Game Review #068: I Am The Hero (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Chad M.
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Category: Arcade, Fighting, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 11.30.2018
Download I Am The Hero from the Nintendo eShop here.
I’ll Be Your Hero... Again
It feels like the doors have been officially blown off the Switch’s eShop; at least this week alone I’ve played 3 beat ‘em ups! Luckily, with each one, the developers have pushed to make their game stand on its own, and stand out as well. The game we are looking at today separates itself the most in the way it looks, it’s characters, and a fighting style that really helped it stand out. The developers, Crazyant, bring us I Am The Hero, which feels like it is ripped right out of a manga or anime, especially the wild and crazy characters and hyper stylized fighting. So in an ever growing market with so many great, and even must-play games, does I Am The Hero do enough to be great? Let’s dive in and find out.
Not All Heroes Are Created Equal
I Am The Hero starts off with flashbacks of the nameless protagonist. He is shown standing over a decapitated dragon that he has slain, then on to him dispatching and killing a pack of samurai warriors, all while making a smart remark. He is then shown taking out a terror cell and saving the planet—and it seems to be all in day’s work. Like I said, this has Southeast Asia and anime influences all over the story line. Also, I have to mention that the whole time the flashbacks are playing, there are subtitles of our protagonist narrating what’s shown. They’re hilariously bad, as if they were written in another language, and then put into a bad language translator where everything comes out in very broken English. This may not have been intended, but is pretty funny overall either way.
So, after the buildup, the hero notices something suspicious going down around the hospital, and decides to go poking around. What ensues is battles with goon after goon, who are introduced in old-school beat ‘em up boss format each time, which was really nostalgic and fun. Most just become normal henchmen, but they just keep adding till the end.
Gameplay & Fun Factor
The gameplay is one aspect that jumps out as a not-your-typical beat ‘em up style. The fighting is hyper quick, stylized, and relies heavily on combos. Be prepared to really hone in on your combos and putting moves together, as the goons aren’t extremely difficult, but you do have to work your combos and moves if you intend on beating the game. You can power punch a goon and have him bouncing all over and then start up the combo, and you can also knock a baddie in the air, and keep beating them up midair, as long as you know how to work the combos. I was able to beat it in one play through that took about four hours, but not without a very unfortunate bug that almost made it impossible.
As you play through, you unlock moves or characters that you can play. When you unlock a character, you can choose to switch between that character, or the main hero. This also plays like an extra life, because when you die, you are switched to the unlocked character, but if you die with that character as well, then it is game over. Luckily for you, the continue allows you to jump back to the same stage that took you out and try again.
The controls are very tight, for the most part, and it reminded me of a beat ‘em up mixed with a fighter, like Street Fighter II or King of Fighters, where you have to be on your toes with the combos and how they land, or you will get beat up. One thing that was extremely disappointing was, when I hit level 4-2, I started noticing some slowdown that was affecting the gameplay. By the time I hit level 5-3, these masked goons with knives would come out and unleash wind-up frogs that exploded. When this happened, the game started dragging so badly that I couldn’t even see my character, and I just kept being attacked, over and over, until I died. This was so upsetting that I stopped and restarted my Switch, hoping this was a one-time thing.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t, and the game just kept bugging out, and the frame rate just slammed to a screeching halt. This kept killing the gameplay, to the point where I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish. I was able to get past the two worst parts, to finally get to the end, but it was such a pain to do so, and it made it to where I didn’t want to try it on the harder setting. This was where the fun halted for me, and I was very disappointed, as up until this point, the game was a blast. The characters were either very cool looking, or hilarious, and I wanted to love this game. Even the couch co-op ran great, until the later levels, and really added to the fun.
Audio & Visuals
The soundtrack was all over the place, but in a good way. It kept switching up with who you were fighting. It was always high-paced to keep the adrenaline pumping, and the combos rolling in. The pixel art is very nostalgic, but they really popped off in anime style characters that are so very over the top—especially the dialogue—and are all very flashy and colorful. Even though the game is 2-D, the screen is tiled and gives a 2.5-D experience that feels quite unique, and made it look very different than any other beat ‘em ups. One of the biggest standouts, visually, was outside of the hospital. It’s rainy, and the raindrops that hit the screen are even square shaped, which was a nice touch by the developer.
During my time reviewing, I’ve done quite a few of these, and have been lucky to only have to judge the games’ merits by story, gameplay, and so on. This is a first, where there was a bug that affected the gameplay so bad, that it makes a game that I would say is a definite buy, and a fun play through with friends, to one I’d recommend you just keep an eye on, at least until a patch comes out to fix these bugs that slow the gameplay to a crawl. Normally, I’d easily find this to be rated an 8 or higher, with more diving into the layers of the game. My one play through was so much fun, up until that point, but I can’t recommend it in its current state.
On a side note, I played this game with a friend who has it on Steam, and even in the later levels, it ran smoothly. So, with a patch, I’m hoping this can be fixed.
Final Score: 6/10
Download I Am The Hero from the Nintendo eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided By Ratalaika Games