Sunday, February 28, 2016

Heroki (iOS) Review

On SuperPhillip Central's march towards March, we have a new review to share together. It's a mobile game that is currently exclusive to iOS devices. It's Heroki, and it absolutely surprised me with its quality.

Fun takes flight

There are just some games that take you back to your childhood. For me, my childhood was defined by two video game systems: the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. Both saw a wide array of mascots, but since we're talking about a game published by Sega for this particular review, let's focus on the latter. The Sega Genesis saw many mascots, obviously Sonic the Hedgehog, but many others such as Ristar, Dynamite Headdy, Alex Kidd, and many more. It's why it's so amazing that Picomy's Heroki looks and plays just like a Sega game from the publisher's Genesis days, and that is very much high praise.

Heroki has you taking the titular character with a propeller on his head for a spin through 24 colorful and delightful levels spread out across three worlds. In each level, you'll have to defeat enemies, dodge obstacles, hit switches and buttons to open doors, and reach the goal ring at the conclusion of each level.

Levels are spread out affairs where there is some backtracking in them; usually when you hit one button to open a formerly sealed door in a portion of a level you've already visited. The backtracking didn't really annoy me, save for the underwater levels where Heroki's movements are slowed down just slightly. Otherwise, outside of water, Heroki moves a decent clip, making any need for backtracking not as tedious as it might sound.

One of the 120 Emerils that Heroki can stumble upon. Can you collect them all?
Heroki himself has an arsenal of moves bestowed onto him. For one, he can grab and hold crates, and then he can aim and throw at foes to dispatch them (somewhat similar to how Yoshi throws eggs in the Yoshi's Island series). If Heroki needs to descend quickly, one tap of a button does this, also allowing him to crash through blocks made out of clouds.

This big blue croc stands/sits/rests between Heroki and this Emeril.
Each level is scored by how many collectibles you gather. In total, there are six golden letters to find which spell HEROKI, five Emerils that when you gather enough unlock new moves at the end of a given world, and one treasure chest that houses presents for Heroki's home or extra lives. These collectibles can be out in the open like many of the HEROKI letters, but to find the Emerils and treasure chests you'll need to search high and low, far and wide, and so forth. Many borrow from the New Super Mario Bros. playbook and place them behind fake walls, ceilings, and floors. However, each have a geographic hint to them such as marking or crack to assist.

Ah, the golden 'H'! The first of many letters to find in this level!
Outside of venturing through levels, Levantia is the safe bastion away from danger where Heroki can chat with the locals, stock up on helpful items, participate in various mini-games, and explore to his heart's content. While Levantia is a nice excursion to the game, it isn't by any means a necessary place to visit regularly unless you're eyeing some of Heroki's achievements.

There are three touch control styles to Heroki, and my personal favorite of these options puts a virtual joystick on the screen wherever you touch in order to guide Heroki around. The virtual buttons also allowed me to use his special moves such as a dashing bash through walls and doors, a move that slows everything down, giving the player enough time to draw a path for a wind gust. This wind gust is great for turning on fans, removing sand piles, dissipating poisonous smoke, and moving certain objects.

No worries-- Heroki is definitely pulling his weight on his adventure.
The other two control styles for touch controls are pushing, where you move your finger on the screen, and Heroki will move in the opposite direction of your digit. Finally, there is the pull option, where you drag your finger around the screen and Heroki follows.

A problem with all three of these control styles, however, is that you do not get an optimal amount of precision with any of them. Instead, there are moments where Heroki will move too far in one direction, perhaps even unintentionally run into an enemy, causing him damage. Thankfully, Heroki is such a beginner-friendly game, and there are plenty of checkpoints that death isn't too big of a punishment.

Don't mind Heroki, Mr. Cactus and Mr. Condor. He's just passing through.
If you have one (and you really should for some iOS games), an MFi controller works wonders with Heroki. Controlling the game is an absolutely joy with an actual d-pad and buttons, each assigned to a different power of our propeller-ed protagonist. Still, even without a controller with tangible buttons, Heroki is a pleasure to play.

Aside from being a pleasure to play, Heroki is also a pleasure to look at. The game is absolutely gorgeous, offering stunning characters models, colorful graphics, beautiful backgrounds, and everything running at a steady frame-rate for the most part. It's as if the artists got out a big fat crayon with the color name printed on its side being "awesome." The music of Heroki is suitably charming as well, bringing with it cheery themes that don't offend the ears by any stretch of the imagination.

Movement is a bit more sluggish when Heroki is underwater.
Like I said in the introduction of this review, Heroki really does feel like an artifact from the Sega's Genesis days-- obvious technological advances not withstanding. Although the touch controls are imperfect and there is some backtracking to be found that some might find tedious, Heroki is a well designed, breezy game that seldom failed to put a smile on my face. Whether it was while searching high and low for a level's hidden treasure chest or taking on the final boss in a dramatic showdown in the lightning-filled clouds, Heroki is a wonderful gem of a mobile game throughout its ten-hour duration. Fly on, Heroki. Fly on.

[SPC Says: B+]

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