As I have said in previous reviews, I absolutely love RPGs at the moment; I can even find something to love about the poor ones. The problem I have with RPGs though, is the sheer length of them. I get about 15 -20 hours of gaming during a good week. This means the average RPG takes me around four to six weeks to complete and then they go and release DLC which makes them even longer. If only there was some way of playing an RPG when I have a few minutes spare. Wait a minute, well half a minute to be exact.
Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is an enhanced version of all of the elements from both the PSP and the Xbox Live Arcade versions, and it is, without question, the definitive version of Half Minute Hero, making its debut on PC.
Half Minute Hero: SMNCUB is a true love letter to my gaming origins and old school 8-bit adventures, updating old school visuals with a fresh, more modern look. With a unique mechanic where you have to get quests, solve puzzles, earn XP, level up your character, travel around worlds, upgrade your gear and defeat the end of level boss In 30 seconds, each and every time, rather than the more common ten hours found in RPGs.
The core of the game is in Hero 30 Mode. This is where you – as the hero – are given quests to stop the level bosses from casting the world destruction spell. The first few times you start you find yourself running around like a headless chicken trying to get everything done before the time runs out.
Helping you along the way is the Time Goddess. The Time Goddess will reset the clock back to 30 seconds for an ever increasing fee. This is where it dawned on me that you have to plot and plan what you are going to do, and when you are going to do it, whilst keeping an eye on the clock and making mental notes of where the Time Goddesses statue is in order to be successful on each level.
This can sometimes be frustrating as you go through a trial and error process in order to work out what works so you can shave a few seconds oof your time but it’s never frustration with the game, only with yourself for not resetting the clock when you had an opportunity.
Think Time Attack RTS meets RPG with a few puzzle elements thrown in and you are beginning to grasp the concept of Half Minute Hero: SMNCUB. This will be driven home when you complete a level and your time is uploaded to an online leaderboard, yes you heard me right, I said leaderboard. Goodbye social life.
Half Minute Hero: SMNCUB doesn’t just stop there. In Princess 30 Mode you get a Shoot ‘em Up as you play as, unsurprisingly based on the title of the mode, a Princess. In Princess 30 Mode you are dispatched with a number of guards to find herbs for the King. The guards act as a medieval force field whilst you try and shoot the enemies, collect the herbs and return to the castle in, yep you guessed it, 30 seconds.
Evil Lord 30 Mode is similar to a RTS game where it has you summoning creatures for 30 seconds in order to defeat the enemy, whilst the Knight 30 mode has you protecting a Sage whilst he is trying to cast the powerful Destruction Spell. Finally there is Hero 300 which is an immense challenge just waiting to spank any unsuspecting player due to its completely deceptive tight time limit.
Whilst Half Minute Hero: SMNCUB is perfect for people with little time it is dangerously addictive and has nailed the “just one more go” element, resulting in a quick go very often turning into a 60 minute time sink and that’s just the single player campaigns of the game. It is possible to take your game online against other players but unfortunately I was unable to test this side of the game at the time of review.
So what else can Half Minute Hero: SMNCUB give? Well the game’s default graphics are the cartoony Xbox Live Arcade version but these can also be switched to old school 8-bit graphics for the full nostalgia trip.
If you have already played Half Minute Hero to death on either the PSP or Xbox Live Arcade then Half Minute Hero: SMNCUB still has something to offer as it truly is the definitive edition of Half Minute Hero. For newcomers you have all the fun of an RPG / Shoot ‘em up / RTS without the burden of an extensively long game thanks to the unique time mechanic. Retro fans will instantly fall in love with it and finally, for fans of Half Minute Hero, nothing more needs to be said other than the rose-tinted specs can be taken off and it’s still as good as it used to be.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Platform: PC Release Date: 27/09/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.