I Am The Hero (PlayStation 4) Review

By Justin Prinsloo 05.01.2019

Review for I Am The Hero on PlayStation 4

8-bit games have made something of a resurgence recently, due in part to indie developers making the cheapest games possible, and also because of a swell in retro-nostalgia. "Simple but fun" is undoubtedly the masthead of indie brainstorming boards across the globe, and in I am the Hero this sentiment is undoubtedly present. There's no laziness in its conception, however, and its stylish presentation and sleek design hint at the care with which this title was crafted. Originally developed by Chinese studio Crazyant for the PC, and recently ported to the PS4 by Ratalaika Games, I am the Hero is a brief, fast-paced and often absurd beat 'em up that holds very few punches.

For starters, this is only around two hours long. While AAA titles seem to get longer and longer each year, it's admirably brazen for a game to drop into the market - albeit quietly - boasting a campaign the length of a feature film. Granted, this title generated very limited buzz ahead of its release, but get hands-on with it and you may find that hard to believe.

Because it's short it's immaculately polished; the combat is quick, aggressive, and impressively deep for a 2D side-scroller, and while not as nuanced as its triple-A contemporaries, it nevertheless pays homage to Devil May Cry with its black-and-white combo tutorials/load screens. One of the only areas where this shows some cracks is in the English translation. Grammatical errors are present even in the main menus, and some of the in-game dialogue did not translate well, so Grammar Nazis might want to buckle up for this one.

In terms of gameplay, various enemy types are introduced over the course of six levels. Sometimes two or three new enemies appear per level, which keeps the combat fresh and staves off repetition. The enemy types all have unique behaviour and hitboxes, ensuring that lazy button mashing is never an option. However, there are certain boss battles which can be cheesed by spamming a move they're especially vulnerable, which is somewhat disappointing but quite forgivable given the nature of beat 'em ups, and the challenge when playing on higher difficulties compensates for this.

Screenshot for I Am The Hero on PlayStation 4

Even though the campaign is short, there are numerous reasons to come back: multiple rewards in the form of new characters and moves are available at the end of each level, but only one reward can be chosen per playthrough. The New Game Plus is also an encouragement to return, as is the option to play with a friend in couch co-op. Trophy hunters will also lick their lips at the easily attainable Platinum Trophy, which can be acquired on a single playthrough with some exploration and experimentation.

The polish of the game's core mechanics translates to some design aspects as well; the level environments are pristinely crafted and atmospheric, and really give this title a sense of place beyond its humble conception. The music is fun and energetic and is refreshed each level but even still it becomes repetitive and even annoying if you're stuck on a certain level for too long.

While the story itself appears to be quite weak throughout the game, a twist at the very end nevertheless provides some satisfaction. Without straying into spoiler territory, the brushed-over plot is forgivable and even makes sense after the big reveal.

…And anyway, it's a beat 'em up - why on earth would you play for the story?

Screenshot for I Am The Hero on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Short and sweet, I am the Hero is another example of why you don't need a big budget or a 50-hour campaign to make a good videogame. Smooth, deep combat and sharp, well-crafted levels and enemies ensure that this bite-size experience is an enjoyable one even despite its repetitive soundtrack and poor English translation.

Developer

Crazyant

Publisher

Ratalaika Games

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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