Publisher: Marvelous AQL
Release Date: September 27, 2012
ESRB: N/A (E suggested)
Are you tired of games? Their plots are always begging you to save the world, or save some person, or other related tasks. Sure, some games branch out of this basic storytelling frame, but it“s easy to see that many more fall right into it. Of course, it isn“t a bad thing to save the world, but it feels like every method of doing so has already been shown. Well, unless you“re playing Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy, where the world is in such dire straits that it will end in only 30 seconds.
How is it possible to complete a game in less than a minute? Well, upon trying out the game you“ll find it isn“t quite as it seems. Starting out the game in â€œHero 30â€, you are a simple adventurer who is tasked with saving the world from vile Evil Lords. Each area has its own Evil Lord set on casting a spell which destroys everything in 30 seconds. Because it would be truly impossible to do anything in that amount of time, the Time Goddess lends a hand. By praying at her shrines located across maps you are able to reset the clock and continue playing.
Another one of the Goddess“s powers is connected with leveling up. While most games require hours and hours of grinding, you“ve got seconds to become incredibly strong in this one. What she does is make it so that you can level up after simply one or two battles. It“s incredibly convenient, although the Goddess isn“t a pure entity. She loves money and requires you to spend it alongside praying to get time turned back. If you“re out, she“ll even help you out by giving you a â€œfreeâ€ time reset... only to spring up on you shortly after to take all your hard-earned gear as payment, leaving you to fight naked.
If you couldn't tell already, Half Minute Hero is a very goofy game; just the premise alone should reveal it as such. Every facet of the game works to be a silly adventure and makes it more enjoyable. Battles are taken care of automatically, levels go up fast, and the script helps keep you entertained in between. Although the game may seem too simple, there is more to it as you continue playing. For example, in order to fully complete a level, you“re going to have to unlock all the â€œtitlesâ€ for it as well as beat the par time for a gold medal.
Titles are given to you depending on what you do during the level and how long it takes. Breeze through a level and you“ll be given the better titles. If you instead spend a lot of time leveling up and buying items from shops, then you“ll be called a Sucky Hero. The game also keeps track of who you align with during play, what townsfolk do or don“t get helped out, and even what equipment you“ve got. These simple interactions affect what gifts you get at the end of levels as well as titles.
Levels can take anywhere from under ten seconds to minutes, depending on what you choose to do in them. Starter levels have a lot less freedom of choice, but eventually they implement more possibilities as well as secrets. Sometimes the secrets are easy to find as they gleam in the light, or townsfolk tell you what they are. However, others are left as unknowns for you to discover on your own. As you“ve always got one eye on the clock, it even gets a bit hard sometimes to find everything a level has to offer in one go.
There are multiple modes to the game as well in case you feel like 30 or so levels of this would get dull. These other modes are as long, but change up the main character. For example, there is Evil Lord 30 which sets you as the beautiful villain. Instead of battling enemies directly, you summon creatures to do your bidding. Similarly, there is a Princess 30 which has its own mechanics which mix side-scrolling with a twin-stick shooter. There are still more to unlock, but there“s no need to spoil them here.
When starting up the game, you“ll find that it looks very cartoony. This visual mode, titled NEO Cartoon Mode, was created when Half Minute Hero came to Xbox 360, and it may appeal to those who are used to playing Flash games. If you“d prefer something else though, then I recommend opting to change visuals from the main menu. This turns the game back to the PSP original“s pixelated visuals and they better evoke the feel of the game. One plus of Retro Mode is that it comes with Evil Lord 30 and Princess 30 unlocked from the beginning, while modern visual mode doesn“t.
There is even an included multiplayer mode, but at the time, it isn“t very good at pairing you with friends (or anyone for that matter). This is a shame, but the mode is basically like a larger world from single player, where everyone is trying to stop the Evil Lord first. Instead of letting you easily add friends to a game, it instead throws you into a lobby with little explanation or way to secure friends in a slot. Another small issue with the game is how, even when a 360 controller is plugged in, it continues to display PC-specific buttons on screen. You acclimate to them eventually, but seeing as how this version of the game was available on 360, it shouldn“t be hard to add those simple controller buttons in.
Half Minute Hero is an incredibly simple game, but that“s part of what makes it so easy to pick up and play. The addictive, bite-sized nature is a lot of fun, as is the script“s silly wit. The multiple modes extend the length of the game as well, although most will probably prefer one gameplay style over the other. If you“re looking for a simplistic, fun way to spend chunks of your day with then be sure to give Half Minute Hero a shot.
+ Incredibly easy to understand and fun to play
+ Variety of modes that each last a good deal of time
+ Fun visual style and script
- Lack of explanation for multiplayer mode
- Game is best played in short bursts, which may annoy some gamers
Overall Score: 8.5 (Out of 10)
Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy lives up to it's own weird name and is a great title to pick up and play a little at a time.