In videogames, being told you’re not a hero doesn’t happen very often; everyone usually wants you to be the squeaky clean hero to save the day. NOT A HERO, unsurprisingly, wants to buck the trend in this run ‘n’ gun, 2.25D cover shooter and after being on the PC for a year, developers Roll7 have decided to release a SUPER SNAZZY EDITION for Xbox One gamers to channel their inner anti-hero. Can this pixel art shooter live up to its super snazzy name, or could it turn out to be a retro looking flop?
First off, I highly recommend that anyone wanting to get involved in the NOT A HERO world should put their sensibility aside for the duration. From the beginning to the very end, it’s bloody barmy, pulls no punches and doesn’t take itself seriously for one second.
With doomsday looming, BunnyLord (a talking rabbit) travels back in time in the hope of preventing the end of the world by cleaning up the streets as a Mayoral candidate. He can’t do it alone though and hires a former hit man named Steve as his campaign manager to help eliminate the criminal scum by any means necessary. It may not be pretty, but one way or another he will win over the voters and become the Mayor.
The main story mode offers 21 levels in three different districts of the city and each one will involve your character of choice getting dropped off on a mission, to then be picked back up again by BunnyLord to escape upon completion. You’ll be running through the floors of buildings, kicking ass without hesitation, climbing to the top and descending to the bottom, all in the name of political justice.
Each level contains the main mission brief and three side objectives to really hit home a high approval rating. These can be as simple as finishing the level within a set time or as stupid as collecting giant rat heads and cakes. To keep things slightly fresh for anyone having to replay a level, some of the goals can change each time. It’s vital to obtain as many of the objectives as possible because your approval rating leads to characters becoming unlocked.
A game is nothing without characters and so, NOT A HERO brings a whole host of them to the political party. BunnyLord himself speaks in gibberish but with the text translations, comes across as a real mental case who wants to kill bad people then go for milkshakes. Of the nine playable characters, each of them is equipped with a weapon and skill of sorts, as well as a unique personality. For example, Steve is a single shot kind of guy who’s fast on the reload while a flamboyant Mexican called Jesus carries a machine gun whilst having speedy movement. It’s difficult to give just a few lines of spoken dialogue and expect characters to have a distinguishable personality, but it works.
The gameplay itself runs at a fast pace for the most part, with you always being on the move, dipping in and out of cover and picking up any weapon upgrades. There are very few times in life when you can say this without consequence but it’s bloody brilliant fun popping off heads at close range or knocking enemies down for an execution. There’s always a thrill in the kill. It isn’t easy though, because with level progression comes the addition of tougher enemies in bigger numbers and the bosses of each district are increasingly well protected. Roll7 have nailed it on the enemy front by providing a great amount of variety and making character choice matter in the process.
A SUPER SNAZZY EDITION needs something top notch to warrant such a name but it only actually brings three extra levels in a mini campaign. You’ll get to play as the BunnyLord, working for the BunnyLord. It brings new bosses in the same three districts of Vodkaville, Bredrin Park and Sushi Central whilst adding teleporting enemies too. I didn’t find this to be anything special but the ‘Me, Myself and BunnyLord’ campaign serves a purpose of prolonging your playtime for a little while.
NOT A HERO makes me laugh, gave plenty of thrills and taught me that after slaughtering Russian mobsters in Vodkaville, it’s good to relax with a milkshake. I find it hard to find many negatives in this frantically fun experience, but maybe the fact that all the levels do just make you run through buildings which aren’t all that different makes it slightly samey. As for enemies and characters, there’s plenty of variety throughout and having multiple objectives to aim for certainly adds replay value.
If you’re not a super serious gamer then NOT A HERO: SUPER SNAZZY EDITION will deliver almost all your hopes and dreams of what an enjoyable shooter should be. Also if skateboarding is of any interest then this can be picked up in a Roll7 developed double pack with OlliOlli2 to add even more value for money to your purchase.