Coming from Ratalaika, side scrolling beat ‘m up I Am The Hero has found its way to the Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita. Available now as a cross-buy title, we played the portable version of the game – which was developed by Crazyant.
Obviously, a major reason to play the Vita version is that the side scroller is very much underrepresented on the system. We had Muramasa Rebith and Dragon’s Crown pretty early on, but since then most brawlers have been of the 3D variety rather than the classic 2D arcade approach. I Am The Hero stays true to the classic formula, and even rocks a detailed pixel art style to make it feel even more “retro”.
While Dragon’s Crown and Muramasa Rebirth had gorgeous high definition graphics, I Am The Hero’s art style is pixelated without resorting to that 8-bit look that we see so often in indie titles. Instead, the game is packed with an impressive amount of visual detail, making it one of the Vita’s better looking titles when it comes to pixel graphics. What also helps is that it uses a slightly slanted perspective, giving a stylish illusion of 3D visuals to the package.
Gameplay-wise, I Am The Hero stays true to the classic beat ’em up formula while modernizing it in certain ways as well. You’re still walking or running through a level while pummeling opponents into submission using basic jumping, punching and kicking controls, but Crazyant has implemented several mechanics that stem from the modern fighting game genre as well – especially when it comes to combos.
As long as you don’t get hit in between your attacks (and don’t stay inactive for too long), you can rack up an impressive combo count when a couple of enemies are on screen at the same time. You can go aerial as well, as you juggle enemies and attacks in rapid succession. I Am The Hero is way more forgiving than the average fighting game is when it comes to combos though, as you’re permitted pretty long breaks in between attacks before losing your combo count – I was often surprised my streak was still going, making the game feel a bit more ‘casual’ than perhaps it was going for.
Unfortunately, the Vita version doesn’t allow for that kind of same-screen cooperative play that make many classic beat ’em ups so much fun to play (Double Dragon, Golden Axe and Final Fight stand out for me personally). It’s a sacrifice that’s required, and unfortunately there aren’t enough Vitas around for ad hoc to be a viable mode in recent games either – and I Am The Hero is no exception.
As a single player beat ’em though, I Am The Hero is well worth trying out. For an arcade-inspired title it’s got a decent two to three hour campaign. There are a few boss fights to tackle as well, but despite the elaborate combo system and many possible combinations of attacks, button mashing seems to be enough to get through most of the game at its default difficulty level. You can ramp up the challenge on subsequent playthroughs though, since completing the game unlocks additional difficulty levels.
A solid and fun choice for fans of the classic beat ’em up, who haven’t been spoiled for choice on the Vita. The lack of multiplayer is a little sad, but you get the PS4 version (that includes it) for free as well. It may not look and feel as polished as Muramasa, but I Am The Hero definitely makes for a fun few hours of punching and kicking your way through waves of enemies.