Developed by Pokémon studio, Game Freak, Little Town Hero is a mixture of boss rush and card elements, set in a linearly progressing story. As the name suggests, most of the game resides in a small town that's accompanied by a castle. Players assume the role of a red-haired protagonist, who obtains powers from a colorful stone.
Little Town Hero often gets attributed as a roleplaying game (RPG), but aside from a sphere grid to improve the card combat system, there are no real progression systems to further develop the character. It is, however, possible to recruit people, who aren't directly involved in combat, but rather provide one-time support abilities when triggered.
There are 9 chapters in total, with most of them offering one or two fights against a large monster. Some chapters also have minor, recurring fights with the side characters in the game. Winning these encounters yield Eureka points that contribute to unlocking more nodes in the sphere grid. Additionally, failing in combat yields a small amount of points as well. It is not possible to unlock the full grid by succeeding in every encounter on the first try. This also applies to the expansion of the sphere grid that happens midway through the chapters.
Little Town Hero has a highly colorful cartoon style, with monster designs being very reminiscent of later, more edgy Pokémon evolutions, such as Hydreigon. Music for the game was mostly composed by Toby Fox of Undertale fame.
There are only a few locations in the game, where the player can fast travel to. These locations are as follows:
- Main Street
- Coal Mines
Most locations only have one interactive point of interest, with the exception of Main Street. In this area, there is a General Store, a Furnace, a Cheese Shop and a Tavern.
In Little Town Hero, combat is perceived through Ideas, which are split up in two parts. Ideas, functionally identical to a card-based system, are mostly drawn from the protagonist's Headspace, with some exception. When drawn, these cards fit into a limited reel as an Izzit, which can be made active as a Dazzit.
Encounters work similarly to the Hearthstone system of resources and numbers. The player starts with three resource units and gradually earns more per turn. Izzits cost between 0 and 6 to flip into a Dazzit, though only special actions create 0-cost attacks. Ideas are further split up in different colors that represent attack, defense or one-time spells, signified by red, yellow and blue, respectively. Red and yellow Ideas have a defense and attack number, similar to other card games. If that defense goes down to nothing, the card is broken. Yellow Dazzits can be used repeatedly, but red ones can only be used once per turn.
To win an encounter, the player has to reduce the opponent's heart pool from three to zero. Monsters will additionally have a number of Guts as a shield, before their hearts can take damage. To perform an attack, the opponent must have all their Ideas broken, which is called All Break. If a player has a red Dazzit available, they'll either subtract its attack from the number of Guts or break one heart. If an attack isn't available, the turn ends as a Chance Turn instead, which yields points that can be used to switch or revive Ideas.
Large monster encounters take place around the entirety of a location. After each turn, the player must roll a die and move up to four spots to a new position. A position can trigger new events, such as powering up a monster or providing support from a side character. Some locations also offer special attacks, if the player has the right Dazzit in their current reel. These support attacks are usually one-time use.
Little Town Hero provides either an Easy or a Hard difficulty option, where Easy makes opponents less potent, as well as reducing the amount of Guts that regenerate over time. Some encounters are set with specific parameters that play out like a puzzle, where only one solution is correct.
- Axe: Canonically, the protagonist of the story is called Axe, but players can set a custom name. The boy has wild red hair and is a miner in the town.
- Matock: The green-haired rival of the protagonist, who frequently tries to fight.
- Trulla: Matock's green-haired little sister.
- Nelz: A blonde, bushy-haired friend of the group, who works as a blacksmith apprentice. They have glasses that wrap around their ears.
- Natz: A colleague and love interest to Nelz, who also happens to look like the genderbent version of them, glasses and all.
- Pasmina: A girl with long, mint-colored hair, who works on the Farm and serves as a love interest to the protagonist.
- Granny Yarne: Pasmina's sassy grandmother.
- Angard: A gray-haired guard and mentor to the protagonist.
- Ember: The protagonist's mother, prone to a fiery temper.
- Cole: The protagonist's father, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances around the time of their birth.
- Witt: A mysterious, goth-styled girl from the Castle.
There are a few more minor characters, such as the people in the town and the game's antagonists, which are revealed through the story progression.