Not a Hero’s unique mayoral candidate BunnyLord is now also seeking votes from PlayStation 4 owners. Formerly only available on PC, the game has just been released on the PlayStation store. Taking on the role of campaign manager in this frantic side-scrolling 2¼D cover-based shooter it’s up to you to blast, slide and dive your way to election success. If you enjoy irreverent humour, over the top pixelated gunfights and straightforward duck and cover gameplay then this title is for you.
A lot of Not a Hero feels fresh and fun, it’s a modern twist on the classic run and gun genre. The twist here is that characters are able to shoot in the foreground and take cover in the background. Progressing in each of the twenty odd missions requires you to make intelligent use of cover and successfully mow down scores of gun totting criminals. You’ll dash and jump your way around high-rise office blocks and warehouses, all superimposed on Streets of Rage style cityscape backdrops.
Each level has one primary objective, assassinating a local warlord for example, together with additional optional challenges and goals. The more of the these you successfully beat the more points you get and the quicker you can unlock the game’s full roster of heroes. There are nine playable characters in total, each with their own unique abilities, weapons and regional accents. At the get-go you play as Steve, a Danny Dyer-esque cockney hard man who has a helpful talent for slide tackling enemies and isn’t bad with an uzi. As you progress you’ll also unlock Jesus, a twinkle-toed Spaniard and Cletus a shotgun wielding, straight talking Glaswegian, to name a few personal favourites.
The PlayStation 4 version is just as smooth and slick to play as its PC counterpart. The control scheme is uncomplicated and works well with the DualShock. The game is also due for release on PS Vita and by the same token it should work equally well on that platform.
On the whole Not a Hero’s presentation is genuinely funny with the retro pixelated 2d graphics in particular helping to create an energetic, off the wall tone. The writing here is great, BunnyLord briefs you personally before every mission and treats to you a milkshake at Aunt Ruby’s Diner following each successful level end, all in a typically hilarious fashion. You’ll read a lot of overblown, ridiculous statements and even be likened to “a formidable oak tree of brilliant vengeance” at one stage. All of BunnyLord’s in-game dialogue is subtitled by the way, accompanied by a strange squeaking sound presumably intended to mimic his voice. Thankfully it’s not just squeaking that you’ll have to listen to because the retro 8-bit chiptune soundtrack really adds value and is cool and comedic in equal measure.
Of course, you could just ignore the ridiculous story (although I think that would be your loss) and focus on the action because at its core Not a Hero is a great pick up and play shooter. The gun battles are well-paced and satisfying and you also have access to an array of impressive power ups and explosives. The only niggle is that at times the difficulty level can be steep. There’s no free save function so if you find yourself outgunned by one too many vigilantes it can be frustrating to have to start the level right back at the beginning. Some will also complain that the gameplay is repetitive but I don’t feel that’s a fair criticism. After all it’s a 2d shooter, it’s supposed to be repetitive!
Not a Hero is great indie game. Developer Roll7 has done a great job, this game is brash, bombastic and brutal. It’s also really quirky and overall it’s loads of fun to play. There’s just no doubt about it, BunnyLord is a winning candidate, a strong leader and he’s ready to poke crime in its terrible face. An election victory is guaranteed.
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