Not a Hero – Review
All hail the BunnyLord and his quest to be the mayor! Forget all other potential world leaders like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Teresa May and Kin Jong Un for they are all pretenders. Although worse than any Brexit back-pedaller, I will deny all knowledge. I’ll claim that I was used for political reasons when all the bullet cases finish hitting the floor and the corridors are filled with bloody corpses. Now before you think I have gone utterly mad I’m here to tell you about an awesome little side scrolling shooter entitled “Not A Hero”. Yep, another one of those pickups during a sale that I grabbed for £1.99, but it’s available at £9.99 RRP from Steam and HumbleBundle.
You play the part of one of the “political representatives” working for the omnipotent BunnyLord a purple rabbit who will stop at nothing on his quest for world domination. You may have twigged by now that there is a hint of sarcasm in there when I say “political representative”. Your starting character is “Steve” a proper Londoner with a dodgy accent to boot who uses his power of persuasion in the form of a hail of bullets from his pistol to ensure that the campaign goes well. As the game unfolds it gives you new characters to play with who all have different negative and positive attributes to go with them. The aim, of course, is to use your “representatives” in the right way to get the BunnyLord into office.
Visuals & Controls
If you break it down to the bare bones the game is a classic side scrolling shooter but it has a lot of character which really makes it thoroughly enjoyable. As you make your way through the amusingly titled “Shootorial”, you learn that you’re limited to a straight left and right run with the same button for slide and hide, reload on another with a third button being assigned to your ‘special’ weapon (grenades or some other thrown weapon). This is one of those games that would really benefit from playing with a game controller; Yes it’s very doable on a keyboard, but for me the minute I picked up a controller to play the game I not only got better, but it just felt right. It’s certainly one of those games you could aim for perfection at if you are so inclined.
Visually the game uses an 8-bit style that does not shy away from violence and blood. The backgrounds are basic but coloured in a way that makes the characters really stand out and gives the game a fun look despite the darkness that’s going on. I think that the animation really helps to make the game feel as good as it does. Explosions are vibrantly full of colour and there is a genuine delight to running out of bullets and sliding into an enemy and beating them into submission with the butt of your gun. If this was on an old 8-bit system it would be highlighted to be one of the greatest games ever and I think it’s down to you as a consumer to decide if it’s good. When you strip back the graphics purely go by its gameplay, there is an inherent risk that it might not stand out, however the developers have pulled it off, I feel.
I certainly think that the level design adds a great deal to how this game works, for they are certainly designed with the characters you play with in mind, making any level completable with any character. The characters themselves are well thought out and open up at a reasonable rate, with each character having both positive and negative points but all have the ability to regain lost health by not getting shot for a bit which is very welcome when you’re being assaulted by a hail of bullets. Within the first few levels along with Steve, you’ll meet Cletus the hillbilly dressing Scotsman and Samantha the Welsh lass from the valleys, all of which have some very salty language so the game is obviously not aimed at a younger audience.
There are about 20 levels, each one beginning with a little exposition piece telling you of your mission and ending in a café talking about the success, it adds a little story to the whole game albeit it gets a tad silly as a story goes. Each level contains three challenges and the difficulty of each level is noticeably harder, so there is a fair bit of gameplay available. Once you have perfected each level I would see no real reason to go back to the game which is a little sad. I hope the developers address this by a level editor or even just some DLC. There is a nice little semi-hidden feature n the menu which when you discover it is rather amusing to play with. The character selection screen features a playable xylophone as you sit and choose which one of the political representatives you want a note plays as you change them. For those who are musically minded, you will find that the note is in key with the tune that is playing in the background and given a little bit of timing you can happily accompany the theme tune. The music within the game is chiptune styled and for those fond of that sort of thing, the soundtrack is available separately and is really a rather good listen, or you can grab it as DLC!
Playing the game as I have already said felt fluid, which I think is a really hard thing to do and for that, I give the developers a lot of credit. In the end, we need to ask “is it worth the full price of £9.99?” Well, to be honest, that price for the game feels a little high, £7.99 would be fine but I would be expecting more levels for that extra £2. Okay, I am quibbling over a mere £2 and really the amount of time and effort put into this game should be worth £9.99 so maybe my argument of £7.99 is worthless.
It’s certainly a good game, if you can afford the £10 then do so. You will find the game fun and engaging for a while, although once you are done then you’re done. With little replayability, beyond the potential for DLC, be prepared to just be done with this when you’ve finished the game. However, it is a lot of fun to watch other people play and learn the great mechanics. Do you agree with my views on this title? Do you think Not A Hero is a great game, or do you think the lack of replayability wanes your interest somewhat? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.