Some games are able to make you smile and drive you to frustration in almost equal measure. Half minute hero (as I will refer to it) is one of those games. The need for quick faultless control and a certain amount of problem solving can make you need and want to replay a level in order to improve your time.
The short “games” are bite sized stories running in a theme of giving you thirty seconds to save the world. Each story has a similar set up and the stories are cute with a nice level of humour but they are not Shakespearean by any means. The depth comes from the gameplay. To finish this game you will need to complete a lot of fetch quests, monster kills and many other tasks in order to level up to take on the final boss. It’s a lot to do in thirty seconds and this is where the title of the game and the whole premise can be corrupted by the power of money and in this case Gold. You have a guide throughout the game called the Time Goddess and she is able to give you an extra 30 second when you need it, she is however rather greedy and you have to pay her for the privilege of her help. As she says “time is money” and each time you use the ability it becomes more expensive. You collect money in each game so you also have to earn everything in the allotted time there is no carry over.
As you can tell from the screenshots the graphics are 8 bit based they’re bright and very well created. The way the game works you do not miss the HD world and that shows the power of gameplay. In a vice versa situation games tend to fail as when mechanics are broken there is nothing to hold the game up over a sustained period of time. If developers keep chasing the ultimate visuals at the expense of gameplay we may as well just watch films, its the interaction with the story that makes games a truly interactive medium and this game is a prime example of that.
The sound is music based and can become slightly annoying (especially if your replaying a level) but it is in keeping with the atmosphere of the game. The speech is all text based an example of which can be seen in the screenshots. The text is clear and has a nice flow making it easy to read and so not taxing on the eyes, if you do intend to play for a prolonged period. Do pay attention to the story as it will give you clues to challenge you are about to face. There is an especially nice touch if you decide to skip the introduction, the text will scroll as if you have pressed fast forward and the beauty is that you will still see your objectives within the map on the screen making the gameplay time manageable.
This version of the game could be considered a game of the year edition. You get all the features from the PSP and XBLA versions as well as a few new tasty treats. Firstly the game has a number of distinct levels all covering a different genre of gaming. You begin with RPG and as you unlock modes different genres become open to you (as usual I will not spoil the unlocked modes except tom say you will cover a lot of different game types). This mechanic helps keep you on your toes and makes you want to unlock the next mode just to see what you will be facing next. This drive to continue playing is also evident in online scoreboards helping to create a competitive component to a single player title . There is also a new multiplayer aspect to the game (unfortunately I have not been able to put any time in to this mode many apologies) . The multiplayer is online and for up to 4 people I am interested in how they make this work and will check it out at a later date.
On starting the game you are told the best control input is by using a control pad (they use the Xbox controller as their visual representation). I found this to be true as the keyboard controls although customisable felt a little clunky. Even with the controller you do need to be precise as every second counts and overshooting a pathway is very easy to do and be the difference between success and failure.
My overall feeling is this title would be an almost perfect title for a Handheld. The ability to play a short level and then put it down or play for hours suits the portable gameplay experience (maybe just my old PSP bias coming through). This version is very good and I would recommend people to try this game especially if you like retro games or are an RPG novice as its an easy way to get into the principles of grinding without actually needing to grind over weeks and months. For the RPG veteran I have reservations if the lack of story depth will be enough to fulfill your needs. My advice to this breed of player is to use this title as a secondary game its perfect for a change of scenery when those hours spent playing Skyrim become far too much. However due to its gameplay and graphical style I do not think it will have universal appeal which is a shame as its a fun ride.
Buy It/Don’t Buy It = Buy
Will you play it 12 months later? = Maybe as a change