With Dr.H8 on a war path to annihilate the earth, and the world’s best heroes currently unavailable, the 88th president of the United States gathered 88 of earth’s not so great heroes to take him down before it’s too late. With 88 heroes, you might think it should be a cakewalk to take down DR.H8, but with some of the most obscure powers, (like a pizza eating armadillo), it’s going to be a challenge to stop that evil mastermind.
88 Heroes is the first game developed by indie studio Bitmap Bureau, which happened to be founded in February of last year. Hopefully Bitmap Bureau can hit it out of the park and make a name for themselves right out the gate. With each hero having their own mechanics, it does make the journey through the 88 levels quite interesting. Having a new hero on every level and each time you die, can be quite difficult, but it does make the experience more enjoyable.
At first glance, 88 Heroes may seem just like any other modern day 2D pixelated platformer with a beautiful art style, chiptune-esque music, and sprinkled in with some shout outs to some classic action films; but after a couple levels you begin to see what 88 Heroes can be. You find your way through each level attempting to reach the elevator to get you a little closer to Dr.H8 while taking advantage of each hero’s special ability, or succumb to the level due to the ridiculousness of your heroes power (or lack thereof). Now it does get a little frustrating when you have already wasted more than a few heroes on one level, but that’s the charm of the game. Without a very engaging story, (much like those classic action films), 88 Heroes has to win you over another way, and that’s where the zaniness and sense of accomplishment get you.
The lineup of heroes Bitmap Bureau has brought to the game is wonderful, with references to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Microsoft, Mario Bros and other great media from the 80’s and 90’s. Don’t be mistaken, Bitmap has brought some original heroes into the mix as well, such as Miss Fortune, (She flips a coin and if you’re lucky she takes you straight to the elevator at the end of the level, but if you aren’t, you’re dead on the spot and down one hero), or Nibbles the destroyer, (A nearly indestructible gerbil in a run-about ball), plus many more creative heroes. The colorful cast of heroes that Bitmap has crafted for your adventure wouldn’t be nearly as great if their villain wasn’t just as zany as them. Dr.H8 watches over our heroes from the safety of his hideout (except for some difficult little boss battles, that can deplete your supply of heroes if you aren’t careful). While you overcome Dr.H8s Treacherous rooms you also get to see some insight on how he truly feels and the way he treats his robot henchmen, (it isn’t very good).
I won’t tell you 88 Heroes is an easy game, because I would be lying to you. Bitmap Bureau has made a challenging and fun platformer, with some puzzle elements to their gameplay. You might disagree, but solving each and every room with a new hero is a puzzle within itself, having to understand how each heroes power works and ways to manipulate it to your advantage. One could say there’s 88 ways to tackle each room, but you know there’s probably more. Occasionally you’ll be able to breeze through a room getting that perfect score with your first hero, other times you could lose a hero or two along the way for not playing it smart and going in too fast. Bitmap Bureau really did something special with the change of heroes, bringing in an extra level of difficulty with a puzzle element and still making it fun to play.
Not only is it fun with a high level of difficulty, but it’s also feels great to play. You might be a little confused at first when learning each of the hero, but after you work out the kinks each hero feels great. This is no easy accomplishment, with 88 different heroes and there are some awkward powers, but they all feel smooth.
With everything great that Bitmap Bureau does, 88 Heroes still has it’s flaws. One of the biggest things I felt the game was missing was a little story, maybe a cutscene every so often with some witty banter between some of the heroes and maybe Dr.H8. A little more story would have pulled everything together, if done the right way. Also, maybe a selection of three heroes each time you die or hit a new level, just to ease up on the difficulty, which might push some people away from this wonderful game.
Bitmap Bureau did a great job on 88 Heroes, with its zaniness and overall fun. It’s really inviting for players who enjoyed platformers, but then adds that puzzle flavor which really opens up the game, and that’s why 88 Heroes gets a solid 4. I definitely recommend you go out and pick it up today. You can pick up 88 Heroes on Steam, The PlayStation Store, and on the Microsoft Store for $14.99.
Released on March 24, 2017
Developed by Bitmap Bureau
Published by Rising Star Games
Reviewed on PS4
A review copy was provided for the purpose of this review.
Check out the trailer for 88 Heroes below: