Action News Heroes, is a twin stick shooter from Canadian Indie developer Krewe Studios. First time on laying eyes on it, you will instantly think of classic shooter Smash TV. And you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that. It plays like it, has a lot of enemies, and over sized bosses just waiting to take you out. There isn’t as many enemies as Smash TV, but there are still plenty of them. You collect money from crates and fallen enemies to buy new weapons upon completion of a stage, and buy more powerful variations of shotguns, assault rifles, and other weapons within the game. You don’t have generic looking characters to play as, like Smash TV, as you have a little back story about each colourful hero. But, they do have different stats, with health amount, and speed being the main differences between them.
So what is it all about? Well, Network X are looking to destroy Sabre live on Tv, and it’s your job as a Merc to partake in their destruction on live TV. Sounds like fun. Bbu it just isn’t that simple. You need to keep ratings up as you play through the levels. Meaning you best keep it exciting, or else your ratings drop and boy do they drop quickly. Once you each the 30% ratings, you can hear the boos from unhappy viewers, informing you that you are in fact, quite boring. So how do you keep the entertainment levels up? Kill everything in sight, even crates, and any other destructible objects within the game world. This obviously includes enemies, and you have to kill all of them. Missing some out will drop your ratings. So you end up having to rush through a level as quickly as your little legs can carry you. This being said, you will take damage quickly, so what is the best way to regain lost health? Health packs? No. Bandages? No. The answer my friends, is junk food. That’s right, unhealthy “food” is the answer. And whilst you will find plenty to keep you alive, you will also have to keep an eye on your ratings. As at first you will struggle with ANH, as it is totally unforgiving and several runs through the first level will be needed before you can complete it. At least that is what happened for me.
There are 8 levels all with a different theme to them, and by far the most unusual is the Christmas themed level where you have Santa Claus as the end boss. He needs to be eradicated for selling out to Sabre TV. You know, the normal stuff. Other levels include an Oriental, Desert and Space Station theme. But does it match up o Smash Tv, it’s biggest influence for existing? Can it really be that good? Let’s continue and find out.
Graphically, it is easy to see what is going on around you and the levels are totally different. You can tell it’s an Indie game, and whilst they graphics aren’t the best you will ever see, they are not awful. Above average is a fair comment. This is not a game that takes itself seriously at all. To be honest, it’s just a bit of dumb fun, even more so with a co-op partner. Sadly there are only 8 levels, so once you find the way to blitz this game, you will find it a cakewalk. Hearing the sound effects is job that matches the needs. But I find it just lacks that oomph it needs from the guns and grenades you will be using in very high quantities.
This is a game all about killing and destroying everything you can find on the levels. Not to mention there is hostages to rescue. Talk about being a hero. This will boost your ratings quite a bit, and since they are in the same place every time, you will soon be able to speed run through a level to boost your cash supplies, allowing you access to better weapons. The MX Blaster is a rather good shotgun, and at $50,000,000 is quite pricey. So be prepared to save up for the good stuff. In fact, every weapon is very expensive, but given you can average $25,000,000 per level, you wont find it hard to save up the much-needed cash for new weapons.
Gameplay feels a bit slow, even when you pick the character with the fastest speed ability. Thankfully there is a run button, but you need to hold it down constantly if you wish to run the entire level. Which is advisable when you first start off, as you need to make headway quickly to keep the ratings up. Which do seem to drop very fast at first.
Suffice to say, Action News Heroes is a fun time killer., but lacking in any major content to keep the game fresh and alive once you complete the campaign. A horde/survival mode would have been a great addition, along with some online component. As it is, you have local co-op, which can be fun should you have a friend to join you.The game will be finished very quickly upon unlocking the best weapons, and this is a shame, as mentioned above with regards to a lack of post game content. Personally, I think Krewe Studios have missed a trick here.
It’s not that it is missing some finishing touches and polish to help make it stand out that drops the score, but having only just 8 levels you will soon learn to run through quickly is what will inevitably bring the score down. There i a lot of potential with a game like this however, as there is plenty of scope for future dlc, or even a sequel to take feedback and improve. Using Smash TV and Total Carnage as inspiration for your Indie game is a good start, as these games have provided plenty of hours of entertainment for many gamers over the years.
So here’s hoping that Krewe Studios can listen and learn from feedback and when they come back at us with more Action News Heroes, all being well, it will be a game that has been fleshed out and given a few tweaks here and there with a smattering of polish for good measure. The vision is certainly there, and they need to capitalise on what they have now by taking the best bits from this and create and Indie game that will get more people hooked.
To end this review, I will say I enjoyed my time playing ANH. There was a decent amount of enemies, nothing in the vein of Smash TV, with its ridiculous amount of enemies on-screen in a bullet hell scenario, but it does a respectable job of what it’s got. The end bosses are bizarre and varied, and looking like they took a lot of growth pills, as they are quite a lot bigger. Plenty of explosions too. That’s always good isn’t it? As for the final verdict, it drops points for the lack of content to keep you coming back, no online, and everything else I have mentioned. But a good experience regardless, and an achievement hunters dream with a quick 1000 gamer score on offer. I so desperately wanted to rate it higher, and don’t want anyone to think it’s a bad game due to what it received. Play it, and you will likely find you enjoyed it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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