Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Helam: A Stripling Warrior Quest: A Review

Excel Entertainment and React Games teamed up to bring us "the first major Book of Mormon video game." Helam is an exciting adventure game set in the Promised Land in which you will ENLIST allies, SEARCH and COLLECT clues, and FIGHT (probably my son's favorite part).

The game begins with Helam (you the player) trying to help his sister escape from the cave and make her way back home. You must do your best to protect your sister as you encounter enemies and help her cross dangerous terrain. You do this by moving the mouse pointer where you would like to go and clicking. Once you encounter enemies you only need to approach them and then combat will ensue.

In close combat you select your moves first, (as do your enemies), after which the battle takes place. You have the option of attacking (red), powering up (yellow), or defending (blue). Enemies start out easy and progressively get more difficult and more powerful! That tiger is quite powerful with 519 hit points. But this same idea applies to the player. As you defeat enemies and complete quests you collect experience points which help you level up and become more powerful as well. It's very important to collect as many herbs as you can carry, as these help restore hit points that you lose during battles.

Additionally, you can collect tools that help in your quests. For example, in your village you collect a shovel from the guards, which allows you to dig and find several other helps in your quests. One exciting event in the village is the burning synagog, you have to help put the fire out. It was very cool to see how they had portrayed places of worship for the Nephites. It's also cool to see how they wove aspects from the Book of Mormon history into the game. For instance, you encounter a man in the village, Amilon, who is telling the people that Pahoran needs to be removed from the Judgment Seat. He believes that a king should be set in Pahoran's place, someone like King Mosiah, who will do a better job of protecting the people. I guess I had just never thought about the fact that there were probably some who wanted a king for "righteous" reasons, or what they thought were righteous reasons.

I only had one problem with the game. Many times on the levels throughout the game there are places where it is fairly easy to get "stuck" or it is hard to move Helam around because of un-walkable areas jutting out or narrow passages that make it difficult to stay in the walkable area. This is fairly annoying, but it can be somewhat alleviated by just holding down the mouse button while moving the cursor around the screen. In this way, Helam just follows the cursor and it is easier to guide him around.

Overall, I think the game is a lot of fun and that many people will enjoy it. The artwork of the game is beautiful, and like I said, they did a great job in portraying the Promised Land. It is also fun fighting enemies and working to figure things out (be sure to find all 3 relics on each level).

My 7 year old son also enjoys the game so I'll leave you with his thoughts (embedded below).

Mormon Game Design on Facebook