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The Cruel King and the Great Hero is a storybook-like adventure game in which you play as a young girl named Yuu. She appears to have no parents, and is under the protection of the Dragon King. He tells her stories of a Great Hero he once knew: Yuu’s father.

Upon hearing these stories, Yuu is inspired to be a hero like her dad once was. The Dragon King encourages this dream by allowing her to venture off and help the monsters in the village. The Dragon King clandestinely follows Yuu to make sure she is safe and to help her with the battles she fights. Exploring the Dragon’s kingdom, Yuu ventures on to fulfill her duties of becoming a hero by helping those around her, all while facing her father’s past through the Dragon King’s stories, and by those she meets on her journey.

With a children’s storybook approach to the narration and writing—as well as the illustration-type art style and the way it appears as if pages turn as you enter new areas—this game is not only fun to play, it’s also heartwarming to experience.

Gameplay for The Cruel King and the Great Hero is quite simple, as all you really do is run around and occasionally fight monsters you encounter. The kingdom offers many places to explore, and along the way you will randomly bump into monsters.

The battles in this game are turn-based, in which you fight by choosing which moves to use. You can select basic fighting moves, but once you have saved up enough energy you can use stronger power moves against your enemies. You can also heal yourself with berries you find in chests or from monsters that drop them after being defeated.

Along your journey, you will run into people who will join your party for a brief period as you help them with whatever problem they may be facing. For example, the first person to join your party is a small fox whose family is sick. He will ask you to help him find a special flower to heal them, and will fight alongside you as you search for it.

To get stronger in battle, you can upgrade your weapons, and use special loot to upgrade your attacks and defenses. When fighting beside others, you can give them whatever loot they may need to make them stronger as well. Because they are not permanently a part of your team however, they will return whatever item you lent them as they leave. When fighting with someone, you are able to both attack at once, instead of taking turns, and you can help level up whoever is in your party while battling as well. Of course, you can level yourself up too by defeating enemies, which is important because the higher your level, the easier it is to defeat enemies. It is also important because when traveling from place to place, Yuu will walk a bit slowly until she is stronger than certain monsters. At this point she will run past them, allowing you to get from one area to another in a quicker manner. With leveling up, you can also learn more and stronger moves. In battle, you can analyze monsters and their moves to learn about them, such as their weaknesses, to get a better understanding of how to fight them.

Your main mission in The Cruel King and the Great Hero is to become a hero, but also have side quests along the way. Monsters in the village will ask for help with certain things and will reward you once you complete their requests. These can include simple things such as gathering materials or helping them find other monsters and passing along messages.

As said before, The Cruel King and the Great Hero is presented like a children’s storybook which helps add to the story and its message. The hand-drawn art has a kind of scribbly style to it.

The settings are beautiful, and there are a lot of rather touching details put into this game. For example, the Dragon King is seen in the background of Yuu’s journey to show that he is watching over her. Yuu has a move where the Dragon King will blow fire on her sword without her knowing, leading her to believe she magically conjured a fireball to fight her enemies. There is also a wide variety of settings—from forests to snowy climates to caves—as well as a variety of monsters to match each setting.

The Cruel King and the Great Hero is not just the cute story of a young girl wanting to follow her father’s footsteps. It’s also a fun game that’s hard to put down. With a heartwarming story, a nice battle system, and a unique visual style, this game is definitely worth playing.