Fable Heroes
Fable Heroes Hands-On Preview – Fable Fourplay, Anyone?
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For a game that makes reference to golden showers, has a “giant cock” in it and has Hobbe Jockeys littered throughout the levels, you have to wonder who Fable Heroes’ audience is. In fact, we not only wondered that, but we asked Fable Heroes’ Lead Designer, Ted Timmins that very question when he was on hand to demo the game for the first time at Microsoft’s Spring Showcase.

“Is this a family game?” we exclaimed, “Well, it’s a Fable game,” chuckled Timmins. “When we started off we wanted to call it Fable Fourplay, because obviously the four-player element… We were told we could have got away with it if we weren’t a Fable game, so that goes to show you what people expect from a Fable game. If they bought a game called Fable Fourplay, they’d expect it to be a sex sim.”

That, they would.

Fable Heroes was one of the pleasant surprises at this year’s Spring Showcase. Yes, it’s Fable, but not as you know it. What started out as a small project on the side for Timmins and five others, eventually escalated to a full-blown Xbox Live Arcade game and we’re set to reap the rewards because of it.

The 4-player co-op, drop in/drop out, hack-and-slash title takes its inspiration from classics such as Gauntlet and Castle Crashers, and has you and three like-minded friends working through puppet stage-esque levels in some familiar Albion locations. You’ll be tasked with smashing crates, fences, decimating Hobbes, chickens, Hollow Men, Bandits, Balverines and more, all in the pursuit of gold, and heading to places such as Bowerstone, the infamous castle, Mistpeak and Aurora, and more. There’s even an interesting community unlock that will see the “cloud” level unlock when the top 100 in the leaderboards have a combined score of over 1 million.

There are 12 puppets to choose from in all, ranging from staple names from the past few games like Reaver and Garth, ranging to newer characters like Benn Finn and Gabriel – from The Journey, who has a hobby horse as a weapon. Each puppet has their own unique combat style and weapons, with some having a hammer, a pistol, a cutlass, a scythe and others utilising such abilities as fireballs and force pushes.

In terms of control mechanics, they’re fairly simplistic and straightforward, with one button for a light attack, another for a heavy attack, one to roll/dodge and another to use a special attack. Using the special attacks depletes one of your hearts though, so you'll have to use them wisely and tactically. If you die, it's no biggie, as you’ll still be able to play as a ghost who’s unable to pick up coins and to get back into the coin hoarding action instead. To do that you simply have to pick up a heart.

As you can probably tell then, coin hoarding is the name of the game, whether you’re playing competitively with everyone having their own coin pool or co-operatively, where you share a coin fund.

Fable Heroes’ levels are interlinked by a particularly vibrant board game interface and even the levelling up mechanic gets its own board game UI – Christopher Nolan would be proud. The levelling up mechanic is where you as a player will get the chance to spend your hard-earned coins and for every milestone you hit in a level, you’ll get a certain amount of rolls of the dice in the levelling up board game. Here you’ll be able to buy expression packs, get better enemy death effects, earn bonuses against certain foes, upgrade your weapons, upgrade your skills like your flourish range, buy new puppets and much more.

It’s not just about hack-and-slashing familiar Fable foes or destroying objects and collecting coins though, as there’s plenty of other distractions along the way, like good & evil chests, which can grant a random team member either a negative or positive effect, whether it’s something useful like super speed or something that can seriously hamper your game like reversing someone’s controls. More interestingly, you can even activate a game of lightning bolt tag, which zaps the random person selected for coins, but can be easily passed on to a fellow chum. Watching a game of tag start out of nothing in the middle of a level not only breaks up the pace but can often end in a short burst of hilarity.

There’s also an homage to Street Fighter’s bonus stages, huge bosses and mini-games – like avoid-the-exploding-chicken mini-game – that all make up part of the Fable Heroes experience. Even better, complete the game once – and play the “credit level” which Timmins was remaining tight-lipped about – and you can switch from “Light Albion” to “Dark Albion” which will offer more of a challenge, with each level getting a makeover for your second run through.

If that’s not enough and you were looking to pick up Fable: The Journey as well, you can earn gold in Fable Heroes which you can carry across and similarly, you can unlock puppets for Fable Heroes in Fable: The Journey.

Whether on the couch or over Xbox Live, Fable Heroes is set to combine the addictive and simple 4-player gameplay of Castle Crashers, with the cutesy characters and visuals of LittleBigPlanet with all the Fable charm. It’s a formula you can’t really go wrong with. That, and it’s only 800 Microsoft Points. Ladies and gents, Fable Heroes is shaping up to be what we call a steal. It’s a hell of a lot more appealing than Fable: The Journey, that’s for sure.

Fable Heroes is coming to the Xbox Live Arcade on May 2nd for 800 Microsoft Points.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 69
Comment #1 by InfestusDnB
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 11:22:39 AM
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I love the look of this, can't wait for a demo to help me make my mind up on the purchase.

Forum Posts: 635
Comment #2 by Avenged Remains
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 11:25:07 AM
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Sounds like a blast, I'm so glad this and South Park are only 800 MS points. No waiting for DotW on them, day 1 buys :D

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #3 by Aussie27Legend
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 11:30:39 AM
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Will probably be better than Fable 3 (not that difficult).

Forum Posts: 586
Comment #5 by Ayx
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 11:43:59 AM
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@4: lolwut.

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #6 by JustAFriend
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 11:58:32 AM
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#4 south park refrence, damn mongolians!

Forum Posts: 1749
Comment #7 by UberPirateNinja
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 12:21:38 PM
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if this is half as good as castle crashers, i'm a gonna buy it.

Forum Posts: 13
Comment #8 by frankumms
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 01:05:42 PM
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will probably?

how about WILL

Fable 3 was such a dissapointment

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #9 by BoneyMichael
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 01:08:15 PM
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Was never interested in the Fable series but this game looks really good and 800msp I think I will grabing this on day 1.

Forum Posts: 180
Comment #10 by Lothra
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 02:05:17 PM
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Its hard to see such a once great franchise get turned into this kind of mediocre kiddy crap.

They need to go and make a full fable game that is as good as the first and not spend there time on this rubbish.

Forum Posts: 150
Comment #11 by darkboy1200
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 02:45:09 PM
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Game looks pretty cool, reminds me a bit of castle crashers. The next XBLA promotion is looking really nice. I hope they have a rebate special though. Those are always nice.

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #12 by BoneyMichael
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 03:05:19 PM
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Wow with all these fingers down I guess some fable hard core fan is crying hard tonight.Probably the same douche that cries when dlc is release when it should be on his disk, cries about how his ending for mass effect is better than biowares or bitches about kinect destroying his games.

Forum Posts: 80
Comment #13 by Dragonling
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 03:31:18 PM
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I am getting more and more interested in this game as time goes by. Never would have thought so when it was first unveiled. Should be a blast :)

Forum Posts: 7441
Comment #14 by iBuzz7S
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 03:45:39 PM
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Pub Games was a blast and I expect this to follow that. Can't speak on the disappointment(s) of Fable III as I am yet to play it, but who cares? Full game release compared to XBLA title is like comparing a cow to a glass of milk. =/

800 MS Points = no time for a demo. Download and enjoy.

Forum Posts: 141
Comment #15 by Rastaman20
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 04:37:51 PM
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seriously? ~sigh~ oh fable how have you fallen since Fable:The Lost Chapters

Forum Posts: 109
Comment #16 by NJC Omega
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 06:24:04 PM
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800 MS points is an absolute steal for this game. It looks great and this preview has definitely made it a day one buy for me I think.

Also being 800MS points, while offering 400 gamerscore basically proves wrong all the people who thought higher gamerscore means higher prices. A very welcome proof. :)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #18 by blackout529
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 10:19:44 PM
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Nice to see you can play as that asshole Reaver. Looking forward to this game!

Forum Posts: 3223
Comment #19 by DecadentBeaver
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 12:27:15 AM
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So Fable has a giant cock in it? Thought Peter Molyneux had left.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #20 by aim of kronic
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 12:43:50 AM
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@19 lol good one

i think if the did call it fable fourplay it would sell better.. but make alot of people mad..

looks good.. will check the demo first.. atleast we know it wont be copy n paste like the other fables

Forum Posts: 158
Comment #21 by Felix Pie
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 09:24:20 AM
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Its funny how they delete users comments because they don't like bad words but they allow advertisements to clutter the board

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #22 by spike2055
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 @ 01:59:14 PM
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looks bad

Forum Posts: 1062
Comment #23 by Lebowski
Thursday, March 29, 2012 @ 07:09:05 AM
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Looks absolutely awful, I've always wanted to play as the hero dolls! NOT!
Actually work on making a decent RPG like Fable: The Lost Chapters. Thanks.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #24 by Hitsugaya11
Friday, March 30, 2012 @ 02:06:16 PM
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I think I'm gonna try this. Looks much better than fable: The Journey.

But still I wish that they'd focus on fable 4 (or whatever the name is gonna be. And then finally make a decent, full fable game again.

But somewhere in the back of my head I have have the feeling I've hoped that before...

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #25 by ServbotNamedSxE
Friday, March 30, 2012 @ 03:29:10 PM
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Could be some good fun. It's at least worth a look.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #26 by Kitsune666
Saturday, March 31, 2012 @ 02:17:44 PM
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kinda looks like "fairytale fights" graphicwise. We'll see how it plays.

Forum Posts: 80
Comment #27 by anomalous views
Monday, April 02, 2012 @ 06:02:50 PM
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I've always like games like mario party, and since fable keeps getting better this should be great. have some friends over and drink a beer and punch each other in the arm for mashing the b button faster and faster to fill up a balloon or some crap.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #28 by thorneweaver
Sunday, May 13, 2012 @ 02:49:06 AM
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Cross genre jumps are always tricky wonder how the game is

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Game Info
Lionhead Studios


US May 02, 2012

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