Half-Minute Hero Super Mega Neo Climax (XBLA) Review
Title: Half-Minute Hero Super Mega Neo Climax
Rated: E for Everyone
When Half-Minute Hero came out for PSP, I had a lot of fun doing the small, quick quests.
So, when I heard the game was coming out on XBLA, called Half-Minute Hero Super Mega Neo Climax, I was excited to check it out and see what changed, besides the ridiculously long name.
After playing it, I’m glad they kept the formula the same, but wish a bit more would have been done with the multiplayer.
The main mode, Hero 30, follows the Hero around as he tries to beat the evil lord in each area. However, the big twist in the gameplay comes in the form of a 30 second time limit.
Each lord is taught how to end the world in 30 seconds, so you have to find a way to level and become stronger than evil in each section to beat the lord. Thankfully, that’s where the Time Goddess comes in to help.
The Time Goddess offers two pros and a con. She can help your character hyper-level by beating enemies, along with resetting the world clock to 30 seconds. However, each time you reset the time you have to pay her money, which increases each time you use her.
The gameplay soon becomes a risk/reward factor, where you want to grind as much as possible, but have to watch the clock to rush back and reset the time. While you grind, you can also use your money to heal and buy new equipment for your character, or items to use in a specific level. These add in to the factor of what’s more important, the sword that will make it easier to kill for money, or resetting the time for smooth sailing to the boss.
Besides barren fields to level in, each stage also features a few villages and the occasional cave. The villages temporarily stop time, on normal mode, as well as offer places to buy health and equipment, plus offer the Time Goddess statues to reset time at.
Each level resets your character to level one, but lets you keep all the equipment you have earned to use. The levels often have a gimmick as well, such as stopping a fire to weaken the boss or finding a princess to quell the lord’s anger. Also, there are often companions you can recruit to help you with the lords. The companions sometimes just cost money, but most want a small side quest done to join.
After beating a level, a citizen from the world, often one you help or talked to, will present you with an item to equip before moving to the next level. You can also come back to levels to try and get a new top time, but can only use equipment gained before that mission, so you don’t create a time paradox. Also, you can’t change already owned equipment halfway through the level, you can just buy new equipment that gets automatically equipped.
While Hero 30 is the bulk of the game, with over 30 missions to go through, there are other modes you can unlock and play as well. There’s Evil Lord, Princess and Knight, but they’ve been changed from their PSP version to be similar versions of Hero 30. There are also two more Hero modes: Hero 300, where you have to beat a level in 300 seconds without resetting time, and Hero 3, where you only have three seconds to beat the lord, but the time can be reset.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed that the Evil Lord, Princess and Knight modes have been changed, as I liked the different modes in the PSP. Maybe they’ll be able to add those actual modes in the future. However, it’s not a huge loss, as there’s still plenty to do in the game.
There have also been new levels added from the PSP version. In addition to this, an option for DLC is included as well, although nothing has been announced yet. Still, the game will offer about three-five hours of play in the Hero 30 mode, with more hours coming from Hero 300 and Hero 3. In fact, Hero 3 can bring about frustration levels that were last seen in Super Meat Boy with the amount of times you’ll be failing and restarting.
Getting away from the single player, the multiplayer is a fun addition to the game. Up to four players can go through one of 10 levels to try and defeat the evil at the end of the level. Somehow, they managed to combine competitive and cooperative gameplay into one package that works well.
While trying to level and steal loot from dungeons from other players, you have to share the costs of resetting time with each other. Otherwise, everyone gets reset and the loop starts all over again. Usually, the evil lord requires level 25-30 to beat, but can be beat with less levels with multiple high-leveled people.
One thing to note is that the True Hero isn’t decided by level or equipment, but by who strikes the final blow on the boss. So, a person 10 levels lower than you can win just by being lucky at the end. It’s a good mechanic, but can become annoying when used against you.
In multiplayer, there is a few options that you can change around. Games can last either 15 or 30 minutes, and the option to turn the countdown timer off is available. However, the option of randomized levels, or other modes, would have been greatly appreciated. Still, the random nature of opponents will mean matches will never be the same.
The graphics have received an HD upgrade for the XBLA, but it honestly disappointed me. They look decent enough, but they also remind me of games I’ve played on websites. Personally, I found the old-style PSP graphics to be a lot better to look at. They reminded me of old-school RPGs, and just looked better. The graphics can be changed through an option on the main menu.
The music in the game is also pretty impressive. The tunes are catchy and a joy to listen to as you breeze through the game. Honestly, it’s probably one of the better soundtracks out there on the XBLA.
The game is great to kill a passing minute or two before an event or heading somewhere. However, the game will take quite a while for all the modes to be beaten, especially Hero 300 and Hero 3. RPG fans in need of a new style game should check this out, just to see that the standard formula can be changed and still be fun.