them into his custody. But at least one of the Princesses has tiny hearts floating around her head so she seems to be happy.
It’s a somewhat silly and light story, but it is interesting to play a man seemingly of no morals. And for this genre of game the fact there is a story is already more than most.
Great Hero’s Beard uses a hand-drawn art style. OneShark have opted for a rubber hose reminiscent style. The characters generally lack the long flailing limbs the rubber hose is named for. But they retain the large smiles and other characteristics of the style. For those unfamiliar with the term, think of the classic Disney cartoons, or more contemporary Cuphead’s art style.
Characters are varied and even running the same levels will see slight variations of the same types of enemies. As the game has a relatively simple setup the animation is fairly simple as well, closer to an old flash cartoon than a more intricate frame by frame work. Overall the art lacks the crazy level of detail found in Cuphead and Thunder Lotus games like the upcoming Spiritfarer. But it’s still really nice to look at, especially the more detailed backgrounds. The game also uses a filter over the top to make it look more like cel animation which is a nice touch.
The music in Great Hero’s Beard is pretty good. Which is a blessing because you’ll be listening to it a lot. Most of the tracks are fairly laid back, which fits with the style of game. A lot of the music is a sort of lo-fi techno, but sometimes there are flourishes of piano, organ and other instruments. All up there is about 35 minutes worth of music in the game, which is available as a soundtrack as well. You’ll hear different themes for different areas which generally contain a few areas, and due to grinding you might hear the same theme a fair bit. However, there is no music on your main menu, and you can turn the music off and play your own if you want to. This particular style of game really lends itself to playing your own music if you want to.
Sound effects are fine, like most games they don’t really stand out as being amazing. But at the same token, they don’t stand out as being bad either. The death cries of some enemies do sort of stick out after hearing them for a while, in particular, there is a headless horseman boss and the horse whinnies when you beat it. And again you can always turn the sound effects off if you want.
From the images and videos, Great Hero’s Beard may look a lot like a clicker game. However, it really isn’t one. Incremental/Idle is a far more fitting term as once you start a battle you cannot impact the outcome except for backing out. So why is the gameplay rated so high when there really isn’t any? Well, it really depends on you as a person if you’ll like this or not but the game is all about bigger numbers. You can outfit your hero with equipment, level up his stats and teach him skills. Then you select the fight and watch him go. It’s closer to being an RPG manager than an actual RPG, but it has a really addictive quality.
Specifically, it’s the progression that is addictive. Each run you do will give you experience and items to get stronger (unless you die without killing a single enemy). On your very first run, you will fail. It’s the way the game is designed, you simply are not strong enough. But this run will also give you enough experience to level up and gain a stat point. As well as providing you with a weapon and body armor to further increase your stats.
Once you defeat all the waves of enemies you can move on to the next level, rinse and repeat. You’ll also notice that even as early as the first run you’ll end up with duplicate and weaker equipment. You can “sell” these items to fill up a “fusion” bar though. When the bar is full you will gain either stat points, a skill point or a group of items. The first few rounds these fusion items will likely outclass any drops you find in levels and they can be real game-changers.
When progress slows?
Once you hit level 100 your hero gains the option to “retire”, retirement sends you back to the start. You return to level 1, lose all equipment and have to start from the first area again. However, doing this will also give you a bonus skill point, bonus stat points and a bonus to your earned XP. So when your progress slows after you hit level 100, retiring will allow you to hit the same level much faster and provide you with more points to increase your hero further. In addition, retiring a few times will also unlock other benefits, notably the “battle buddy” ability. When you clear themed areas you “save” Princesses. Each one gives you a permanent boost to your XP earning. But that’s not all, when you have battle buddies unlocked you can select a Princess to assist you in battle.
Princesses all have individual levels as well as new skills to unlock. However, unlike the heroes skill points which come everything 3 levels, the Princesses receive theirs every 5 intervals. But wait, there’s still more! While each Princess stat and skill-wise seems to be identical, there is however a few reasons to level more than one. Firstly, all Princess levels total together and grant a bonus stat point to each princess at certain intervals. And secondly, you can create Princesses with different skill distributions for various scenarios. Such as a loot increase princess, a princess built for one on one matches, etc.
And lastly, the other great thing about battle buddies, their levels don’t reset when you retire, a well-leveled princess can carry you pretty far in the early game.
There are a lot of incremental/idle/clicker games out there. A lot of them are even free to play. However, these free games normally have fairly large walls that incentivize a player to pay real money for in-game conveniences. Great Hero’s Beard has a small price tag, however, it doesn’t have any in-game purchases and as such progress feels much smoother than a lot of similar games.
I have personally become pretty addicted to playing it, racking up about 12 hours of play in 2 days. But, I’m also aware it’s not a game for everyone. If you enjoy trying to optimize your build and making the strongest warrior possible, this could be a game for you. If you’d rather focus on skill over luck and planning, you’d best look elsewhere. RNG (Random Number Generation) is a huge thing in GBH, most of your learnable skills are activated based on percentages, you can sometimes get really lucky and other times get wiped out quicker than expected. But the areas are pretty quick to run and you’re almost all the time at least gaining XP and items for fusion.
In Coffee Terms
Great Hero’s Beard in coffee terms is like a small straight black coffee. It’s cheap but it tastes good and it gives you that caffeine buzz. You finish drinking it and you kinda wish you had some more. Then before you know it a refill is there before you. You slam it down again, same flavor, same buzz. And yet another appears. At some point you’ll get used to the flavor and the buzz and want to change things up, but when you were just getting a cheap drink the value is more than you’d expect.
Great Hero’s Beard Links
Great Hero's Beard Review Summary
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.