ZHEROES is a loud, colourful reminder that the beat-em-up genre is still alive and kicking!
ZHEROES reminds me of a simpler time in gaming, it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t improve and instead it feels like they opted to keep it a little too close and similar to older siblings. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is fun for a quick pick me up, but just like it’s 90s brothers and sisters, such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight, it still suffers from problems that hasn’t got an excuse to be here any more.
Zheros is an action / 3D beat’em up game by Rimlight Studios where you play as one of two Zheroes Squad members; Mike and Captain Dorian in either one or local co-op two player mode. The Zheroes Squad’s goal is to combat crime across the vast Universe. An evil maniac known as; Dr. Vendetta wants to mutate every living creature and transform them into his minions to do his evil bidding. So it’s up to Mike and Captain Dorian of the Zheroes Squad to take him out. Simple, bare bones but it really doesn’t need to be anything more than that.
From the start you will be welcomed with gorgeous visuals, smooth animation and despite the lack of dialog from anyone, the characters are all likable with distinct personalities. The story is told in cutscenes and even though not a single word is spoken the animation and expressions do a flawless job in keeping you in the loop.
Each character, as you would expect, has their own set moves which you can unlock with RP’s (Reward Points), that you can collect by finishing the levels with enough golden tokens found in breakable boxes in the levels and the Gold Star which is hidden in each level.
At first you will notice your selected character to be very stiff, lacking in abilities, and not a wide range on enemies which unfortunately didn’t leave a great first impression. However I highly recommend you stick around until you have unlocked some of your extra abilities. Fighting becomes a lot more fluid, the range of enemies increases and you are soon forced to strategically think each punch, kick, special moves and combos your throw and thankfully becomes a lot more fast paced.
Due to some questionable decisions, it is not enough to save it from being rated higher. Both characters are still stiff and it makes it difficult to land each of your hits and platforming is just a nightmare. I’ve lost count the amount of times I died trying to jump over bottomless pits and it’s all thanks to the terrible jumping. You can’t go high nor far enough to jump over the pits accurately, the “Frickin Laser Beams” are annoying mainly because there isn’t enough time to pass through, so expect to take damage… a lot.
The lasers do however serve as a fun challenge when battling enemies. You could be surrounded by lasers and when enemies spawn, you need to carefully think about your positioning as to not take damage from them while at the same time dodging enemies. I loved moments like that… but when I needed to jump over the beams I died because I only had one hit left and the jumping SUCKS! Thankfully the checkpoints are well placed.
It may come off as daunting task to sit through repetitive gameplay, enemies and corridors in order to get to some of the good stuff, but it does make it fun in the end, just may be a little too late for some for you.
ALSO AVAILABLE ON XBOX ONE