(Review) No Heroes Here

There are a lot of cooperative games on Steam currently all vying for attention with mixed success for me. I’ve been slowly losing interest in games that pit me against my friends instead of playing with them. I’ve recently discovered Overcooked 2 and enjoyed that (I do need to get back to that eventually). No Heroes Here was crafted in the same vein, but within the tower defense genre instead of cooking. Oh, and a lot more chaos to be sure! How does it play out though? Fairly well actually. Let me break it down for you.

The introduction/tutorials are useful and fun. It doesn’t feel like a slog to get through… at least the first time.

The first thing I want to mention are the pixelated graphics. There are a few people in the review section that lament the choice from the developers for going this direction. I cannot stress enough that this style is a legitimate medium to do games on. You can make it ultra-realistic or super-pixelated or somewhere in between. It’s a matter of choice and while many people may focus on how much effort it takes to make something look as good as the latest Call of Duty, making pixel games is not as simple as one may think. You’re working with less and still need to create something that you can easily recognize. That’s no simple task and you would know that had you ever tried to create a whole game’s worth of assets that don’t look like hot garbage. You can not like the style, but that’s very subjective (as is art in general). If you try the game out with some buds, you’ll know how much fun No Heroes Here is and fun will almost always transcend some simplistic issue you may have with a game.

There’s always another mechanic to add in. I was kind of glad to see the honey leave though if I’m going to be honest… then again torches…

Speaking of playing with some buds, that is most definitely where No Heroes Here shines. I mean that in a “don’t play with two people” way too. The game feels designed specifically with four people in mind. It’s not that it’s easier to win at that point (although it is technically), it’s that you can get away without using all of the in-game mechanics as much. There are special types of ammo in the game and when you start taking out players or just don’t have enough buddies over, you’ll start to think it’s rather impossible to win certain stages. Well, true as that may be in some aspects, if you’re not using everything at your disposal, you’ll be struggling. If you check the Steam community, you’ll see the devs tell people who are a little frustrated to remember to use the honey ammo to slow groups of invaders down. That’s all well and good, but when there is only two of you, it can get pretty nerve-wracking. You’ll be having to make game plans and set up stashes of materials in the beginning and make sure that you have honey available at all times. No Heroes Here definitely will challenge you if you want it too (and if you don’t want it to).

Teamwork. Teamwork. Teamwork. You really need to work together! Disorganized chaos can only carry you so far. What the crap is up with the chicken? Do bad guys stop to eat?

That is also where my first gripe is. I was told there is a single player mode and I’ve been wondering where that actually is. There doesn’t seem to be a specific option on the menus anywhere. Am I missing something? Is it just the option to go into local play and not have anybody join you? Has any one here actually tried that? You’ve got to swtich back and forth between two units and manage all of the guns with the cleaning and crafting by yourself. It’s tough enough with two people. There seems to be the same number of baddies as well and I’m sure I’ve not got the APM of a Korean Star Craft 2 player. Needless to say, I can’t play No Heroes Here solo, but it’s clearly labeled as such. Maybe I’ll have to check some let’s plays… and then be shamed and have to hang my head for a while.

If you want a challenge, No Heroes Here will give it to you. If you play the main story-line levels, you’ll be challenged. If you try the side-levels, they push even tougher obstacles on you and seem that the only way to beat them is precision without luck. I’m not sure I’ll make it to that level of skill.

As you progress in No Heroes Here, the levels get more funky and more mechanics get added in. The first set of levels are called Noobland (maybe this was supposed to be the easy area?). In it you’ll learn the basics of how No Heroes Here works. You need to grab ore, take it to the smelter and then to the workbench to craft the actual cannonball which you’ll then need to take it to the cannon. You’ll also need gun powder also created at the work bench to fire the cannon. After firing the cannon you’ll then need to clean it. Sounds simple enough right? Well sometimes, as far as bad guys go, there’s just to many of them. That’s where the special bullets come in. In the first area it’s honey which stays on the ground for a set amount of time to slow down enemies. This will be very important when they start to introduce the enemies that help speed up other baddies. In the second area, they abandon the honey and replace it with a freezing mechanic. There are water balloons that freeze baddies and, if you miss, helps them slide faster to your castle. Also, all of your stations will freeze unless you keep the braziers lit, keeping everything warm. Originally I thought this was easier than the honey, but I have since changed my mind. I’ve made it to the end of the second area so I’m now I’m looking forward to what the third level has to offer. Up to this point it has been a crazy-joy to play-through with my wife and bud. I would have liked a random map selector outside of the game that you go in and pick your characters and then get thrown into the fire. That would be a cool mode/option to add.

I really enjoy co-op games. When they are done well, it’s probably one of the most satisfying gaming experiences one could have. Some of my best gaming memories were had in MMO’s playing with friends. In that sense, I would have loved more people to be online with No Heroes Here, but alas there has been no one available for a random game. On the flip side, this game hits the right tone with cooperation that I’ve got people who want to play with me this go around. When you work as a team and defeat a tough challenge it feels great! There are a lot of different level setups so when you think they couldn’t make it any more difficult for the sake of difficulty, they prove you wrong. I like the different mechanics they add in and the crafting keeps things frantic while still not bogging down gameplay. The challenge levels (specifically) are a bit much for me and mine, but I guess we’ll just have to beef up our skills. No Heroes Here is a fantastic game. They should make a demo available…

Further Reading on No Heroes Here: Facebook / Official Page / Steam

Love it or hate it, let me know!