Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy Review
Game: Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy
Developer: Marvelous Entertainment
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Available on: Windows PC only
Half-Minute Hero, releasing for the first time on Steam under the title Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy, is a popular condensation of every RPG you’ve ever played. Ever.
It’s hard to say what makes the game so fun, being nothing more than a streamlined version of a genre, but it’s also hard to deny its charm. You quest, level up and vanquish at an unprecedented rate, only letting you breathe when you stop to rest in a town. It’s a formula that’s hard to get bored with.
STORY: “In the beginning, there was only time…”
Or so begins Half-Minute Hero. It was a given, and there always seemed to be plenty of it. Citizens believed they had all the time in the world, but when an evil wizard casts a spell that puts a 30 second doomsday timer on existence, the great constant seems all the more precious.
This is the premise of Half-Minute Hero; a system that harnesses the obsessive nature of gamers and combines the appeal of grinding towards domination with the perfectionist drive of speed runs; one of the oldest gamer pass times. Every time you manage to stop one wizard, you discover that the spell has been passed on to another. This is a good way of introducing the player to a myriad of memorable and silly characters. You’re also treated to the credits more times than you’ll care to count.
GRAPHICS: “Cute” is where I would begin in my description of the game’s art design. Then I may move on to other common descriptors like vivid, bright or retro. Certainly by no means does anything in the game look bad or gaudy, and at no point are you left longing for a renowned artist’s touch. Everything feels appropriate.
What’s worth noting is that the game was originally designed with an 8-bit style that may be deemed more fitting in the context of a game that is all about exploring frequented RPG tropes. The player is given a choice between this original style and a more modernized, hand drawn style to fit his or her fancy.
SOUND: Like the art direction, sound design is equally appropriate, featuring swelling, triumphant tunes of the chip music persuasion. Actions taken are greeted with “blips” and “bloops” reminiscent of another age and the sword noises are precisely “whoosh” enough.
With an RPG like this, it’s hard to drop the ball in terms of sound design so long as the music is catchy enough.
GAMEPLAY: There isn’t a lot to the game in terms of substance. That isn’t a condemnation by any means but, instead, praise. It is difficult to make something so compelling with so few layers.
Battles are handled automatically and appear in a traditionally randomised fashion. The player is in charge of equipment and navigation. Levelling up happens in seconds and you are charged with deciding where to level, when to move on, and where to spend your money.
Before the clock counts down to zero, you have the option of praying to a statue of the money hungry, Goddess of Time, in order to refill the 30 second clock. Every time you make this choice, the cost of praying goes up. As a result, farming for gold stops being beneficial and more expensive items become harder to obtain. Top tier equipment isn’t something that is just purchased; it is earned through perfection.
The game engages the player by scoffing and demanding “can’t you do better?” By splitting up the game into minuscule fractions, the player can accurately gauge their skill and figure out where they can cut seconds from their overall time.
The game allows you to go back into levels in order to harvest better equipment or improve your ranking too. The trick is that you can’t bring in items from the future, because that’d create a time paradox. As such, the playing field is levelled and the game maintains its balance.
LONGEVITY: With a handful of storylines, most prominent of which being the ‘Hero 30’ mode, a multiplayer mode and a ton of replay value for those that the game appeals to, Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy easily offers 10+ hours of gameplay.
VERDICT: At its core, Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is a meticulous time management simulation. On its surface, it’s a tribute to simpler times. It’s a WarioWare for RPG fans with ADHD, and that’s a good thing; a very good thing.