The election for Mayor is in 22 days, and if Bunnylord loses the popular vote, the world is going to end somehow.
Set in the colourful underbelly of England’s organised crime world, Not a Hero puts you in charge of a team of criminals, gun nuts, superheroes and functioning alcoholics as you clean up the streets of crime by fighting it with… crime. Mayor hopeful and criminal mastermind / vigilante Bunnylord, a giant talking purple rabbit in a suit, needs your help to gain favour with the voters. Standing in his way are three criminal syndicates comprising of Mobsters, Rude Boys, and Yakuza.
This 2D cover-based action game relies on quick deadly playthroughs with tons of replayability. Each level has 1 task to complete and 3 optional subtasks that range from collecting items, to not taking hits, to timed-based “get to the payphone” missions. These can be easy or hard-as-balls because the levels are packed to the gills with a variety of gun-toting enemies with infinite ammo and little sense of self-preservation.
At the start of each level you choose a character. Steve is the only one unlocked at the beginning of the game and serves as the character that, as he states himself, is “no frills, just death”. Every other character is unlocked as you complete missions and subtasks. They bring their own style of gameplay into the mix, with drawbacks and benefits that lend themselves to be great in some stages, and terrible in others.
Each character has 3 basic techniques. They can shoot. They can roll/slide, either into enemies to knock them down, or behind cover to avoid gunfire. And they can execute, which is a combination of knocking them over and shooting them for an instant kill. Each character has a different speed, rate of fire, and bullet capacity. Some can pick up items such as grenades and turrets, while others have their own special abilities.
While some special weapons aren’t availabe to all characters, enemies do randomly drop bullet upgrades that effect your basic weapon for a single clip. Nade-shots and Fat Boys are my favourites, providing stupid levels of firepower. High-capacity clips and Speed Reloaders increase your rate of fire, and Thru-Shots will take out an enemy even in cover.
We’ve uploaded a playthrough of the first part of the game here.
Speaking of cover, it’s a key element to Not a Hero, practically everything provides cover and your enemy will use it constantly, as should you. They’ve captured the feeling of a shoot-out perfectly in this game, as you can only hit your enemy out of cover. So timing your shots as they poke out is crucial. But the option to charge head-long and slide tackle them out of cover is also there if you’re that kind of player.
The game takes itself seriously. Seriously funny. Every character has quips, insults, and comments as they run through the levels. The voice acting is great and extremely diverse. It makes the game feel like you’re playing through a Guy Ritchie film with the amount of back-and-forth commentary during shootouts in apartments.
While explosive, fast, and hilarious, Not a Hero has one glaring drawback. It’s small. The game takes very little effort to 100% complete, even including the hidden levels. The harder subtasks can be completed quickly through the nature of the game relying on quick reloads and replays. I managed to clear through the entire game in a couple of hours. Which is fine, but once you’re done your done. The game page boasts dynamic levels but that’s a lie. Dynamic levels would lead you to believe that each time you play a level it is different, but that’s simply not the case. Level 7, every single time you play it, will be level 7. The special weapons are always in the same place, and the bad guys are in their set positions. Only minor and irrelevant things are different. Sometimes the enemies will be in a different state of their patrol path. Sometimes instead of “collect 3 rat heads” it’ll be “collect 3 robots“, or “collect 3 milkshakes“. But it will always be 3, and they’ll always be in the same 3 spots. But to counteract all of this, the price point for Not a Hero is spot on. It’s not one of those indie games that have the gall to charge 50 bucks for 5 hours of gameplay.
The game’s ‘randomness‘ can be a bit grating at times. The intro and outro sequences for every level are long-winded and full of silly jokes. They’re chosen from a pool so each time it’s different, which lessens the blow a little bit. But you’ll find yourself skipping the cut scenes shortly into your playthrough, as they offer nothing you will miss.
Graphically the game speaks for itself. The animations and the colours are amazing. The music is very similar to Hotline Miami, a lot of hard beating electronic tracks to get the blood pumping as you blast your way at the speed of a cheetah. Awesome soundtrack.
Quick to pick up, difficult to master, Not a Hero is a frantic violent shoot-em-up that does not disappoint. It’s short, but it’s cheap. Worth every cent. Get out there and save those pandas! (Seriously the panda waves at you, it’s the cutest thing ever).
Not a Hero is available on Steam