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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • The engaging tower defence and light deck-building gameplay
  • The insane amount of replayability in the box
  • The scalability and range of difficulty levels
  • The charming look of the game

Might Not Like

  • If you like deck-builders where you buy lots of cards this may not be for you
  • The tokens can sometimes be a little difficult to see
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Keep The Heroes Out Review

Keep the Heroes Out Main Feature

Keep the Heroes Out is a cooperative tower defence game with deck-building elements in which you have to put up with loads of pesky heroes coming into your dungeon trying to loot your treasure. If they ever get the loot from your vault, it’s game over. Luckily, you are a big gang of monsters with a variety of asymmetric monsterly powers intent on keeping the heroes out!

Just a quick note to say that I’ve been playing with the expansion which swaps the cardboard hero tokens for lovely wooden versions. The photos all show this version.

Let's Get Into It

I have a love/hate relationship with deck-building games. Some I hate: Dominion, Clank!, DC Deckbuilder, and some I love: Lost Ruins of Arnak, Viscounts of the West Kingdom, and Taverns of Tiefenthal. I tend to like deck-builders where your deck stays very small. In Keep the Heroes Out, you start with a deck of 10 cards and by the end, you will probably have somewhere in the region of 11-15 cards. You may be thinking that you’ll be stuck with starting cards clogging up your hand and that you’ll have very little power. That’s not the case. The starting cards are all pretty powerful and flexible. I don’t mind getting a hand of starting cards in this game. Acquired cards go into your discard pile – something I don’t normally like – but here it’s fine because your deck is so small. It’s never too long before you see that new shiny card.

In the game, you’ll be drawing a hand of five cards and then using these cards to move your monsters around the board, kill heroes, collect resources, open teleports, and acquire new cards. Then the heroes get their turn. They appear on the board and follow a flow chart of actions. This is initially daunting as you work through the chart, moving the heroes, attacking monsters, collecting treasures, or waiting for more heroes to show up. But after not very long you get used to the way the heroes behave and what their priorities are. Managing these AI opponents becomes a doddle.

The base game has three difficulty levels, with the expansion offering one even tougher level. The first time we played we couldn’t see how we would ever win on the higher-difficulty settings where the heroes become increasingly prevalent. It all felt punishing difficult with the heroes swarming in and capturing the loot ridiculously quickly.

Let’s look at an example of the heroes coming into play: a card is turned over showing the archers. Two archers get placed on locations on the board. Their first action is to shoot arrows at monsters in neighbouring rooms. Once this is done, they’ll have a look in their own room to have a little scuffle with the monsters there. Alas, there are no monsters. So, they look for treasure. Ah, no treasure either so they move into the next room activating the two warriors that were already in there. These three heroes now claim the treasure in that room which is to… oh no… activate again. Finally, they move into the next room and kill three more monsters. At the highest level of difficulty, you’ll do this process three times. It all gets choppy very quickly!

Over time, you’ll learn ways to deal with the heroes and defeating the game at the hardest difficulty becomes possible. In terms of difficulty, this game can easily cater for casual and hardcore gamers.

We Must Keep The Heroes Out

This game has stupid levels of replayability. There are 20 different scenarios to play through and there are nine different monsters to play them with, ten if you count the Cthulhu expansion which I will because he’s a complete beast. The monsters play very differently; the dragon charges about killing everything in sight and the imps set traps to capture foolish heroes. It all adds up to a lot of replayability.

Although it is very different mechanically, this game reminds me of Ghost Stories. It is initially very tough, but as you play more you feel more in control and develop tactics that can help you defeat the heroes. Early on you’ll be using the rooms’ powers more but as the game reaches its climax you’ll be frantically focussing on fighting and defending against the heroes. It’s got a very nice arc and those extra few cards you obtain during the course of the game can make you feel super powerful.

The components are nice although I would strongly advise getting the expansion as it makes reading the board so much easier. The characters are very cute and Root-esque. I would have liked little wooden resources as the cardboard ones can sometimes be easy to miss but this isn’t a major problem.

If you like co-op games, light deck-building, and tower defence then I think you would probably like Keep the Heroes Out. It’s got engaging gameplay, fun meaningful decisions to make, a great look, and replayability coming out of its ears. This is my favourite game of 2022 and comes highly recommended.

That concludes our thoughts on Keep the Heroes Out. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Keep the Heroes Out today click here!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • The engaging tower defence and light deck-building gameplay
  • The insane amount of replayability in the box
  • The scalability and range of difficulty levels
  • The charming look of the game

Might not like

  • If you like deck-builders where you buy lots of cards this may not be for you
  • The tokens can sometimes be a little difficult to see

Zatu Blog

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

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