By Eric Pankoke on Wed, 08/18/2010
The first time I played The Hero I didn’t quite get it. The character seemed like a cheap knock-off of Mr. Incredible, and I wasn’t overly impressed by the fact that you could fly around and bash things. I mean let’s face it, those are pretty base level when it comes to superhero powers. I quit after the first level, and didn’t look back for a long time. Now that the first major update is out I’ve picked up the title again, and it’s actually quite fun. I don’t know how much is new and how much was already there, but I like what I see. It turns out there’s room for this Hero on my device after all.
You play the role of Mr. Hero, and it’s your job to help the police chief and Rose, the obviously crushing secretary, eradicate the criminal elements of several towns. You do this primarily by swooping down into each town and then flying around, knocking into things until they are destroyed. You get a turbo boost that will help you demolish bigger foes or get you across town more quickly, but this depletes when used and must be recharged (in easy mode it seems to recharge rather quickly). You also have access to a couple of different super powers which you’ll earn by saving certain towns. To use the super powers you must fill their energy gauge by giving the townsfolk that are peeking out the building windows a high five. Anyone remember the famous climbing scenes from the 60s Batman show?
Giving high fives, along with destroying bad guys and saving falling babies, will earn you fame. Fame is important, because in this game it’s your life force. If your fame is completely emptied then it’s game over and you must start the level over again. That’s not so much fun when you’re 94% done with a level. Your fame depletes over time, and it also gets drained if you let villains go too long or ignore the good folks who want nothing more than to touch your hand. The last thing that can suck away your fame is accidentally destroying cars innocently passing by on the streets below. Apparently the townsfolk don’t care too much for that, though one wonders why these people are driving around in the middle of a war zone anyway. I’m also not too sure about this whole baby thing, because they have parachutes, which is awful suspicious considering they supposedly just “fall” out of the windows. Me thinks there’s a Michael Jackson wanna-be roaming these buildings.
That pretty much sums up campaign mode. There’s also survival mode where you get to pick one of four cities to protect, once they have been unlocked through playing campaign mode. The mechanics are pretty much the same as campaign mode, but there’s no set mission. The evil mastermind just throws everything he can at you, and you have to destroy it all and keep your fame up for as long as you can. There are also 3 different mini-games you can play. Asteroids sees you protecting a town from a storm of asteroids for as long as you can. Bomb Run requires you to deactivate bombs in a timely manner. You get 15 seconds per bomb, though any unused time can be applied to the next bomb. Trouble is, all the while you have these pesky mines knocking you off course. And yes, you still have to keep your fame up. Then there’s high-fiver, where the ultimate goal is to get as many high fives as you can.
I love the variety of bad guys in this game. It starts off simple with common street thugs, random fires that need to be put out, and babies falling out of windows (see my earlier comment). As you progress through the levels, however, you’ll have to take on all manner of evildoers. Zombies will wreak havoc on the streets and rooftops, while asteroids and rockets will rain down on the city from above. Various land and air based craft with big weapons will try to take you out of the sky, while stealthy ninjas will scale the buildings to get a closer shot at you with their throwing stars. This is a sci-fi / fantasy smorgasbord that would be hard to beat for this type of game.
The graphics are really neat in this game. The visual style is definitely cartoon-like in nature, and even though a lot of the objects seem kind of small there are plenty of details. There might be clothes hanging over a balcony or wires stretched between two buildings. When you destroy a vehicle it explodes, spewing debris everywhere. There’s even confetti at the end when you successfully complete a mission. Everything is well animated, including the people hanging out of the windows waiting for their high fives. The portraits of people that speak throughout the game are also well done, and almost make you long for some comic book style cut scenes.
The sound effects in hero are actually pretty good. Whether it’s the hum of a UFO’s laser, the comments or whistles of adoring fans, or the moans and groans of rampant zombies, it sounds like you’re in the midst of some cool sci-fi serial. It would just be nice if there were some voices to the main characters. I’d love to hear what the chief or Rose sounds like, or even the main villain. The music is all very nicely done, and there seems to be several themes throughout the game, which definitely keeps it from getting monotonous.
I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit concerned when I initially played The Hero. After spending a considerable amount of time with the game now, however, my concerns have been quashed. The game is fun, it’s challenging, and while you can go about it simply by brute force smashing everything, you’ll often run out of fame before you can complete a level. In other words, you actually have to be somewhat strategic about how you play in later levels. The graphics are great and the sound and music really bring the world to life. I just hope this isn’t the end of The Hero’s universe for us. Maybe part two could give us a choice of two different heroes to play?
Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link