Review: Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition
Imagine living in a world where the mayoral candidate is a purple anthropomorphic bunny from the future and you have to clean up the city for him. This isn’t a dream for Steve, this is real life. Not A Hero Super Snazzy Edition follows professional assassin turned amateur campaign manager Steve as he gathers a band of people to help him clear out the scum from the underworld of the city and get a giant bunny from the future elected. Perfectly normal day.
Indie developers Roll7 are best known for their skateboarding classic OlliOlli, which reduces the much loved mechanics of skateboarding games down to their 8 bit core. Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition, published by Team17, follows this recipe too, this time taking on the duck and cover shooter genre and adding their comical 8 bit flare.
Each level starts with a briefing by candidate for mayor Bunnylord that not only serves to give you an overview of the level ahead, but can also give you hints about which character might be the best to use. You unlock these characters as you progress through the game increasing the approval rating and each character has their own special ability; sliding, quick reload speed etc. It’s easy to start favouring a character more than the others, like Samantha with her quick ‘reload on the run’ ability, but you do get pushed out of your comfort zone and into using another character after you’ve watched your favourite die over and over in failed attempts to finish the level. Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition also comes with three bonus levels in which you get to play as the great purple beast himself; Bunnylord.
It’s not just a bad choice of character that can cause you to have to restart the level either, the game has a slight Dark Souls-esk ‘learning by dying’ element. You can fall a certain distance without too much problem, though if you fall too far you break your legs and have to restart. Occasionally, you can only find out just how far you plummet by, well, plummeting.
And restarting in Not a Hero means just that, you go back to the start, there’s no savepoints in this game! This can get a little frustrating at times, especially when you die near the end of a level, though the levels themselves aren’t overly long so it’s not the chore it could have been if the game was more of a dungeon crawler. Having to start again from the beginning can give you a certain sense of conviction that you will conquer the level this time round and certainly reminds you of the days before we were spoilt with savepoints and respawn locations. The combination of this restarting over and over and the art style certainly give Not a Hero a great modern day retro feel.
The restarting can get a little tiring however as each level is very similar to the last one. Even though you have played through the first zone and beaten the boss there, you are rewarded by very similar levels this time in a different colour. Platform based games of course all have a similar feel to them, though the design could have been a little more varied as it can feel like you’ve been looping round on the same level for quite some time.
The sound design on the game is great and again tickles that nostalgic retro part of your brain. The voice acting is scaled down to a few sentences, though each character has a different personality brought through in the varied accents from the Danny Dyer style Steve to the silky Welsh tones of the rather aggressive Samantha. The voices have been treated to a lovely retro makeover and sound just like the tinny voices that used to shout at us from our 386’s speakers. The music too has a great vibe that can best be described as 8bit elevator jazz and blends well into the background, adding to the game without being distracting or getting annoying over time.
Overall, for what initially looks like a really simple game, Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition is actually really quite challenging. It does however fall on the good side of challenging in that you have to restart and work things out, but you can complete the level before throwing the controller across the room in a fit of rage; it’s difficult and challenging, but still incredibly playable and enjoyable. The extra bonus tasks on each level means there’s certainly ‘replayability’ here too, which vary from speedruns and killstreaks to killing everyone on the level and finding a turtle.
Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition is an addictive platformer that scales back the genre in a way that only Roll7 can do and it will be interesting to see what genre they will take on next. With its simplistic art style and colourful, challenging levels, this game is sure to become a classic…and it has a large purple bunny from the future that buys you milkshakes, what’s not to love?
Not a Hero: Super Snazzy Edition is out now for Xbox One.by