Developer: Marvelous Entertainment
Publisher: XSEED Games
Platform: Steam, Xbox Live Arcade
Release Date: September, 27 2012 (Steam)
Where to buy: Steam
Half-Minute Hero is an extremely funny and charming game where you are forced to save the world in only thirty seconds. This leads to ridiculous fast paced action where you must complete each quest in the allotted time or else.
Hilarious is the best way I can describe the story of Half-Minute Hero. It starts off with you as the Hero needing the save the world until an evil lord casts a spell that will destroy it. You meet the Time Goddess who will turn back time just in case you need it but for some cash of course.
That very premise was laughable but the as the story continues it still delivers awesome lines and characters. The characters and evil lords you meet along your journey have brimming with clique but vibrant personality. As clique as some of the characters might be the way they carry themselves explaining their motivations in such a quick and quirky way more than makes up for it.
This story’s sense of humor kept me smiling the entire time. From explaining to why the Goddess of Time wants money to save the world, to questioning how a blacksmith rebuilt a whole bridge thanks to just a trusty hammer you will laugh out loud from their ability to explain things with quick and straightforward answers.
As you explore the game and unlock more modes you will be able to play as more characters. While I won’t reveal everything you get to also play as a Darklord, Princess and Knight and are they funny. They have their own reasons why they must complete their quests in just 30 seconds which matches with the tone of the game completely.
The tone of the quick to the point action is translated very well to the story. It doesn’t try to fill you up with long explanations just enough to tell you what you need to do and make you laugh along the way which is anyone really needs in any game.
Gameplay for each level will go by real quick and if you are not fast enough then that means game over. Each level you are given at each new area will require you to find out how to quickly defeat the evil lord before time runs out. Battle monsters to quickly level up but spend too much time fighting will give you less time to finish the level.
The fights themselves are all automatic with the exception using a potion or sacrificing health to go quicker. This makes controlling the chaos a lot more simple but you still have a lot of strategic choice. Deciding which path to take could save you some time but might also make you encounter tougher monsters.
Since you have limited time the game forces you to quickly beat the level so the grinding you normally do in RPGs is only a strategic option. Yes you can buy more time but costs each time you do it. When you finish a level all the experience and gold you gain resets so each level requires different tactics.
After you finish the first mode you will unlock more modes which freshen up the gameplay. Each new mode has you playing a different character which uses different tactics. They each play more like a shoot-em up, tactical RPGs, or just pure action. It is good fun and brings much needed variety to the game.
The equipment you buy throughout the game will stay unlocked though. This incentives playing again to unlock all the secrets and going down the different paths. There are a lot of secrets throughout the game too so unlocking everything will take you quite some time.
There are two graphic versions old school 8-bit and the neo cartoon style which actually uses different mechanics. The new neo cartoon style will use the original game mode mechanics throughout all the different characters campaign. The other characters in the new redesigned modes are just one long level and not as polished as the 8-bit style.
They also offer an online multiplayer where you compete with a friend to see who can beat a level faster. I myself haven’t gotten to try it since I don’t have any friends that have this but from what I saw on videos it seems very fun. Given the fast paced nature and decision making having that for a online experience makes for a great arcade experience.
Though you only have 30 seconds to save the world it is all you need to have fun each time doing it. The pressure knowing you have only precious seconds left before the world explodes, get locked out the castle for curfew or other fun shenanigans leads to a fun experience. All of us that grew up on old school RPGs will appreciate the new spin on a beloved genre.
The game does not take itself too seriously and it shows through its art. The characters and enemies look adorable and it is hard to feel threaten by them. Which makes sense considering that all enemies can be defeated in just seconds.
The 8-bit graphics do look a little outdated even for its great throwback to the genre. Maybe for the original PSP version it might have looked great but on a PC where it is much bigger it actually starts to look just a little too old school. I like the style but to go hours with seeing not too much detail does ruin the experience just a little.
It is a shame since the graphics does affect the gameplay style. Since the only way to get the full gameplay experience is by playing the 8-bit graphics mode when you unlock all the other modes. So if the old school graphics don’t interest you won’t get the full gameplay experience if you play the entire campaign in the new retro style.
The music matches perfectly with the style of a game that goes by this quick. Fast beats will speed up your rhythm and make you want go even faster. It reminds me of the fighting game Marvel vs Capcom with it’s fast beat Jazzy rhythm.
The other modes also have their own background music which greatly adds to the game. The Evil Lord that you play will be playing heavy music which perfectly fits the gothic style of his game mode. It gives you a variety of songs to never feel too old.
Though there are not any voice actors in the game they do have amazing writing. The sense of humor is great especially considering how they like to keep things fast. The characters will explain things quickly and in a way that just makes you laugh.
The gameplay can get a little repetitive even with all the different strategies and choices you have to make. It is from the very fact that the game goes by so quick it does lack some depth by design. Something mitigated by fast paced action but that also means levels start to become familiar.
Also the graphic options should have only been a graphics options. The fact that the Neo cartoon style gives you just a single level for the different characters makes it feel not as thought out. Especially since the Neo cartoon style looks so much better on the bigger screen.
– Fast paced action
– Variety of gameplay modes
– Great humor
– Certain levels feel really repetitive
– Outdated graphics to experience entire game
This is a great spin to the RPG genre that takes so many themes we have gotten to know over the year and put a hilarious perspective on it. There is a lot to unlock and times to beat so the game offers a lot for you to experience even with a title such as Half Minute Hero. For anyone looking for a fast paced RPG that offers a lot than this is a great game to check out.
8 out of 10