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Not a Hero Review: Born to Roll

/ May 26th, 2015 No Comments

Not a Hero

Politics is a shady game. The business of getting elected involves a huge investment of time, money and energy. Most politicians are content to say things they feel the voting public wants to hear instead of doing something to make a real difference in their constituents’ lives. But there is someone out there that wants to make a tangible difference in voters’ lives. It’s just that he is an anthropomorphic purple rabbit from the future with a retinue of psychopathic assassins carrying out the change.

Not a Hero ratchets up the fun meter to champion. It will melt your face off with its astounding mouse-heroes of crime-fighting justice and staggeringly breathtaking gameplay. The game has style oozing out of it with a great sense of humor and viscerally violent imagery.

Cleaning Up the Streets

The world is in profound danger. It needs a savior before some “like, heinous catastrophe” will happen to it. That would be bad. Luckily, there is just one person up to save us all — it just happens to be an anthropomorphic purple rabbit from the future named Bunnylord. That’s unimportant. What is important is if he isn’t elected as mayor on the 22nd of the month, then we’re all doomed. And doomed means no more milkshakes at Aunt Ruby’s for anyone.
 

Not a Hero

Bunnylord is a complicated rabbit with a simple plan.

Bunnylord’s mayoral campaign won’t be easily won, but the bunnyman’s got a plan. See, voters want their mayor to be bold and kick criminals in their “crappy faces.” That’s where you come in; Bunnylord needs you to get him elected. The plan is simple really. You and some other likeminded individuals with intense impulse control issues, itchy trigger fingers and a taste for extreme violence will clean up the streets by taking out the city’s crime problem. From low level thugs to the three gang leaders of the city, you and the Bunnylord Fun Club are going to do your civic duty by putting bullets in faces.

A huge part of Not a Hero’s charm is its infectious sense of humor. The game is loaded with pleasing gags, from the goofy dialogue and Bunnylord’s demented slideshow mission briefing to the particular quirks of the “not heroes” of the Bunnylord Fun Club. The game is bristling with hilarious moments thanks to its word-salad style of narration.
 

Not a Hero

Steve might need an adult.

Not a Hero randomizes specific parts of dialogue, McGuffins and imagery each time you load up a mission. This results in a word-salad approach to many narrative portions, and it is where a lot of the humor comes from. It is hit or miss, but it hits more often. Even if you’ve seen a mission briefing several times, you might find something new each time.

Bunnylord has a Posse

Talk and plans are great and all, but the real change comes from action. Your main action as part of the Bunnylord Fun Club is pulling triggers and putting bullets in faces, or beating people to death, or stabbing them. The point is you need to have nerves of steel, a cold heart and quick reflexes if you’re going to get the bunnyman elected. It is your job to get through 21 levels exterminating the criminal element, culminating in the execution of notorious gang leaders.

Each level is full of danger, but you’re a trained glad hander with a set of skills at your disposal. Whether it is the ability to run and reload, silent executions, dual-wielding pistols or carry a big shotgun, the waves of terrifying drug dealers, thugs and yakuza won’t stand a chance against you. In addition to your main weapon and special move, you can roll dodge to knock weaker enemies out and perform an execution move.

While you are a total bad ass, utilizing cover is important. In cover, you can avoid gun fire, reload safely and recover health. However, be sure not to stay in cover too long because you can get cornered with tons of enemies ready to riddle your fragile body with bullets once you come out.
 

Not a Hero

This brother is straight out of a John Woo flick.

As you mow through the dregs of society, you sometimes get access to power ups, making your bullets way more powerful and awesome. It can change them from regular bullets to grenade bullets that send enemies flying back and taking out anyone near them, or ricochet bullets that bounce around a room damaging everything in its blast radius.

That’s just scratching the surface. You’ll also find special weaponry around levels like grenades, cat bombs, proximity mines and turrets. These are vital to taking out enemies with extreme prejudice.

Every level has additional optional objectives outside of the main mission. These range from anything like collecting Ghetto Blasters to getting ever increasing kill streaks (killing enemies without taking damage) to saving all the hostages without any of them dying. Completing these optional objectives increases Bunnylord’s approval rating and unlocks new members of the Bunnylord Fun Club.
 

Not a Hero

Enemies explode in a beautiful fountain of blood and viscera.

Completing these objectives in addition to the main goal and not dying turns certain levels into intricate puzzles that require a mix of finesse, performance and skill. It becomes increasingly addictive to complete every objective in a level and up your rank. You’ll be restarting missions constantly trying to attain that murderous perfection.

The game features nine “not heroes” you can unlock over the course of gameplay. The majority of them will unlock by casually completing levels, but to get them all you will need to dig deep and get some Global Megalord rankings. Unlocking these new “not heroes” opens up a range of different gameplay opportunities as each one has their own unique skills.

Levels that seem impossible to perfect before can be a cinch thanks to a new psychopath. Tinkering with different “not heroes” and developing the best strategy for levels is a huge part of game’s charm and appeal. Plus, who doesn’t want to be a Spaniard in a pink shirt constantly gyrating their hips?

Overall

Not a Hero is a killer game, which subsequently allows you to play as a wide range of colorful killers. It is a sublime combination of style, attitude and fast-paced, difficult gameplay. Everything about the game is designed to keep you coming back for more. Whether it is improving your ranking on individual missions or unlocking new “not heroes,” Not a Hero will latch onto you and not let go until your thumbs are bleeding.

Not a Hero was reviewed on PC using a code for the game 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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NOT A HERO REVIEW: BORN TO ROLL

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall91%

GAMEPLAY9.5

Not a Hero's great achievement is its addictive and rewarding gameplay. It is fast-paced, visceral, and fun as hell with plenty of unlockable characters and ranking systems, there is plenty of reason to replay levels over and over...and over.

GRAPHICS9

The pixel art style is wonderful with an excellent use of color resulting in bright levels full of over-the-top violence and gore.

SOUND9.5

The soundtrack is a masterful mix of chiptune electronic music, and the vocal riffs in the game are charming as hell.

STORY8.5

Not a Hero's plot is exceedingly simple, get Bunnylord elected by any means necessary. It just happens the majority of those means involve shooting people in their face. Not a Hero is brimming with style and humor.