88 heroes have 88 minutes to get through 88 levels to defeat Dr H8 and save the world. The only problem… some of the heroes are a bit on the rubbish side.
Rising Star Games present a chaotic retro 2D side scroller reminiscent of Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner from the 8-bit era of gaming. With each hero randomly generated, there’s a wide roster of possible characters with increasingly odd, occasionally surreal abilities that may help, or not, your progress.
Each objective seems simple at first – get from one part of the level to the other, defeating the bad guys, overcoming obstacles and leaving through the door. What makes this frantic is that one slip will see you killed and a new hero generated – and this is where the greatness happens.
There are enemies with ranged attacks – bullets, rockets and the like – which will help you defeat the roaming bad guys at a distance; whilst others have melee attacks, perfect for those edge of the seat moments as, get too close to the thing you want to hit, and you’re dead. Others don’t have an attack at all, so the jump button will be frantically mashed as you dart around, hoping to get away.
As you move through the rooms, it gets progressively more complex and never loses the “one more try” feel, even as you watch your 88 heroes perish before your eyes. It’s almost like having your own disposable society and you’ll regret losing the last one when he’s replaced by the next more often than you’d think!
You’re not likely to beat the game with all your roster intact, though it’s plenty of fun trying. Moreso when you take into account the Magnificent 8 mode. This allows you to choose from your eight favourites and the Solo mode (allowing you to choose your favourite hero) also adds longevity to the game and will keep you coming back to try different combinations.
If there’s a shortcoming in the game, it’ll be that, for some players, it’ll be frustrating. Dying because of a mistimed jump, dash or just plain bad luck is fun at first, but may stop the more casual player from continuing. That being said, it regularly saves so you’re never going to be back in Room 1, unless you start all over again.
Handsomely crafted and instantly recognisable pop culture pastiches and a relatively simplistic, but deviously complex level layout are the hallmarks of this game. For those who have played Bro Force, it’ll be easy to get into, whilst anyone familiar with side-scrollers will also have no problem adapting to the game play. There’s even a feeling that it’d be a great party game, passing the controller around at each death and mocking your friends as they die before your very eyes (in the game, of course).
With promises of more characters and the extended game options, there’s plenty of potential in 88 Heroes to be a go-to game when you just want a quick blast on something to sate that gaming appetite.
Thanks to Rising Star Games and Xbox for supporting TiX