Bunch of Heroes is a fun co-op experience but offline play is less compelling
In the past few years co-op gaming has found a bit of a new life. As a fan of working with players instead of against them I fully support this whenever I get the chance. There’s nothing like kicking back with a friend and mowing down hoards of enemies and celebrating with a high-five (real or virtual). Bunch of Heroes, a top-down shooter from NGD Studios, is here to throw their co-op hat into the ring.
In Bunch of Heroes there are three scenarios to play through with three missions a piece, with the setting being the main thing that changes as you progress. All the missions in all three scenarios are available right from the start. You progress through each mission by completing the goals that pop up one by one. Most of the time it’s “clear out the enemies near the house” or “get the cheerleader to the car” then “defend the car.” They’re usually time-based when defending an area or object or you have to escort one of the plethora of cheerleaders to a safe location.
Four different heroes are available as playable characters. There’s El Comandante, a Cuban revolutionary commander with a special exploding cigar attack. Jared Joe, the big American jock who can use a focused energy attack. Captain Smith, a British pilot who will unleash a special bomb run when things get hectic. Lastly there’s Agent Liu, a super secret spy “who loves fighting games” and sets enemies on fire when needed. You need to collect the energy dropped by dead enemies to use any of the special attacks, which are typically weapons that affect a large area, doing splash damage to most of the surrounding enemies.
You and up to three other friends can join in on the action which drastically helps the difficulty of trying to play alone and offline. As far as I could tell the game does not scale to the number of people you have playing so if you’re on your own prepare to constantly get surrounded by enemies. Even with just two players it was much easier to get through the missions. This is not the type of co-op game where the other playable characters are present if you’re playing on your own. If no one’s there to control them, they’re not around to help out at all, and we couldn’t help but feel that even some sort of AI help would be better than nothing.
Keyboard and mouse controls are competent but using a controller is even better considering this is essentially a dual-stick shooter. I felt like the character moved a lot slower when using the keyboard and mouse. If you have a gamepad to use, I highly suggest going that route for this game.
As a big fan and supporter of independent developers and games I wanted to like Bunch of Heroes more than I did. I’m a sucker for co-op and shooting and despite this game being completely competent at both it just felt like something was missing from the experience to really grab me.