Monday, July 12, 2010

Indie Game Review: Helico Hero

Helico Hero: Xbox Live Indie Game: Developer: Cobalt270

Have you played that game where you have a Moon landing vehicle nicknamed Eagle or something; and instead of landing on a nice flat crater bed, the game has you maneuvering your awkward craft among cliffs and through tunnels to land on a piece of dirt two pixels wider than your spaceship?

Helico Hero is that game but with a helicopter. It doesn't take place on the moon but in one of those side scrolling cities that Rampage loved to feature. (It later moves on to forest and desert locations)

Helico Hero E

If I was one of those hip, profane reviewers this would be about the time I would point out that helicopter looks and controls like ass. Of course that very well might be the point, after all if the helicopter was easy to control then the game would have to come up with greater challenges than the current "try to fly a helicopter".

The controls are simple enough with the left Stick handling forward momentum and the right stick controlling your throttle. One pushes the A button to turn your engine on or off while the Y button flips the direction you are facing.

Helico Hero D

Like the lunar landing games above, your helicopter is often fighting forward momentum, which seems somewhat contrived for a game featuring a helicopter. After all it is a vehicle known for its ability to stop and hover at a moments notice. Indeed, despite rather strong sound effects, this simply doesn't feel like a proper helicopter game. For one thing, most helicopters can fly more than a city block or two without requiring refueling.

Helico Hero C

Graphically the 2d scrolling cityscape looks fine. The helicopter on the other hand is a disappointing collection of sprites. Disappointing and misleading, as your helicopter will often explode on contact with a building even though your lying eyes will swear they didn't actually touch. That round ending explosion by the way is easily the worst effect in the game; a simple and embarrassing orange cotton ball of fail.

Indeed you will get to see that pathetic explosion effect often as your Helico Hero is apparently made of hydrogen filled balloon animals coated in gasoline, which also may explain all the mysterious drifting during flight.

Your first mission involves flying from home base picking up a patient on a nearby building (do not follow the games actual directions by the way. the game will tell you to land near the pick-up, but alas this causes everyone to look at you as if you are on drugs. Apparently near is a euphemism for right on top of.) Then after you pick up said patient return to base to refuel (I am sure he will be okay ) and then proceed another four buildings to the hospital.

Helico Hero B

There are apparently racing missions later on, but since your helicopter moves with the speed of a turtle skateboarding up a steep incline I can only imagine the heart pounding action that is in store for the player.

I like flying helicopters in video games. In fact in my current avocation Just Cause 2, helicopters are my transit of choice (admittedly because planes in that game handle worse than the helicopters do in Helico Hero). Overall, Helico Hero simply isn't fun. The helicopter moves too slowly and simply doesn't feel like a helicopter should. Contrived challenges such as ridiculously limited fuel and flash paper vehicles feel like the artificial game contrivances that they are. What the game desperately needed was George, Lizzy and Ralph to come in and liven things up. (Who are respectively the King Kong-like gorilla, the Godzilla-like dinosaur/lizard and the 20 story giant werewolf from Rampage)

Score: Not even a dollar.

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Helico Hero A


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