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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: XSEED Games
Developed By: Opus
Genre: RPG
Players: 1-4
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: October 13, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When you think of Role-Playing Games, you think of epic adventures that take hours upon hours to completed and also require lots of character grinding in order to progress through the game smoothly. Looking to change the way people viewed RPGs, XSEED Games and Opus teamed up to create Half-Minute Hero for the PlayStation Portable. While you will still be taking part in epic adventures and leveling up your character, the action within Half-Minute Hero is very fast-paced and harkens back to the classic games of old. With unique gameplay mechanics and visuals, Half-Minute Hero is a gaming experience that will be enjoyed everyone looking for a break from the typical RPG.

A half minute… 30 seconds; isn’t really a long time to complete a battle sequence, let alone a level. The whole notion that several of your missions/levels will be completed within 30 seconds or lest is rather baffling, and the prime reason why Half-Minute Hero will stand out compared to other titles. And with that, there are four unique gameplay modes--Hero 30, Princess 30, Evil Lord 30 and Knight 30--wrapped around four characters--the Hero, the Princess, the Knight and the Evil Lord. While each mode offers its own unique experience, they are actually all tied together due to the return of the Ultimate Evil and his conquest to end the world. First on the list is Hero 30, which actually stands out as the most entertaining experience of the four modes. Within this mode, you take control of a simple boy, who must defeat various enemies within 30 seconds. Why thirty seconds?, well it’s because some evil fart has been roaming the lands, giving people the power to cast a spell, destroying the earth within 30 seconds. On his journey to vanquish evil, you are joined by the Time Princess who will act as an informant when problems arise and also grant you the ability of getting a fresh 30 seconds on the clock providing you pray to one of her statues.

As you vanquish monsters and enemies, you will earn gold shillings, which can be used to purchase healing items, weapons, and new armor within towns and for praying to the Time Princess. If not praying for forgiveness or picking up a few items, you will find yourself roaming around the lands looking for your next random battle. When you encounter an enemy and the game enters the battle sequence screen, the action mimics that of Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots. Both you and the enemy run are going head-to-head, with the only difference being you have no control of the actions of your characters. As you run into one another, health is being depleted from your life meter until either you are defeated or your enemy combatant. Another interesting thing about the combat is that you will find your character leveling up at an alarming rate as you go from one enemy to the next. Once you become worthy of facing the boss, the words “You>Evil” will appear on screen, granting you access to your toughest battle at the moment.

Continuing with the gameplay modes, we have Princess 30, which gives off the feel of a classic shooter. Within this mode, you take on the role of the Princess who must venture out into the world in order to acquire items that could possibly save the life of her ill-fated father. Because of her father’s illness, the town is very fearful of possible outside attacks, so while the Princess is out looking for items for her father, the Queen only plans on leaving the kingdom doors open for 30 seconds. That means you have 30 seconds to leave the kingdom, defeat enemies, find your items, defeat more enemies and return to your family. Some may wonder how a mother and father could send their only child out into the world, facing down fearsome foes and being surrounded by constant danger… well it’s because she has a group of castle guards carrying her on a mini throne, while she attacks enemies with her crossbow. Just like in Hero 30, the Princess will have the aid of the Time Princess for a small fee.

Rounding out the four gameplay modes are Evil Lord 30 and Knight 30, which are your basic RTS and action games (respectively). With Evil Lord 30, you will be tasked with summoning the correct troops in order to counteract the advances of the enemy. In this mode, not matching the right troops can and will result in you loosing countless enemies on the battlefield, so remember that Shooters>Brutes>Nimbles, etc. Did I mention that all this will take place within a 30 second battle? I think by now, you have gotten the gist of the game. Finally, in Knight 30, you are tasked with letting the timer run out and protecting a sage from evil adversaries as he casts a spell to wipe out all baddies in the area. Instead of simply keeping enemies from breaking through your defenses, you will have to pick up and carry the sage to safer ground in order to finish casting his spell. Same great 30 seconds, unique and game-changing gameplay.

And just when you think the action is done, you can jump right into some multiplayer action. With up to three other players, you can battle through Hero 30, only this time there are some very noticeable differences. Firstly, the timer doesn’t stop when you enter towns to pick up items and weaponry. Second, while it may seem like you are working together, you are actually playing against one another to find out who is the “True Hero”. Though you won’t find the multiplayer as meaty as the single-player gameplay modes, it’s still a worthy addition to the overall gameplay experience. Additional gameplay modes are also unlocked upon completed all four original gameplay modes.

While the action and gameplay mechanics have certainly stolen the show within Half-Minute Hero, the visual presentation that Opus placed on the game is something to truly marvel at. The visual stylings hark back to the games of the 70s-80s, where 8-bit games ran rampant and visuals didn’t matter at all. Back then, practically all characters looked alike, with the exception of their color. Within Half-Minute Hero, each and every character sprite is highly detailed and colorful, though you won’t be able to make out an eyebrow from an eyeball. The environments, though 2D, are nicely designed and mess with the type of action that’s going on onscreen within a particular gameplay mode. Onscreen text is clearly readable. All in all, a solid visual experience is to be had with Half-Minute Hero.

What can I say about this game that hasn’t already been said…Solid visuals, and immersive single-player experience, memorable characters and moments, 30 second battles. The PSP has certainly come into its own this year and this is yet another title that showcases the uniqueness of the PSP and its game library. If you are into RPG games, you will find this title rather entertaining and well worth the money spent. If not, you still will find the uniqueness of the gameplay interesting and worthy of a playthrough.


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