A decent, if a little repetitive, 8-bit distraction
When two troublemakers tip over the wrong tombstone and open a portal to another dimension, it’s up to the most unlikely cast of characters to save the day, including Abraham Lincoln, Indiana Jones, Robocop, and Neo from The Matrix. As one of the titular Random Heroes, it’s up to you to prevent a zombie and robot-filled apocalypse from destroying our world.
This old-school side-scrolling shooter was produced by Ravenous Games, the folks behind the excellent League of Evil platformers. Unfortunately, gamers expecting the same degree of crisp platforming and level variety will be left pretty disappointed: Random Heroes is simply a port of a less-impressive 2011 flash game of the same title.
The main adventure is pretty standard for what you’d expect from this sort of game: 8-bit visuals and two-button controls allowing you to jump and shoot. Controls are tight, and the game’s excellent chiptunes help keep things feeling intense. Each enemy you fell bursts into a shower of coins, which can then be reinvested into more powerful guns and costumes.
While there is a sizeable array of weaponry to choose from, the gap between each tier of weapons is hardly noticeable, making it most profitable for you to simply save up your cash for the very best weapon from the start of the game. You have the option to buy a handful of coins with real money via microtransactions, but the game itself will throw more than enough change your way to buy what you need. The different 8-bit homages to popular characters are cute, but are each very similar in play style and offer little more than a cosmetic change.
There are 30 stages in total for you to traverse, separated by a large boss fight at the end of each ten. While there are a decent handful of different enemy types, most of them only vary by how many bullets they can take before they fall. Boss fights typically go the same way: once you’ve figured out their single pattern, battles become a matter of dodging and patience.
Perhaps the worst part about Random Heroes is how repetitive it feels. Thirty stages is fairly sizeable for a platforming adventure (especially when compared to the original games it’s based off of), but the levels themselves are short and similar. All three worlds use a nearly identical color scheme, and unlike League of Evil, there wasn’t a single stage that I could remember as one that felt unique. Enemies get a little tougher as the game progresses, but the platforming challenges remain almost identical throughout the entire game.
In the end, Random Heroes is about what you’d expect: it’s quirky visual and audio style are fun to enjoy for a while, but the gameplay isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. If you find yourself craving a retro 2D side scroller, Random Heroes is definitely worth a try. However, unless you absolutely need another game in your mobile collection, there’s little reason to buy it on your device instead of playing it for free online.