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88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition Review: The Z-Team

/ Nov 9th, 2017 No Comments

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition review

Sometimes all it takes is a solid gimmick to get you over. In video games, a gimmick is often the pre-cursor to a novel re-invention of tried and true mechanics, or it helps break the monotony of a stale genre.

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition has a really strong gimmick. In most respects, its gimmick helps elevate it, but what makes you keep coming back is its solid mechanics. Cutting away its humor and personality, 88 Heroes is a challenging and enjoyable platformer.

Crazy 88’s

At 8:08 on Aug. 8, 1988, Dr. H8 holds the world hostage with 88 thermo-nuclear warheads pointed directly at Earth. If his ransom isn’t delivered within 88 minutes, it’s all over.

Normally you’d expect the best of the best to hear the call to action and take the fight to Dr. H8. The brightest, strongest and bravest of the world’s heroes would come together to stop total annihilation, right?
 

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition review

The humor and personality of the 88 heroes is what makes it such a fun little story.

Expect the unexpected is what 88 Heroes teaches you to do best. Instead of the best, you get a ragtag group of heroes; heroes that couldn’t be expected to help get a cat down from a tree much less stop a maniacal alien with nukes pointed at Earth.

Yet, that’s all we got. Somehow these 88 rejects will have to stop Dr. H8.

88 Heroes has a simple premise. There isn’t a ton of elaboration from the game’s short opening scroll, but it does a lot of its storytelling with little story beats. It is thanks to the backstory and design of the heroes that the plot fills in. Stopping Dr. H8 with terrible heroes goes a long way to creating this ultimate underdog story.
 

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition review

Conga Master’s useful for getting the party started, but probably not much else.

There is no way heroes like Jim Nastics, Ian_Error, Conga Master, Saxy Dave and four mutant armadillos should get anywhere near Dr. H8. Despite all the odds and lack of actual useful skills, somehow, someway these 88 heroes are able to pull it together and start making a dent in Dr. H8’s plan.

Two Trick Pony

What separates 88 Heroes from other tough-as-nails platformers is its conceit. The 88 heroes trying to stop Dr. H8 act as your lives. Every time you die or fail to beat a level within its 88-second time limit, you lose that hero forever. Your next life is a new hero chosen at random from what remains of the 88.

Each hero is characterized by being not particularly good or useful. Usually they can jump, but sometimes they can’t. Each has a “special” skill, but some don’t. There is no uniform nature to the heroes, which is cool … for a while.
 

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition review

It takes strong platforming skills to succeed later in the game.

The gimmick is fun and adds a lot of personality to the game, but it gets old after a while. Despite adding constraint to gameplay, forcing you to up your platforming skills, if you get a nothing hero you will likely die before you finish the level. The lack of uniformity among the heroes makes success hit or miss rather than skill-based.

In spite of the craziness the randomized heroes create, when you get a good string of heroes and you’re able to complete levels with some normality the game is fun. Levels also progressively get harder the deeper you get into the 88 levels of the game. It really puts your ability to adapt and platform to the test.
 

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition review

There are even some guest starring heroes to help give you some extra help.

Outside of the original mode, the 98 Heroes Edition offers plenty of extra modes to further add challenge and constraint to difficult levels. It offers a good deal of replay value to the core mode.

Overall

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition offers a lot of fun content and plenty of challenge. While the initial gimmick of the gameplay wears thin over time, the core platforming mechanics are sound and can easily hold your attention for 88 or 98 lives.

This is a great on-the-go Switch title, something you can easily hop into in transit or during a break.

88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the publisher

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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88 HEROES: 98 HEROES EDITION REVIEW: THE Z-TEAM

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall73%

GAMEPLAY7.5

The core gimmick of the gameplay is amusing at first, but results in a lot of constraint when compounded with the challenging platforming levels it creates a satisfyingly difficult experience.

GRAPHICS7

There is a lot of personality to the character design and the level design is well laid out, but it lacks the slickness you’d want from a 2D sprite-based platformer. GAMEPLAY

SOUND7

88 Heroes soundscape can be a cacophony of music, sound effects, and voice over at any given moment, but there is something about the chaos that matches the feel of the game.

STORY8

While 88 Heroes’ premise is simple, it wins you over easily with its charm and humor.

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