10 word description: Epic journey through a dangerous world. 26 levels. Physical puzzles.
10 word review: Emotionally engaging, extremely atmospheric. Seamless genre blend, great touch control.
You will like this if you enjoy: Surreal adventures guiding a nameless, almost shapeless protagonist through a series of increasingly strange and challenging dreamlike worlds. Imagine a blend of Spore, Galcon and Solar 2 in a Limbo style. Now add some Super Sprint racing with stealth and RTS combat elements. Or maybe just Pac-Man based in a primordial swamp. That comes close to describing this game.
The good news: The graphical style, while not unique, perfectly suits both the mysterious, organic theme and the ever evolving gameplay. The gameplay itself – an intoxicating mix of elements from various genres – initially impresses and continues to expand and surprise as you progress through the levels. The atmospheric and dynamic soundtrack demands earphones. It’s a great experience, but never at the expense of being a brilliant game – continually giving you more things to do and increasingly impressive ways to do them.
The bad news: None of this bad news matters, but I need to mention it as I know there are people who get upset when a game has no scoring system, 3-star level ratings, Game Center or a tutorial. Also, if you like a game to hold your hand every step of the way, you may feel just a little bit out of your depth here.
Arcadelife verdict: Hero of Many is a stunning iPad game. It wouldn’t feel out of place on Steam (PC) or as a console download, although the perfect touch system would always be the most intuitive way to control the game. Exploring is the key, exploring and discovering. The absence of a tutorial or any kind of explanation adds to the atmosphere of alienation and enhances the satisfaction that comes with each new discovery.
The general objective of each level is to travel from the entrance to the exit – which is sometimes the same place – avoiding or overcoming enemies and obstacles, solving physical puzzles and navigating the twists and turns of the labyrinthine environments. There is no map. There are no hints. There is no help. The game succeeds because none of that is necessary. Not only is it unnecessary, but the journey of discovery depends to a large extent on the unfamiliarity of the game world. Following a series of waypoints and instructions would significantly undermine the fun of finding out, breaking the sense of wonder as each new game element is introduced.
It’s a personal journey, an emotional story without words. There is no score, no rating apart from the fact that you know you’re getting deeper and deeper into a surreal and dangerous alien realm. This is not a game for Game Center leaderboard chasers or those who assess their gaming progress by the number of stars on the level select screen. This is a game for the rest of us, the ones who play video games because they’re fun.
Presentation – 9.5/10
Visuals – 9.5/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9.5/10
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
Hero of Many website link