Not A Hero
Not A Hero is one of the craziest, weirdest and most wonderful titles that this gamer has had the pleasure of playing. Imagine a cross between Hotline Miami with its hyper-violence and OlliOlli's retro aesthetic and fast paced fail/restart gameplay.
The cheerfully named mayor, Bunnylord, wants you to eradicate crime in the city to guarantee his win in the upcoming election. We're not talking cease and desist style policing here, though; each of his ragtag assassins has their own specific traits along with a colourful personality. If you're British you’ll see Roll7’s roots shining through with the wonderful voice actors that they've employed to bring these assassins to life including Steve the Cockney, Cletus the pretend Scot, Mike the Geordie and, well, you get the picture.
Not A Hero is a 2D shooter set on two planes; you move in the foreground and can take cover in the background. It works well and there's never any confusion as to which plane you’re on. This is a game that's all about speed and skill and only having a small amount of rechargeable health at your disposal introduces risk/reward scenarios in that sometimes it feels like you need to pull back but, in fact, you really need to push forward. You’ll glide around the floor to avoid attacks, dive into cover, assassinate enemies within breathing distance of them and carry out brutal, character-specific executions.
Furthermore, each character fundamentally changes the way in which you play the game. For example, Cletus has a shotgun that can shoot doors off their hinges into the faces of approaching enemies. This stuns your opponent and gives you the chance at a quick kill. He's also fantastic at keeping the melee enemies at arms length. Jesus, on the other hand, is incredibly fast and his Uzi makes short work of foes up close.
The power-ups also change how you'll approach situations in that they're completely overpowered but drop at random. There might be a section that has kicked your ass the last fifteen times but then you'll get a lucky drop where each bullet in your clip turns into a mini-nuke. The levels are varied in that sometimes you'll be doing a 'kill everything' mission or sometimes you'll be sent to take out a specific person or extract hostages. To complicate matters, it soon becomes quite clear that the local police force doesn't see things in the same way as Bunnylord as they'll also be on your case before you know it.
You'll likely find that you'll breeze through two-thirds of the game before you smash your face into a huge difficulty spike. Losing all of your progression because of one little mistake at the end of the level is infuriating but it does force you to up your game and before long you'll be clearing house like a ninja.
Not a Hero feels like a group of mates managed to remember the game that they dreamt up after ten pints apiece. The dialogue's ridiculous, it's bloody, super fast, and sometimes you'll feel like your face is melting. It also happens to be utterly compelling and despite how hard the game can be, it also makes you feel like you can improve, and the sense of satisfaction is immense when you finally manage to achieve perfect flow and blow through the level destroying everything in your path. If you’re a fan of Hotline Miami or the fast paced OlliOlli then we'd recommed putting Not A Hero at the top of your download list.