Super Action Hero
Platforms: iPhone (reviewed), iTouch and iPad
Release Date: 16 August, 2012
A lot of games revolve around playing as the hero of the story, some even cast you as a super hero, and isn’t that a big part of why games are so fun? You get to go around beating up bad guys, saving the day, and being all cool and whatnot at the same time. Super Action Hero brings this to the iOS with a stick figure twist. So does this crime fighting app measure up?
The controls are pretty simple and easy to pick up, there’s a d-pad in the left bottom corner and an action button in the right bottom corner. A combination of directions from the d-pad with the action button makes different combos from powerful uppercuts to being able to pick up your enemy and throw him at others. There is a tutorial that takes you through all these moves, but they’re all fairly organic and chances are you’ll figure them out (or get them by accident) without trying too hard. A lot of these moves are flashy and some are often used accidentally so at first your little stick figure might seem a little out of control, especially given how fast the guy moves.
You’re given a bunch of health, which should last you plenty as you take on the different bad guys. It’s not the bad guys that I found giving me the most amount of trouble, it was the environments. As the game progresses you start to find yourself in more and more threatening situations (like having to escape a slow moving explosion by continuously hopping up platforms, God forbid you misjudge it and fall). And in these situations you also have to defeat the evil minions. Some achievements even have the aim of getting through a level without fighting at all, which is doable. The game makes a bit of a shift from arcade fighter style to platformer for some of the levels, which will either aggravate or entertain you. It certainly doesn’t get dull and – even if you’re raging – you won’t want to put it down.
There’s a huge amount of customization that you can give your character as you go along in the game, conquering levels and finding new swag such as masks or weapons to don. You earn points, which you can spend on upgrades to your skills, so there’s a bit of an RPG element mixed in there too.
One big issue for the game was bugs. A few times the game crashed when I tried to go in to customize a mask I wanted to wear. Then the game would refuse to start, saying that the save I was trying to load was from a different device and I needed to go back to my original device. This happened a few times but was fixed by restarting the app, until it just became a consistent problem that I couldn’t fix no matter what I tried short of re-installing it. I seemed to have stumble across a game-breaking bug and I’m not sure exactly what happened because it was working one moment and gone the next.
It also doesn’t want to run unless you exit your other applications first, because it needs the processing power. That I am not surprised by, it’s a good-looking app and responds well (when it chooses to run), but the fact that it demands complete attention may be something that turns you off it a bit. Once these issues are resolved it will be a far stronger game, and much more enjoyable when you don’t have to pray that it will recognize that it is actually the same phone.
The graphics are really great, not only are they high quality but they’re also superbly stylized and the whole thing feels like a cross between a comic book and someone’s skilled doodlings. It really is a joy to look at and it reaches back into that imagination that everyone had as a kid and brings it to the surface. The moves are sort of over the top in the awesome way that makes it more fun and that you don’t tire of seeing.
Every super hero needs a kick ass theme song and the soundtrack behind Super Action Hero works really well with the game, instead of against it as some can do. The audio adds to the experience and isn’t something that will have you reaching for the mute button.
Super Action Hero is definitely an app that will keep you invested for a while. Not only is the gameplay fun and addictive, as well as the levels being interesting and different enough to keep you invested, but it’s just a fun game. There are definite flaws, and having such an awesome app have a game-breaking bug is something that really needs to be examined hard and fixed in an update, because otherwise you’ll find yourself wanting to play this fun, addictive game, but unable to because it’s decided to give up on life.