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Minon: Everyday Hero (Wii) Review

Review for Minon: Everyday Hero on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

You'd be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at the mention of this game. It isn't part of an established series, nor is it from a well-known developer. It hasn't been released to immediate fanfare, or massive sales. It hasn't even got a substantial Wikipedia page. What it does have, though, is pure Japanese insanity solidified into an optical disc. "How much so?" you may ask. Read on to find out.

Minon: Everyday Hero follows the adventures of Minon, a yellow-costumed superhero with a Cyclops-like visor, an antenna on his head, and a spring (or two) in his step. Doing what any good superhero would, Minon dashes to the rescue whenever needed, be it to retrieve a snagged balloon, help a rocket achieve lift-off by pushing a large iron ball onto a seesaw, answer a telephone, or even to assist an executive with a golf putt. He manages this by running atop a trail of objects positioned like dominoes, and hitching rides from moles, space Shuttles, and trampolines, to get to where he needs to go. Add in Hoover-shaped aliens, snarky zoo animals, and depressed concert fans, and you have all the ingredients only Japan could cook with.

The building blocks of Minon's world are just that; building blocks. The style you see in both cutscene and gameplay is akin to 'chibi' origami and paper, full of cube-headed characters and creatures, and there's a colourful, expression-filled environment for them to inhabit. Although this unique and delightful style is a welcome change from the nitty gritty darkness of most other titles, and it maintains a steady frame-rate at all times, it never excels for its host, and would look right at home on any piece of hardware past the N64.

Red Entertainment, the developer of Everyday Hero, has kept it relatively bare-bones. You have the regular story mode (consisting of eight levels, referred to here as 'steps' ), versus mode, a gallery, and the manual mode. These last two are where the unlockables from the main game end up; a regular occurrence in games with the former, but you wouldn't expect it from the other.

Manual mode is a lazy-man's tutorial mode, and should undoubtedly be the first stop for anyone trying out Minon. Most tutorials offer playable explanations of how the game works, and help for when a player makes a mistake. Here all you have are static screens with writing and, whilst the description is easy enough to understand, a game as abstract as this one would really have benefited from a proper tutorial - something that should be standard anyway. Strangely enough, not everything is explained in manual mode straight away; within each 'step' is a number of '?' icons that unlock additional details for creatures, features and techniques in the game. A good choice for collecting enthusiasts and those wishing to be surprised by each level's individual features - a bad one for those wishing to prepare ahead. Aside from the '?' icons, there are also '!' discs, otherwise known as 'memories', that are viewable in the gallery after collection, and offer more insight into the characters of the game.

Screenshot for Minon: Everyday Hero on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Minon: Everyday Hero uses only the remote for control, and the layout for actions is relatively simple. The pointer is utilized for aiming the path you want Minon to conjure and follow, and it does this excellently. Motion, or waggle as it would be more accurately be put here, is used to build up energy, or 'Minonade', to build paths with and to speed up, B is to build the path ahead, and A brings your character to a stop, forcing players to tilt the controller to and fro to regain balance. At times the motion and pointer functions impede each other, especially when the player tries to build up energy on a straight path while a new section needs to be built quickly, but with practice it all becomes seamless and, most importantly, a lot of fun. You've never played anything like this before, and it will bring about a huge smile on your face when you get the hang of dashing about toppling buildings and people.

Although the design of the worlds makes immediate navigation a cakewalk, on a larger scale it can frustrate. The direction of the target is always noted on-screen via a handy radar, but it is never clear what path you need to take to get there. The map, brought up by a press of the numbered buttons, is of little help in this matter, only giving a vague outline of the shape of the level and where you are. As such, getting lost for minutes at a time can be a regular happening and something the impatient will get frustrated with. Once back on the right path all is forgiven, but not easily. When wandering around like this, chances are you'll run into one of the '!' memory discs, so completionists will appreciate the detours at least.

From the second you hear the disc menu music for Everyday Hero you'll be treated to some truly sublime Japanese music throughout the game, many of them licensed J-pop tracks. Character voices, particularly those in the cut scenes, have been recast in British dialects which, in tandem with the rest of the game, makes for a very humorous combination. Minon himself never speaks, only giving the thumbs-up, and OK signs for communication.

Sadly, there's not a huge amount of content in the game. All eight of the main scenarios average out at about ten minutes each, and although navigating them can be a pain, they are relatively easy to complete. The collectables in each level should take a little while longer to obtain, especially without a useful guide, but no longer than a couple of hours. The splitscreen points competition that makes up the two player versus mode ultimately feels tacked on, despite the Mario Kart-esque feel it exhibits with field items, and overall there is little left after story completion. Regardless of all this, Minon: Everyday Hero is excellent fun, and at its budget price worth a try. Shovelware, this isn't.

Screenshot for Minon: Everyday Hero on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Plays like nothing else, and makes great use of the Wii remote. Field navigation and tutorial confusion hinders progress, but perseverance will unearth the rewards waiting within.

Graphics

A cute and clean origami/block interface. There are no eye-popping moments, but it has a consistent and clear style reminiscent of EA's Boom Blox despite being easily possible on lesser hardware.

Sound

Enjoyable and catchy Japanese tunes, coupled with good-quality British tones and minor but non-obtrusive sound effects.

Value

Versus mode stretches out the hours, and collectables add extra time, but the core of the game is relatively short; a hindrance the budget tag knocks down like a chain of dominoes.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Unlike the mini-game collections and sports titles littering Wii shelves, Minon: Everyday Hero joins the ranks of the likes of Dewy's Adventure, Klonoa, and Disaster: Day of Crisis as something unique and unprecedented. There are notable ailments, but it's well worth a go if you can find it - it's one domino tower you'll want to keep upright for as long as you can.

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11.06.2009

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Also known as

Domino Rally

Developer

Red

Publisher

Nordcurrent

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (2 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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Staff Member

Putting it quite simply, this game would have been absolutely perfect for a Wiiware release. A broader audience and stronger supply would've done wonders for Minon.

£15 on Play if you guys are interested in giving it a go. Smilie


Hmm, I'm quite intrigued but I can't order it anywhere here. How old is this game?

I think it's only been out a few weeks.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Bart.... said:
Hmm, I'm quite intrigued but I can't order it anywhere here. How old is this game?

Click on the C3 shop icons for Play or Amazon UK and you'll be automatically directed to it there.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I'd rather order from a Dutch shop, but if it really is impossible I might try that. Thanks.

Staff Member


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