04th Aug2017

‘Next Up Hero’ Beta Preview

by Paul Metcalf

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It seems these days that anything can be crowdfunded, it gives the chance for things that may not get funded to actual go into production. Next Up Hero takes the idea of using a crowd, and use them to complete procedurally created gaming sessions. Creating something that feels unique in gaming.

The idea of creating a procedurally created world is nothing new, we see this sort of thing used in many indie titles to keep the games feeling fresh, and unexpected. Where Next Up Hero catches the gamer’s attention is that as a player you get one shot at surviving in a session for as long as you can. The idea then is to let another player have a turn to continue your effort, before you get to have another go. With each attempt, you leave a ghost of your character that can be resurrected to help you within the level. This makes each attempt that little bit easier, and you and your team of ghosts can make more of an impact on the session. This is a nice touch for those players who want to solo play a game, but don’t mind being part of a communal effort to complete something.

Another element that captures the player’s attention is the look and feel of the game. For those who are fan of cute cartoony style graphics with a hard, challenging centre, this is one for you. Even though this may be a beta the characters available are interesting, and stand out as different, not only for their arsenal of weapons but also for their overall character.

One thing I will say about the character system at the moment though is that the abilities system needs some work. Right now, it feels like it has little impact on the game; which is a shame. The gameplay though is hectic enough to detract from this weakness, and with Next Up Hero being in the beta phase right now, I’m sure we’ll see more come to this side of things at a later date.

When actually playing, the combat is easy to get used to, but very challenging. This is the kind of game though where players want to have this kind of challenge. With the idea of communal playing running strong within the gameplay, there is a definite feel that you are destined to fail, so that you can give the next player take over and share your progress. If you able to complete the session on your first go, it would lose some of its fun.

When it comes to the enemies, sometimes they can feel a little repetitive, each time I’ve logged in though there are new monsters that appear to spawn in the sessions. It is impressive that each enemy has their own way of trying to kill you, which not only allows you to build up a strategy for attack, but also lets you grow to hate certain ones when they appear. It will be interesting to see what balancing these enemies will have in the future, as some have certain over powered qualities to them.

A sign of a good game for me is one that I can sit and play for a few hours and not tire of the gameplay. This is what I found with Next Up Hero. It may be challenging and a little too hard at times, but that feeling of just going onto the next session and kicking some bad guy ass is just addictive. It is definitely one of those games that is easy to pick up, but hard to master.

With plans for Early Access on the PC in 2017, and a move to consoles (including Switch) in 2018, Next Up Hero is definitely a game to watch. It will be interesting to see how it is received on Switch as the cutesy style – however challenging gameplay does fit into the Nintendo world well, so…

Next Up Hero may be in beta at the moment, but it is a game I’ll be keeping an eye on to see what improvements are made.

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