Last week we reviewed Pocket Heroes [$0.99] from F5 Games, and despite having a number of issues the overall package and premise behind the game meant that it was something that we still recommended checking out, warts and all. To quickly recap, Pocket Heroes lets you form a party of up to 4 players online and tasks you with working your way through a very brief RPG experience, with each player taking their turn asynchronously.

It’s such a great idea, especially for a mobile platform like the iPhone. Unfortunately, some of the execution was a bit off which brought the experience down somewhat. On the fortunate side of things, the fluid nature of the App Store and the ability to update games meant that there was hope for Pocket Heroes if the developers could tweak the formula and squash some of the problems in the initial version.

Today, the first update has hit for Pocket Heroes and it’s quite a doozy. The standout new feature is the ability to fill out your party with randomly matched players online. Previously, you were stuck using just specific Game Center usernames or emails of other players, but now you can simply hit “Random Player” on the party creation screen and have it search out somebody for you automatically.

However, it seems like there are some issues with this new feature. I’ve been having trouble finding anyone to connect with so far, getting an error message after forming my party about the game not being able to retrieve data from the server. It then leaves those games in limbo with a message that I’m “Waiting on Random Player” to take their turn but it never seems to actually fill out that player spot with a real person.

I’ve tried connecting with random players lots of times, but all I have now is a list full of games in limbo. The next scheduled update will feature the ability to quit games and change parties, which is sorely needed. The matchmaking issues might be related to not everyone downloading the update just yet, but it seems like people in our forums are having the same issue that I am.

Besides the seemingly bugged random player matching, this latest Pocket Heroes update also includes a bunch of new tweaks and features. You can now decline invites if you wish, there’s been a lot of improvement to the UI and chat features, and many tweaks to the character and item balancing.

It’s a bummer that the biggest feature in this Pocket Heroes update seems to have problems, but it does bring a lot of welcome changes in areas other than the matchmaking. There’s no question that F5 Games is dedicated to making Pocket Heroes be the best it can be though, so we’ll keep an eye out for future updates that can hopefully smooth out some of these rough issues.

  • Noam Rathaus

    Only way I was able to get this game to "get anywhere" is by having a friend "sit" near me and playing together.

    Otherwise the nature of the game becomes fire-and-forget, more often forget than fire - as players forget to move their pieces making the game become impossible to play.

    • Clockwork_Red

      Comrade I don't think you understand the nature of asynchronous gaming...

      • Noam Rathaus

        Thank you for commenting on my comment, your answer is truly a political way of blaming the "crowd" for the game's fault.

        I play other Async games and this problem is less common there, maybe because turns in this game are "shorter" than other games, so the flow of the game is hindered.

        Anyway, feel free to continue bash me instead of seeing this as a feedback with the aim of improving the game.

      • Clockwork_Red

        Thank you for granting me permission to continue to post about what I wish to. I think I will.

      • Noam Rathaus

        Your welcome, though your sarcasm is much more than my personal taste can handle.

  • Faeryan

    Bought the game on day 1 and couldn't play at all before this new update due to no interested Game Center friends.
    Now after about 24 hours after the new upgrade I've started one game with 3 randoms, one game with just one random and joined one game by some random.
    During this time I've only got to play one turn in random player's game. In my own games I haven't played more than my initial first turn.

    Like the original poster I've also gotten the sync error message right after creating the game.

    Needless to say I'm a bit disappointed.

    • Clockwork_Red

      That's really too bad friend. I've been playing since day one and I've never had real issues, only minor glitches here and there.

  • Oshihiro

    I waited until the update with the random player search option came out to buy this game.

    Unfortunately, the game will not let me invite a random player, nor anyone else. The game crashes every time I select a friend or a random player. I'm hoping this problem with be fixed for me and anyone else having this problem.

    I know most people are able to get as far as playing the game, only suffering from a few existing bugs and the fact that a lot of adventures become stagnant due to one player never taking their turn, but I have yet to even play.

    It's a bit of a letdown, because this game looks so promising. If everything can be fixed, I don't mind waiting. Again. hahah Here's hoping.

    • Rivalsan

      I am in the same boat as you. I can't get past the character selection screen without the game crashing, so I've never actually played a game. It looks fun, but I can't encourage anyone to get it in its current state.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donald.ronald.754 Donald Ronald

    I feel scammed buying this game. Nothing works, the new features don't work. It's an unplayable game. I don't care how cheap it is, it's still a buggy POS that's being sold and making them money.

    • Clockwork_Red

      You are just do wrong, it's distressing to me that your post might get read by people who are interested in knowing things.

  • Allen_D

    It's unfortunate that the reviewer keeps apologizing for the developers. Feels more like a PR spin rather than an objective view.

  • gospvg

    You need to have the right group of players. I am playing against a group of friends & we have gotten quite far. My character is now level5. I would like an option to delete games where players are not playing.

  • Bliquid

    It has such a potential, and so disappointing in the state it is now.
    The gameplay itself really does remind me of my younger days roleplaying.
    That is, WHEN i'm able to play more than 2 turns in a day.

    We need a drop in-drop out system , a nudge system, colored areas of effect, a more clear and unbugged UI, a more fluid chat system, an action-movement confirmation prompt, more classes, ability to speed up/skip last player turn and... Am i forgetting anything?
    Oh, yea, to post this suggestions in F5 blog.

  • http://twitter.com/Readmore Brandon Pollet

    Hey everyone, 

    I just looked into this and it's a non-issue. The error was a false positive, and you won't be getting it anymore when you start random games.

    The problem with people not moving isn't a technical problem it's just that, some of the people aren't moving. I just went in and limited the number of people who can receive random invites to those with more than 2 characters on their account. Hopefully that will limit the number to people who are interested in playing.

    If you only have one or two characters but want to get invited to a random game open up the app, hit settings, and make sure the random games is set to yes.

    • Bliquid

      So... That's it?
      Now the game is perfect?
      I wish you cared more about paying users feedback.
      Just saying.

      • http://twitter.com/Readmore Brandon Pollet

        I never said the game was perfect I just said that I looked into the issue Jared reported and I've done what I can to fix it.

        If you're not enjoying the game, I'm sorry. I believe the App store will give you a refund.

      • Bliquid

        Sorry to say this, but you could use some PR lessons, imho.
        I'm not asking a refund since i think there's a lot of place for improvement in Pocket Heroes.
        As it would have appeared clear to you if you noticed that i wrote the comment just above yours, with mild praises and modest suggestions.
        Since i thought it would have been nice of you to comment on that, i posted the second.
        Nvm, i lost interested in all this.
        Cheers.

      • http://twitter.com/Readmore Brandon Pollet

        I appreciate your feedback and the suggestions. We are constantly engaging the community in the forums here, on our website, and on Twitter. We've also been noting all the suggestions that have come in for future updates; a large number of the features we added in this update were based on player feedback.

        We're working to improve Pocket Heroes and make it a game that everyone can enjoy, but unfortunately, it's not something that is going to happen overnight. I hope that you'll continue playing the game and providing us your feedback; if not I'm sorry that Pocket Heroes didn't work out for you.

      • Clockwork_Red

        It's amazing that people pay a buck for something -that has clearly taken a tremendous amount of effort to create- and suddenly they feel like they have a right to critique any detail of every post you make.

        Don't let the turkeys get you down. You're game has brightened many dull afternoons at work, and for that I thank you. I've got a buddy at work that's eagerly awaiting chapter 2 with me.

        I've heard time and again various compliments about your hands-on approach to these forums.

        Thank you!

        P.S. Whoever suggested a time limit on turns is spot on. Uniwars (a very successful asynchronous game) has a system that allows players to choose the limit at the start of the game from a few choices (6 hours, 12, 24, 48 I think...). Just a thought.

      • Noam Rathaus

        Sorry, but paying a buck doesn't give you (the writer of the game) to give out a game that is no fun.

        I agree, that for 1 buck you cannot expect much, but expecting people to shut up because it is only 1 buck is outrageous.

  • ratsinheat

    Nothing new to add but I do support the bad reviews. This shit game is unplayable. I can't even get into a game. It's fun attacking that first wolf one time and then having an unplayable game sitting there.

    Get a refund from apple, people!

    • Clockwork_Red

      Dear Sir,

      If you don't have friends to play with, perhaps you should spend less time on your iPhone.

      Ironically yours,

      Clockwork

      Posted from my iPhone.

      • ratsinheat

        Dear Sir,

        We know you are a plant by the creator. Please stop defending a shit game made in haste. While you are at it, take an ESL class.

        Ironically yours,
        Shaq

      • https://me.yahoo.com/rekzkarz#a0df5 REkzkaRZ

        @ Rats, this is not a "shit" game, I completely disagree.  it's a first in what is likely to be a new genre -- asynch RPG's.

        I def think it's quirky, buggy, and I'm surprised it got such high reviews from TA initially (the main reason I bought it) -- BUT I can't argue that this is like looking at an early buggy DOOM and not seeing genius.

        It's ahead of it's time, and I can only hope for more & better.

        It's def worth the $1, and if you can get a friend to play, you'll have a great time -- despite all the quirks & bugs.  If you can remember PC/Mac game days, for $1 it's not that big of a loss (even if you hate the game, which I don't).

        Note:  I'm not associated in any way with the devs of this game.

      • Clockwork_Red

        Friend, you see conspiracy where their is none.

        I'm just someone who enjoys this game a lot and believes in the potential of this genre enough to route for this games success.

        Perhaps it is you who are a plant from some rival iOS developer?! Just kidding, I'm not rediculous enough to raise the specter of something so petty.

  • James Jeffcoat

    The key to enjoying this game is having set people to play with who are going to take their turns. Outside of my normal set of friends, I have found good players on the forums here and through google +. If someone would like to play but is having trouble finding people, add Uhtred to your GC and I will pull you into some games with active players. Once you get rolling with people actually taking turns, it is a blast.

  • Schpank

    Why does everybody insist an async RPG is a great idea? IMO it's akin to reading a book three words a day, or listening to music with variable rests between notes.

  • Nadante

    Add an auto-skip feature (I suggest 18-hours).

    I am on campaign five with a friend and this is an awesome game but sucks for more than two people and we have to wait...

  • mikesiny89

    I can't even play because I can't find people to play with even when I enable random players in the setting. Find other players shouldn't be such a chore. I can predict this game dying out quickly unless you remedy this inconvenience. I suggest a tavern as a starting point where you could recruit other players before heading out for a campaign, or perhaps a system that shows players that are online and allows you to message / send them a request to party. Great concept. Fail start.

    Sincerely,

    Mike

  • mikesiny89

    P.S my in game name is "mikesiny89" of anyone wants to play. I'm sitting here with a few beers bored.

  • http://twitter.com/Readmore Brandon Pollet

    Mike,

     The best way to get a group going right now is to use the Organized Parties thread in the forums: http://forums.toucharcade.com/showthread.php?t=144228&page=21

    Everyone there seems to be a really active player and I know a ton of great groups have gotten started over there. Give it a shot and I think you'll have a good experience.

    • mikesiny89

      Brandon thank you for your reply but I am hoping it's not a long term thing to start a party via the forum and a system is implemented in game where we can find a party easily. Forums aren't as instant. Perhaps add social networking features. Great game and music. Hope it is improved soon. If you can add what I mentioned I will most likely become an avid player.

      Sincerely,

      Mike

  • ratsinheat

    Requesting a refund from apple results in a 100% refund to the buyer, but apple still makes their 30%. The seller has to pay that 30%. They end up losing money. Sucks for them but we already lost ours. Getting a refund will quickly fix the bugs and bad customer service.

  • https://me.yahoo.com/rekzkarz#a0df5 REkzkaRZ

    This game is cool.

    What disappoints me most are the 'resynch' bugs, namely -- resync often bypasses the monster's turn, will re-load the markets, let you re-roll your attacks, etc.I'm fine with a 're-do' button if you accidentally move & didn't mean to, although I can think of a much better implementation (ie if you move & didn't mean to, just move back & get your move/AP back).  But once a player has attacked & done damage, or killed the monster & it drops a random treasure, it should be 'done'.  No option to re-do it.  This is a significant flaw.

    Again, as I've said before -- this game is flawed, has bugs, and is far from perfect.  But it's a first of a new genre -- asynch RPG's for mobile -- of what I hope to be many MANY of the genre!

    Props to the designers for the concept (5 stars), a few negatives on the flawed initial release (3 stars), and also the re-synch bugs + difficulties finding players (2-3 stars), and the inability to end games started (3 stars).  To me, that is approx 4 stars overall if you're feeling generous, and I am.

    For $1, if you've got a friend to play with, I think it's an amazing first.

    NOTE:  I'm not affiliated with the dev's for this game.

  • Tone1978

    Please fix ASAP its not a matter of not having friends to play with it is convincing them to play a broken game.
    T