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“Annie are you Heroki? Are you Heroki, Annie?” A famous man going by the name of Michael Jackson once asked, and we’re going to find out. As you read through this review it probably sounds as though I really enjoyed Heroki, and there are lots it gets right, but there was something missing for me…..
You start off as Heroki in a flying village called Levantia. The usual type of background story, you have guessed it someone or something has been stolen and it is your job as Heroki to get it back. This time it is an “Emerix amulet”. Onto the game.
The game itself is a side-scrolling platformer and has a sweet cartoon art style that’s bright and sharp and its lead character, Heroki, with his helicopter head has that cuteness that only Japanese creators seem to be able to conjure up. The characters kind of reminded me of the characters from the Katamari series with their big, bold, wide heads.
In terms of gameplay, it all makes very logical sense in how the controls are set out and configured. You use the analogue stick to move Heroki, there is no button bashing to gain flight or any limit on how long you can fly for, you just float. I am trying to think of a game from the genre that features the same type of mechanics, and I am struggling (I am sure there are plenty of indie games that do and someone will put me right). It is the same mechanic that is usually found in side-scrolling shooters.
No platform game is complete without enemies. Heroki’s method of attack is to pick up an item, such as a box, and dispatches the bad guys by launching said item at them. Other than that, Heroki has the ability to do drop down and destroy certain blocks, usually, that resembles a cloud with a coin in it. As you progress onwards you learn further skills, including wind to blow away oversized leaves to reveal a way forward.
Whilst the game ticks so many boxes, particularly in terms of presentation, I do have an overriding issue with the game and that is the lack of challenge and variety that Heroki presents. At no point did I feel at any threat of dying. Should a game be this easy? The game mechanics enable you to just fly past and avoid enemies and if you do engage, they do not move at enough of a pace to trouble you, and most enemies die with one hit of a box.
Technically the game is sound too. No problems with collision detection. The graphics are nice and the audio fits. I guess from a critical point of view, and this is my criticism, does the overriding difficulty issue make a game good or bad? For me, it was way too easy but it got me thinking what if the developer intended for the game to be aimed at a particular audience? If this game was aimed at a child just starting out playing games, I think this would be a success. Maybe if you are lacking gaming skills (Napoleon Dynamite voice), I think it could certainly be an enjoyable play.
For me though, I just felt I was going through the motions and it did not get my neurones firing enough to challenge me and felt like it lacked a bit of depth. Which is a shame, going on what the game gets right. I started the review with a bit of a play on words and fittingly it pretty much sums up my opinion on the game, Heroki is “Okay” only for me.
TBG Score: 6/10