The year – 1988. The date – The 8th of August. The time – 8 minutes past 8. This is the exact time that Dr. H8 is set to unleash his diabolical plan to destroy the world if his demands aren’t met. It is up to the world’s best heroes to stop him. Unfortunately, the world’s best didn’t were busy – instead, we are left with 88 of the world’s “seemingly most pointless superheroes ever to grace the face of the Earth.” 88 Heroes is created by Bitmap Bureau and is set to release on March 24th, 2017.
Presented from the point of view of Dr. H8 in a very unique use of foreground, 88 Heroes is able to utilize this presentation style in a very fun way. Throughout every level, Dr. H8 provides the game’s commentary, mocking the player and the heroes. Occasionally, robots will walk through the foreground, obscuring your view and making the use of the looking around feature even more important. However, this is done in a way that adds challenge without being too intrusive, but can oftentimes happen at the most inopportune times.
In the 88 Heroes mode, players will find themselves with a slew of “heroes” at their disposal. These dollar store knock-offs of familiar characters and personalities are fun (while sometimes seemingly useless) and gives this game a unique flavor. With 88 seconds to beat each of the 88 levels, across four worlds, 88 Heroes is fun, fast-paced and versatile in its delivery. Each level the player begins with a new, random hero and must utilize their skills to the best of their ability to get through and find the door to the next stage. As you progress, you will find that the four different worlds begin to add new criteria for beating the level. In the original office stages, you must simply go from point A to point B. After moving on to the sewers, players must find a key before they can progress further. The game boasts a gradual progression of difficulty, and while I experienced a few levels that seemed more difficult than the ones after, this most likely had more to do with the heroes I had at hand.
Some of the characters you encounter include the likes of Rick Roll, Agent 0088, Ian_Error and my one of my personal favorites, Laser Kittie. Characters such as the Architect allow you to move blocks and clear pathways that would otherwise have been impassable, while others like Dyna Knight give you the ability to blast your way forward through non-traditional paths. The diversity among playable characters is the cornerstone of 88 Heroes and leads to one of the most fun and unique platforming experiences I’ve had in a very long time. Just when the levels start to feel a bit repetitive, a new mechanic or obstacle will be introduced that completely throws the player for a loop.
Other game modes players will want to check out are The Magnificent 8 and Solo modes. The Magnificent 8 lets players choose 8 heroes to tackle the game with, while solo mode (which isn’t unlocked to begin the game) makes one hero the star of the show. These modes help take a bit of the randomness out of 88 Heroes for those looking for a bit more control. I found however that I was having the most fun with the game when I was forced to use characters I wouldn’t have normally chosen to try and find new solutions to progress, which is part of the charm of this title.
Gameplay mechanics vary from character to character, and level to level. The beauty of 88 Heroes comes from its extensive replay value. Each character brings unique advantages and disadvantages, and the creative level designs allow for some legitimately creative ways to navigate around. Even though each level is only 88 seconds long, players will find that some of the most challenging levels become quite easy with the right character at your disposal, and vice versa. The physics in the game vary slightly by character, but overall feel polished and crisp.
88 Heroes is an extremely fun platformer that gives players the freedom to play the game how they want to play it. Do the 88 heroes save the day? Or does Dr. H8 ultimately get the last laugh? Get your copy of 88 Heroes on PS4, Xbox 1, PC, Mac or Linux on March 24th.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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