Those indie games you might have missed: Not a Hero

Feature

– Simon Vallenet

If I had to pick the indie publisher of the year, I think I would go for Devolver Digital or at least, I would highly consider them. They have published so many good indie games so far I completely lost count and I reckon that many of the games I’m going to talk about in this series of articles have been released by this company. Not a Hero is one of them.

Developed by Roll7, the guys who brought us Olli Olli, Not a Hero is a nervous 2¼D action/shooter full of blood, awesomeness and stupidity. The story? BunnyLord is an anthropomorphic purple rabbit coming from the future who wants to become Mayor; and you, as his badass campaign manager, will make it happen by killing all the bad guys and therefore making the city a safer place.

Four more years!

Four more years!

I don’t know who came up with that idea, but I think it’s brilliant. The dialogues and cut scenes are really funny, as long as you’re receptive to a stupid but assumed type of humour of course, and I have to say that almost half of the enjoyment I got while I was playing Not a Hero was due to BunnyLord’s speeches. The game is also full of little details and you can’t help but laugh away at the characters’ stupid comments, especially with their crazy accents. All I want to do now is to grab a beer with the developers and writers from Roll7, because I know I’d have a great time.

What about the other half of my enjoyment? Well, we’re getting there. The game is divided into 21 missions, plus three secret ones, in which you will have to slaughter pretty much every single enemy to gain the citizen’s favour. In each mission you have a main objective and some optional ones that you need to complete if you want to finish the game 100%. The level design can be a little labyrinthine like sometimes, but you’re never really lost, and there are a few moments where you can try different approaches, which is a nice surprise.

As you progress through the different districts (the mafia, the dealers and the Chinese mob) and complete the objectives, you will unlock new characters with different abilities such as running faster, running and shooting at the same time, using a shotgun or a katana… the whole composing a colourful and explosive cast suitable for every type of players.

Mostly the psychotic players though.

Mostly the psychotic players though.

I personally have a crush on Kimmy and Jesus (not the one you’re thinking about) and I know I’m terrible playing with ‘shotgun’ Mike. You just need to find your character to find your gameplay!

Speaking of gameplay, Not a Hero introduces a very intuitive ‘quick-snap cover system’ allowing us to slide, roll, take cover and shoot your enemies to death within seconds. Your character can’t jump and the system to take cover can be a little bit disconcerting at first but it’s only a matter of minutes before you get use to it, the first level being a tutorial.

To help you in your deadly quest, there are a few special weapons and temporary upgrades scattered around each level: cocktails Molotov, grenades, turrets, kitten-bomb (yes!!) and sometimes, defeated enemies give you laser/explosive/fire upgrades for your bullets. Just like Hotline Miami or Broforce, Not a Hero is a very dynamic and entertaining game, perfect as an ‘end-of-the-day-punching-bag’ substitute.

It is charming for the hands, but also for the eyes: graphically, the game is very enjoyable. The pixel (Roll7’s touch) and the flashy colours evoke a nice 80s ‘Miami Vice’ type of vibe even though the developers could have done a better job with the backgrounds. The music and sound design are also well mastered; personally, I wouldn’t buy the OST and listen to it on its own, but in the game everything works great together.

Damn evil science guys.

Maybe change your signage bad guys.

If I had to criticise something regarding the content, I’d say that it’s over too quickly! When I finished the game, I was left hungering for more and I would have a loved more levels or even a multiplayer or a co-op feature…

Overall, Not a Hero is a very pleasurable and satisfying experience; not for all players of course, considering the coarse language and the over the top violence, but if you’re receptive to stupid jokes and are looking for a good game to release stress after work, this one is for you. I have to say that I was very impressed with Roll7: they showed us they were good at making skateboarding games and now, they’re showing us they are also capable of making excellent action/shooter. I can’t wait to see what they have prepared next!

Simon is a hero on Twitter, you can follow him @simonvallenet and don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.

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