88 Heroes - 98 Heroes Edition
Game review on
Clinton Raethel / Tue 24th Oct 2017
46 views / 4 bites
OVERVIEW In spite of an unhealthy obsession with the number eight, there's a lot of fun to be had in 88 Heroes. Blasting through the chaotic bite-sized levels with randomly selected heroes is a hoot, however entertainment value may vary.
STORYLINE It's 8:08am on the 8th of August 1988, and Dr. H8 is demanding a payment of $88 Octillion within 88 minutes or he'll destroy the Earth as we know it. Who will stop this? 88 Heroes of course!! Coincidence? I think not...
Just in case you haven't seen enough eights yet, here's the premise: you have 88 seconds to complete each of the 88 levels. Spread over four worlds, each level starts with one of 98 wildly different characters (thanks to the included DLC). Die, and you lose the ability to play with that hero again, starting the level over with someone new.
There's Nibbles the Destroyer, a hamster that steamrolls through any enemy it finds. El Delayo, who as the name suggests isn't the quickest at reacting to your input. Retro Reptile plays like the famous Snake of old, Low Res Reggie clearly hasn't been updated to modern looks and physics, and Claire Voyant can win or lose the level with the flip of a coin. One of my favourites heroes is What, who imitates the wonderfully irritating paperclip from '97 Office.
Controls are simple: move, jump and use ability if available. Each hero responds differently to these inputs, and this is where the entertainment value is found. 88 Heroes is a proper old-school platformer, with success depending on timing more than anything else. The levels themselves are quite generic and really don't vary too much, so to have a hook based on how the hero plays is actually quite neat. Expect to die a lot as you come to grips with each hero's playstyle, but when you do get a handle on them the platforming itself is a real treat. Sharp, tight and (with the exception of El Delayo), responsive.
There are a few extra modes thrown in to mix things up, but I do want to mention that 'Game Over' is defined by time, not hero count. If you lose all of your heroes, you can continue on with your last hero until the timer runs out. Cheap much?
Accompanying the retro gameplay is suitably retro graphics. Blocky without being abrasive on your eyes, 88 Heroes is colourful, detailed and full of character.
What I don't get though is the interface - the whole game plays through the view of a bustling security room. Dr. H8 with his control panel and minions overlay everything, and can sometimes get in the way of what's going on. Sure, it's charming at first, but let me turn it off!
AUDIO Catchy and enjoyable, the chip-tune soundtrack fits the game well. The dialogue is also well written and spoken, and had me laughing on more than one occasion.
VERDICT 88 Heroes puts forward a damn solid platforming experience, especially when you consider that all levels can be completed with all heroes if you're up for the challenge. It's funny, frantic and filled with nods to pop culture references that really do hit you in the retro feels. There are some lingering questions regarding longevity, but definitely deserves to be given a chance in your catalogue. One recommendation: get it on something other than the Switch for ~$50 AUD cheaper.