Hero Must Die Again (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Eric Ace 15.07.2020

Review for Hero Must Die Again on Nintendo Switch

Originally a mobile phone game made years ago, then simply called Hero Must Die, this title featured a unique take on the genre, where the hero starts at max level and gradually loses stats. He is given a short set of days in which to accomplish as many quests as he can before he succumbs and dies. Minor aspects of each run continue into the next playthrough, as the player attempts to find a way to have the hero not actually die tragically for the land he gave so much for.

At first glance Hero Must Die. Again. looks like any other JRPG that has come out since pretty much ever. Spiky hair protagonist? Check. Girls you can fantasize about having a harem with? Check. Turn-based combat? Check. Stereotypes like the token street-smart loli, the busty yet innocent nun, the tsundere best friend, and the spunky scientist girl? Check, check, and check. The fact you start maxed-out level, maxed-out gear, and maxed-out money, and you eventually lose it all as the game progresses? Check… uh, wait…what?

Hero Must Die. Again. presents a unique premise where it opens up at the final battle with the demon lord. The hero goes in alone and proceeds to stomp the boss using his ultimate spell. Things go south, though, when the strain ends up killing the hero. Due to his deeds, God decides to give the hero a few more days of life to take care of his last minute issues. The game begins proper with the stated status of completely maxed-out everything. This includes money, so it is interesting playing an RPG where the player can buy anything at any time.

Screenshot for Hero Must Die Again on Nintendo Switch

From here players can do whatever they want, and the game even encourages this for the first play-through. Time goes very fast, however, as any movement between the three major cities, or five or so dungeons, uses upwards of 10 in-game hours, meaning the total time goes by very quickly. The root of it all involves a series of problems various characters (all future members of the player's harem) have and the hero must solve. Unless you are very good at plotting perfect play-throughs it's tough to do it all, but that is ok, and is part of the point.

This is designed largely to be enjoyed on a more casual level, and it can practically be seen that the developers were hoping for play-throughs to be enjoyed focusing on one or two girls at a time, eventually wooing that special lady to be "the one" - at least for this loop before time resets. As an aside, it is really a harem if you are monogamous yet have been with every single girl in one time reset or another? The game has an oddly serious tone when romancing a girl, and she confides that although you are going to die, your prodigy can live on through her - it was a type of moment that helps this feel serious for the tone of what is happening.

Screenshot for Hero Must Die Again on Nintendo Switch

As quests are done, these characters join the hero, which is vital as his strength is decreasing quickly. Even moving between towns easily drops the hero's stats 10-20 points at a time. In dungeons, especially early, the hero can solo the enemies, but later on he can barely do much and relies on his party. It is a fun inversion of the typical RPG formula. On late game, the hero is often the weakest member of the party, and not good for much except taking some hits.

One of the major issues of the game is that exploration and battles are lacklustre. Exploration generally involves about five to 10 screens in a dungeon, of which the player runs left/right and occasionally climbs a ladder. There is very little to comment here other than it is not that good. Battles likewise are more of an annoyance than anything (largely the best strategy is to simply buy items that let you avoid battle and spam those over and over), as they are typical turn-based affairs, with not much to them.

Screenshot for Hero Must Die Again on Nintendo Switch

This gets to a weird part where a run will last around two-four hours, and even the first run will let the player see most of what there is to offer, yet the player must keep going. The subsequent runs involve slightly different stories and taking on deeper quests for the girls. This is where more of the story is revealed, and is a strength of the game plot-wise, but weighed down by nothing changing in the battle system or exploration. It becomes a big drag when wanting to continue.

As a result there becomes this dual nature where the player wants to keep playing to see the story and get the true ending, but there are only so many times running the same boring dungeon or battle can be at all stimulating. This is one of the major knocks against this. It is a type of game that had a novel idea and ran with it even if it's rough around the edges. It has its flaws, and clearly could have used a lot more depth, and is ripe for a Hero Must Die a Second Time sequel, as there is a lot more to where the idea came from. As it is, JRPG players looking for something unique will find this a gem in a field where it is tough to be innovative.

Screenshot for Hero Must Die Again on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It would be remiss to not point out some severe flaws, notably how boring the actual combat is, or the lacklustre exploration. Despite this heavy criticism, there is something definitely charming about the whole experience. The de-levelling novelty is notable, if nothing else, and there is a feeling of being pulled into the game that many modern JRPGs sort of lack nowadays. This is the type of game that shows heart and passion can trump huge budgets.

Developer

G-mode

Publisher

Nippon Ichi

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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