Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy PC Review
By the time you finished reading the name of this title, you would have wasted a great deal of time which could have been spent saving the world. Time is the central theme in this game, with everything centering on the precious seconds wasting away. The Time Goddess has chosen you out of countless others to save the world, which you must do in a mere 30 seconds; otherwise, the Spell of Destruction cast by the local bad-guy will release a cataclysmic event upon the world.
The concept of Half Minute Hero is both unique and effective. An evil wizard is attempting to destroy the world by teaching a “Spell of Destruction” to any villain willing to listen. These villains vary from powerful warriors whose only wish is to destroy you, to crabs that are just a bit sensitive to the fact that they can only move sideways. You have, as the name suggests, thirty seconds to complete each level. Luckily, you have the Time Goddess by your side with a love for money. By praying at her temple in certain areas, you can reset the timer back to 30 seconds. As you work your way through the world, you meet fantastic companions who will help you when the time arises and be able to spend your disposable income on some impressive looking weaponry or armour.
Half Minute Hero plays wonderfully. It has the RPG elements you would expect such as leveling up as well as acquiring new equipment and companions. However, it has all been simplified and sped up. As you wander around the in-game map, you will meet enemies and begin combat. The combat is so fast that it ends before you know it. Nevertheless, in order to succeed in fights, you have to make sure you are properly armed. The well-designed weapons and armour that you can buy are suited to your tasks in varying ways. You can either buy them or complete smaller missions within the main quests to earn them from NPC’s that have a variety of needs.
During the levels, there are sometimes specific situations that can occur simultaneous to your quest. Whether you choose to complete or ignore these can lead to you going down a completely different track in the world map. This only adds to the game’s replay value as you try to explore all the different routes, gain the top marks in each stage and try to earn all the titles, which are awarded for completing certain challenges, such as completing a section without healing.
The game excels in its writing. With only 30 seconds per stage and quite a cutesy appearance, you might not expect a stellar storyline. Nonetheless, you will soon find yourself immersed in a vibrant and colorful world. The dialogue in the game is very clever in that it is both humorous and very self-aware. This latter trait does little to ruin the game and succeeds in bringing, a smile to your face.
The game also manages to generate a new challenge in every stage that you attempt. Because it follows the same simple formula every time of running in, doing some good deeds, keeping your eye on the clock and killing the bad person, you might be wary that the game becomes repetitive. However, each stage manages to push you that little bit further each time so that it does not feel like monotony. You’ll be expected to cross certain areas at certain times of the day, or maybe you might want the most powerful weapon in the stage but the only way to acquire said weapon is by looting a cave with a monster so powerful you wonder why they are not the ones casting the Spell of Destruction.
The game also generates a brilliant sense of progression. While your level will return to one in each stage, your entire inventory transfers from its previous point. So not only do you get the feeling of becoming bigger and better during each stage, but watching as your hero turns from a weedy sprout in plain clothes armed with a stick to a mighty warrior in full armour and an axe bigger than most of your enemies results in a particularly proud feeling.
Finally, there is also a certain amount of replay value in the game, with a score given out at each stage’s conclusion and a little yellow dot on the game map if there was something you missed in the level. In addition, you can go back and do stages again aiming for a different result. The Evil Lord 30, Princess 30, and Knight 30 game modes help in extending the game’s length, and they show you a story from different perspectives that are equally as entertaining.
However, the game does have but a few minor drawbacks. Whilst the music in the game is initially quite jolly and adds to the feeling of adventure, it does become irritating because it doesn’t really change except for a few periods during the storyline., which is a shame because the game managed to avoid becoming repetitious with its simple formula, but fell into that trap with its music. Similarly, the introduction plays at the start of every stage (which if you try to skip cuts off the first section of dialogue from the level) and the credits roll at the end. But it sounds a lot worse than it actually is, you’ll be so busy concentrating on where you need to be and what you need to do that you won’t notice the music for the most part and the unnecessary intro and credits don’t detract from the gameplay very much. In addition, while the game’s graphics are jolly and simple by design, sometimes the result does not look as great as other areas of the game, especially when the camera angle tilts at certain portions of the game.
Half-Minute Hero also comes equipped with multiplayer which, like the rest of the game, is also very simple to understand but also very enjoyable to play. You choose an area and then you and someone else have to go around and complete the quest in that stage. Interaction with the other player is actually minimal, you might occasionally stray into their fight or see them shopping as you are leaving the village. The multiplayer is enhanced by the way that it has the same timer for both players, forcing the players not only to compete against each other but work together for mutual gain. The more you pray the more it costs to reset the timer, so it becomes a very thrilling event as the timer closes on zero and you’re both unwilling to foot the bill for the reset. However, there is a certain satisfaction in not resetting the timer as your opponent heads for the castle. The multiplayer requires a certain amount of strategy and you can enjoy the multiplayer in different ways. For instance, you can focus on being very selfish and never praying, concentrating solely on leveling up and getting rich and then as soon as the timer resets, buying all the best equipment and heading for the castle whilst your opponent has to start all over again to rushing around the map trying to unlock all the secrets.
Overall, Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is a very enjoyable game with fantastic characters, a winning formula that never seems to wear out on you and one with a fair amount of replay value. It is an RPG in its most basic form presented to you in a format that is simple and entertaining. If the music had a bit more variety and if minor tweaks were made to the graphics, the game would have been slightly more enjoyable, even more so if the game cut the unnecessary credit rolls and introductory periods. Nevertheless, Half Minute Hero is definitely worth the investment and you will get a satisfaction and longevity way beyond its price tag.
[Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is available to buy from Playism. It also comes with selected music from the game's original soundtrack.]