Not a Hero – What We Think:
Not A Hero is a slick and polished pixel art tribute to the run ‘n’ gun platform shooter. As one of a growing stable of hit men, you work for BunnyLord – a megalomaniacal and homicidal anthropomorphic pink rabbit who has traveled back in time with designs on being the new mayor. BunnyLord speaks in a combination of l33t and lolz to great humorous effect.
Pixel Posse Playhouse
You begin as a British mercenary named Steve. You’re pretty good with a .45 and sliding across the floor on your knees while using it, like you fell out of a John Woo picture. Eventually you will unlock other guns for hire like Samantha, who is Welsh and can reload while running but has terrible aim on the move, or Cletus the fake Scot, who carries a hefty shotgun but reloads slowly, or Mike, who wields a hunting knife. Each has plusses and minuses for completing the various increasingly challenging levels. There are nine playable characters in all, which makes for a lot of variety, methods, giddy violence and comedic mayhem.
The game involves being dropped down onto a building with several objectives, one which is required and three secondary elective challenges. These may involve anything from avoiding getting punched, to clearing a level within a certain amount of time, to collecting all of a designated object. The challenges are exactly that – and can take a bit of experimenting to figure out, (which, in this case, is a good thing.)
Cut and Run (and Reload)
Controls are simple and tight – you use the same button to shoot as you do to take cover, and taking cover is critical in the tougher levels. You can also kill bad guys by standing on their position and doing a close range take-down. You can save or pick up special weapons by simply standing and waiting for a countdown timer. You must also remember to reload, though your character will often remind of this fact verbally.
Speaking of speaking – the voice acting for all the characters is great, though it is recycled perhaps a bit too much. I know it’s not what the game is about, but it can get a mite repetitive. The cuts-cenes are a standout. Whereas often cut-scenes in platformers feel like little more than stuffing, Roll7 makes great use of these between-level breathers to thread together an interesting narrative but also, some true laugh out loud moments.
Sweet Little Package…Now with ISO-Slant!
Not a Hero uses an aesthetically satisfying 2 and 1/4D visual style (the first game to use ISO-Slant technology) – something that feels like a cross between pixel art and Flash. Think Fez meets Elevator Action. The dialogue is excellent, the music is quirky and appropriate, and BunnyLord sounds like a clown making balloon animals when he talks. All told, there is a lot of entertainment value on offer.
As a game, though, there is nothing extraordinarily novel here: Not A Hero is essentially an aggregation of stuff that worked well in previous platforming shooters, brought together in a sweet little package. While the game mechanic doesn’t break the mold, it is well implemented and full of laughs along the way, with enough variation among the playable characters to merit a few sit-down sessions when you just want to blow off some steam. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Watch the Not A Hero Trailer below: