Xbox version tested
Review code provided
Hero Express puts you behind the wheel as a delivery driver rushing to the aid of a superhero who, despite slipping into his tights and rushing off to do battle, always forgets the item he needs to dispatch his monstrous adversaries once and for all.
A BUMPY RIDE
Eleven stages are on offer, each featuring their own global setting with matching vehicle and villain. From The Himalayas to Transylvania and even to the Moon, there is nowhere the hero express does not deliver. In order to get to our spandex-clad hero, you must traverse a roller-coaster of a level, avoiding obstacles and hazards while collecting items along the way.
Anyone who played the NES classic Excite Bike or earlier entries in the Trials series will feel right at home. As you drive through each level you must master momentum and precision and not just speed and power. Though eleven levels may seem like a small amount, these levels are all challenging and will require multiple attempts to master and finish.
I HAVE THE POWER
As mentioned, each level has it’s own matching vehicle ranging from regular cars, moon buggies, monster trucks and even a hearse, but don’t worry, it’s dead fast! (Nobody? Tough crowd) these vehicles are aesthetic only but it’s nice to have each level full of personality. Racing through each level you will collect money which you will need plenty of to upgrade your vehicles. Failure will come often but not to a frustrating degree and you keep all the dough you collect after each attempt. Mastering each course is a learning curve that is both fun and addictive. Each attempt will see you getting a bit further and conquering a tricky section preparing you for your next run. As your engine and traction see improvements so too will your success.
As well as collecting money you will also find some power-ups. Window cleaner will clear your screen if you hit hazards that obscure your view and the boost jump can be extremely handy if used correctly but can also be just as much a hindrance. Fuel tanks will also need to be collected, although they appear at regular sections along each course your fuel will run out quick so getting stuck on a certain obstacle or section can cost you.
ONE MORE TIME
Hero Express is arcade gaming at it’s best with the emphasis of “just one more go” being the true driving force behind it. If this title was in an arcade cabinet it would have been a gold mine for gamers pumping in every bit of loose change they had to have one more blast at the success of to at least set a new high score for their friends to beat.
Each level can be tackled in any order and although the designs are unique the gameplay itself does not change. For better or for worse will be a matter of personal taste, the concept of tackling each level multiple times until you have upgraded your vehicle and mastered the track could wear thin over a long session but in short bursts, it’s right on the money for a pickup and plays value.
Visuals are bright and colourful, adopting the retro vibe that is common with indie titles, everything onscreen is clear and easy to identify. Music is fun with each stage having its own tune to suit the tone. Controls are simple, playing on X-Box LT or A accelerated, RT or X reversed, Y and B used power-ups with LS for balancing the vehicle during jumps. I encountered no performance issues other than my own terrible ability to judge a boost ability properly.
For pick up and play fun look no further. If you are a fan of Trials or have a competitive nature then this is the game for you. Although short despite requiring multiple attempts at each level the low asking price, addictive gameplay and fun hero and monster references are more than worth it. Though not my usual cup of tea, the best thing about gaming is there is always something new to try and I enjoyed my time with Hero Express although I did play it in short bursts.
TBG Score: 7.5/10
Developer: Fantastico Studio
Publisher: Fantastico Studio
Format: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Download link: Microsoft Store