The Hero

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The Hero is a game from , originally released 31st December, 1969

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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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The Hero Review

Thanks to the sage words of Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, we all learned that with great power comes great responsibility. To the muscle-bound superhero who takes center stage in The Hero, that responsibility makes him one busy guy. The cities he visits are some of the most crime-ridden, insect-infested war zones in the universe, and he is tasked not only with saving innocent people, putting out fires, and thwarting persistent armies, but also with running a public relations campaign based on high-fiving every fan he flies by. Even for a superhero, that’s a lot of work.

The basic gameplay of The Hero is as simple as could be. You control him as he swoops around cityscapes of various sizes, doing good deeds, while avoiding running into civilian automobiles. The action is presented from a 2D side-scrolling perspective, with cartoony graphics and excellent audio that combine to form a very polished exterior.

Blades schmades.

You can control the hero either with a D-pad or using tilt, but we found the D-pad to offer the most precision. When danger appears in the gameworld, arrows pop up around your character, indicating where to go to stop it. In every case, you fly over to whatever is disturbing the peace and ram into it to eliminate the threat. The hero is smoothly animated and moves around about as easily as the planes in MiniSquadron, although fine-tuning his turns can be a little tricky. Because he can’t do a quick 180, it’s easy to miss a few times when you’re trying to ram a nearby object.

The developers do a fairly good job of keeping such a simple concept fresh throughout the 15 levels of the campaign mode. New bad guys appear in every level, occasional time challenges kick in, and powerups are presented to help you in your quest. However, there’s only so much the developers can do to mix up the gameplay when the gist of it is flying around and touching things in the environment. After a while, everything starts to feel a little too familiar. The survival mode, which is high score-based, doesn’t do much to detract from that feeling.

Storks don’t get paid enough for front door delivery.

For a modestly-priced game, we can’t complain too much. Any repetitiveness is made up for by the game’s overall charm. The story is told through funny dialogue spoken by a lazy, donut-munching cop who can’t be bothered to go out and fight crime himself. His busty assistant chimes in before you start each level to inform you of new abilities or enemies that will be present. And high-fiving people hanging out of windows is a fun way to get from point A to point B.

The Hero probably won’t keep you coming back day after day, but the price feels fair. Chances are, you won’t be disappointed if you choose to wield the great power that is The Hero. The question is, as Uncle Ben says, can you handle the responsibility?