Half-Minute Hero began life essentially as freeware known as 30-Second Hero originally developed by UUE. A unique take on the Japanese Role Playing Game (JRPG) formula, players had 30 seconds to beat an evil wizard and save the world from certain destruction. In 2009, the game would be adopted by Marvelous Entertainment where they would make the move from a standalone 1 MB game and add 5 other different modes. The newly christened Half-Minute Hero would be released as an exclusive to Sony’s PSP where it would go on to win several awards from RPG focused sites. Now, two years later, Marvelous Entertainment brings Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax to the Xbox Live Arcade, with a fresh coat of paint, and 62 new levels. The game play is essentially the same as it was on PSP, so fans should be right at home with this version. Let’s see if this version stacks up to its new sub-title; is it really a Super Mega Neo Climax?
Interestingly, the game is broken up into six modes. Each mode is a different take on game play, but retains the thirty second theme throughout. In order to access the modes, you must defeat them in order. Beating the first unlocks the second, and so on. This way of breaking up the game is a great way to keep things fresh, and attempting to turn the game play on its ear was a smart move. Each mode continues the main story except Hero 300 and Hero 3 which are more competitive game modes.
The first mode is called Hero 30. Here, you must beat a boss (called an Evil Lord) within thirty seconds, or witness the destruction of the world. Luckily, you acquire a caravan comprised of willing followers who wish to aid you in your thirty-level campaign. The Time Goddess shows you past dialog, The Professor tells you useful facts like what to buy in shops or what type of rare item might be hidden ahead, Aisha will only tell you how much that she is enjoying the trip or that she is bored, and Naryan informs you of what type of friend or foe is ahead.
In the second mode, called Evil Lord Mode, you play as an Evil Lord that has thirty seconds to purify the land of evil statues. Each castle and village contains a statue that must be destroyed. Once areas are purified, they can be revisited. Time Goddess statues and town people will then inhabit the beaten towns and castles.
Princess 30, the third mode, is more in line with a shooter, if this game were to have any shooting aspects. You control the Princess’ crosshairs. You have guards that accompany you, and your move speed is based off of how many guards are still standing. You have thirty seconds to venture out into the world to find items for your ailing father. Luckily, the Time Goddess has offered Red Carpets that will wind back time. Unfortunately, these cost money (no big surprise).
In the last original mode, Knight 30 has you controlling a knight that is trying to protect a mage. The mage needs thirty seconds to bring about a spell that will doom the world; unfortunately enemies try to get in your way. You must protect the mage and at some points pick him up and move him. This will reset the countdown as the mage cannot continue the spell.
In Hero 300 mode, you are playing what is essentially Hero 30, but with three hundred seconds to defeat the Evil Lord and no access to the Time Goddess. The last mode, Hero 3, is also a play on the Hero 30 model except it gives the player three seconds to beat the Evil Lord and you have the Time Goddess to reset time accordingly.
The graphics leave much to be desired. I understand that Marvelous Entertainment was going for an old-school vibe with the updated look, but they failed to really capture the retro flair of the games this one so blatantly tries to replicate. The game even offers a retro graphics option. When enabled, the game is teleported back to its original 8 bit PSP look. Unfortunately, blocky PSP graphics do not look good on most HD televisions and render the game almost unplayable.
The soundtrack is generic at best. The main menu theme was interesting, but once I got rolling with the campaign the music puttered out. All it leaves you with is a couple of hooky jingles in an otherwise uninteresting body of work.
Enemies crawl all over the world map, except unlike most games, Half-Minute Hero doesn’t believe that you should see or know where any of them are. They are completely invisible; which is an odd design choice. Once in an encounter with an enemy your character will run forward swinging his sword wildly and the only choice you have is to flee by hitting the bumpers on the controller. The lack of control was discouraging and it felt like I was watching the game, not playing it. If you make a game that is based on time, why punish your players with invisible enemies that they cannot tactically fight and eats up time? Your character model can also get stuck on tree or rock graphics in the world map. Unfortunately, when you are only allotted thirty seconds, hiccups like this cause for infuriating mission restarts.
The writing for the game lacked any real substance. It felt like the game is being catered to a younger demographic; which is fine as long as that demographic has the patience for a title like this. The characters are absolutely forgettable and you never really get invested in the plot.
Half-Minute Hero’s online component is called Super Hero Wars. It has Ranked matches and Player matches. Unfortunately, I was unable to try out this function as I could not find a match.
I can understand why a handheld would be a decent platform for a game like this. In short bursts of time, the Half-Minute Hero formula works better. As a general rule, people play longer on consoles and this is where the game really shows its weaknesses. It was quite the shame that Marvelous chose to have so many repetitive missions, given the different modes. Even when they chose to try and change them up, they only made them more frustrating than needed. I felt this really detracted from the experience Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax was aiming for, followed by the repeat of the credits after each mission, and the stingy achievements. This is enough to deter me from recommending this to anyone that wants to purchase a stand-up RPG on XBLA. The game is going to cost 800 Microsoft Points (10 bucks), but I’m going to have to recommend you save your money for a better outing elsewhere.
|Offers a lot of different ways to play||Repetitive Missions,|
Lack of combat controls,