Review – Heroki

The definition of homage is a distinct honor or respect shown publicly. Often used in many forms of media, most notably the works of my favorite director, Quentin Tarantino, the homage is an honorary tactic used by the creator to recreate something from the original piece that primarily inspired them. A rip-off is defined as an inferior imitation of something. Cheaply done, it is devoid of respect towards the original piece and is habitually an act of desperation. Heroki, the latest flying/platformer, is a lazy installment that sits high atop in the latter.

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You’ll need to collect these to purchase abilities required to advance, but the incentive quickly dissipates.

Let’s get the positives out of the way as not all hope is lost with this installment. For starters, it has a story and build-up. It’s minimal at best, but at least there is something for anyone playing this to be initially invested in. You play as Heroki, hailing from the town of Levantia, where everyone has the power (or technology) of flight via propeller-head. Protecting the town of Levantia by granting everyone special powers (as long as they are in the city’s limits I guess) is the Emerix. Upon completing your training, the town is attacked by Dr. N Forchin and his sidekick Vapir, who steal the Emerix with plans to use it for evil. It is up to Heroki to travel level by level, collecting necessary items along the way, to retrieve the Emerix. Simple enough.

I will say that the controls are easy to master and have a very responsive feel to them. It starts off very basic, with only two buttons to worry about, but as you unlock, I’m sorry, purchase more required abilities, you’ll use more buttons. If you do not collect enough of the required item, you cannot progress and you have to play previous levels over again until you meet the requirements. Let me just say, regardless of how good a game can be, forcing that into a level-by-level game is unacceptable and mean-spirited.

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Gee, I wonder in what order I have to hit these clouds. Good thing it’s in numerical order, I don’t think I could withstand the pressure of anything different.

The graphics are harmless but don’t really stand out as something to marvel about. It’s a very festive looking environment, nothing but the brightest of colors flooding the palette. However, as bright as it may be, the characters are dull and derivative and the enemies lack imagination. The checkpoint system is a bit confusing and misleading. There are multiple paths in each level and many checkpoints to be found, but only one checkpoint can be active. So in the case that you may have accidentally backtracked and stumbled across a previous checkpoint, because it’s now inactive, you are initially fooled into believing that you’ve found a new route. That doesn’t compliment a game’s difficulty, it criticizes its level design.

I’ll gradually ease into my frustration with this game by starting off with the music. At first, the soundtrack is lively and full of character. That is until you notice the music loops after a pretty short amount of time. I always have a huge pet peeve for looping music as I tend to succumb to earworm, so if a track is going to loop, it better be good. Unfortunately, that is not the case with Heroki. It’s nothing special, so by the first level, I was already over the music and impatiently awaiting to start a new level so that I can listen to a different looping track. But oh no, that’s not at all what you are going to get. You are going to get the same looping track for each of the 9-10 levels in its respective world, something undeniably infuriating and annoying.

What bothers me the most about this game is its non-existent fun factor. This is mainly due to the fact that it is insipidly simple and irritatingly clichéd. Ultimately, it is the game’s many concepts ripped-off from much better games that made me feel belittled as a gamer. Let me list off a few. In every level you can collect letters to spell Heroki’s name for an extra life, like in Donkey Kong Country. You move your character by flying around with a propeller head, which instantly reminded me of Rayman Legends and Origins, both masterpieces. Also taken from Rayman, very blatantly, is how the “crowd” will gasp when you uncover a hidden route. When Heroki hurls an item at his enemy, he sounds identical to Link from The Legend of Zelda, so similar, that I actually had to check and see if it was the same voice actor.

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I can relate to that face.

I could go on and on about the little things in Heroki that were executed much better in previous installments. But I think you get the point. This game is a massively uninspired rip-off that bores the player with its hand holding easy difficulty. Further into the game I played, the quicker I wanted to finish the level as its uninspired and flawed level design gave me no incentive to continue on. Very young gamers may be too naïve to catch the lazily executed similarities, and others may not think it’s a big deal and that I am overreacting, but to me Heroki simply translates to “Rip-off.”

Graphics: 5.0

 

Bright color palettes do their best to bring life to dull characters and enemies.

Gameplay: 4.0

 

Responsive controls mean nothing if the level design is boring and flawed.

Sound: 3.0

 

Get ready to have ear-worm for the rest of your life.

Fun Factor: 0.5

 

If you’re going to take elements from other games, you better execute it well. Otherwise, it’s just a disrespecting slap to them and us.

Final Verdict: 3.0

Heroki is available now on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Heroki was provided by the publisher.

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