The Hero Hands-On Preview

According to the Apple naysayers, the App Store is so full of crap that good games have no shot at being successful. Fortunately, there are studios like Finland-based Traplight Games that don’t subscribe to that pessimistic point of view.

Traplight’s founder Riku Rakkola told us, ‘In our opinion, the field of quality games is not too crowded. If you put your heart to it, and we sure as hell have, it will stand out. Hopefully this devotion doesn’t go unnoticed.’ With some extended time with their upcoming game The Hero, it’s impossible to not notice some of the amazing things it’s doing from top to bottom.

From the outset, The Hero smacks you with a visual style that’s undoubtedly original. With a visual style reminiscent of retro 70’s cartoon, the aesthetic is interesting and refreshing at the same time. You play the role of a superhero that looks like a big juicehead, but he’s nimble and quick just like you’d expect.

Throughout the game’s 15 levels, you’ll be flying around a 2D city backdrop fighting baddies and saving civilians. From our preview build, we noticed that each level showcased some new type of objective or enemy, which kept things varied.

Rakkola elaborated on enemy variety and AI, saying, ‘We have more than twenty enemy units, who all work differently. It’s not only different ammo and weapons but there is different behavior so you really have to be tactical.’ While most foes are taken down by flying into them, we definitely noticed the strategic difference between taking down ninjas and busting up tanks. In later stages, special attacks are unlocked to assist in fighting off large swarms of enemies.

What makes The Hero such a promising game is the feel of the flying controls. With its finely-tuned virtual joystick and forgiving physics engine, The Hero seems to nail the sensation of flying. One particular touch that elevates the controls is the selectable option to play the game at a butter-smooth 60 FPS. Assuming you have a 3GS or 2nd Gen iPod Touch, the improved frame rate is something to really take advantage of.

Even though The Hero hasn’t hit the proverbial shelf yet, the developers are eager to bring more content to the title. On the prospect of title updates and downloadable content, Rakkola said, ‘this depends VERY much on how it is received. If we gather buzz and fans, we have plenty of ideas. Too much even, we don’t know where to start.’

Considering our short time with The Hero, we believe that there are more innovative ideas to come. With the final game poised to launch soon, make sure you stay glued to our review coverage of this promising superhero epic.

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