Hero Express, they deliver justice – First Sip Review
Hero Express is a 2D side-scroller racing game of sorts. Developed and published by the Fantastico Studio team.
Monsters have appeared and the city, or cities, or country…also the moon, are in danger. But fear not, the Hero is there to save the day. Unfortunately one of the hero’s superpowers seems to be forgetfulness. No matter the situation the hero has the tool for the job, and never on him.
The hero forgets his tools so often that eventually a delivery service was formed. Introducing Hex, or Hero Express. A dedicated delivery service designed to bring the hero his tools whenever he needs them, wherever he may be. And again, this does involve the moon.
The concept of the game is fairly silly and very minimal. But it works, and it’s a funny enough premise for a fun fast-paced children’s cartoon (get on it Fantastico!).
Hero Express uses retro pixel art graphics. The art on the hero and the monsters while on the main hub are quite detailed. The variety of monsters and levels are also quite impressive.
A lot of the monsters are references to popular media, such as a giant King Kong styled ape and an alien that looks suspiciously Xenomorph like. Each level also comes with a distinct vehicle for your intrepid delivery man. The body of the vehicle is fairly detailed but the wheels seem to be just plugged into it much like the old flash games with the same sort of gameplay.
I found the level designs to be quite fun, each one feels distinct and is packed with a lot to look at. This is good because you’ll probably have to play each one a lot, but more on that in gameplay.
Sound effects are pretty standard for the genre. You have the revving of car engines, the explosion sound when you blow up, the item collection noise. Nothing we haven’t heard before, but not bad by any means.
The music is fun and every level has its own theme, with the number of times you run a level it could do with some change-ups but none of them are bad. The songs that play are usually pretty energetic and try to match the tone of the level. Overall the music much like the sound isn’t bad but it’s not a stand-out either.
Gameplay in Hero Express is pretty straightforward. You start off on a world hub screen where you can select a monster to challenge. After the fun little description and a very brief intro where the hero mentions the tool he needs but does not have, the game starts. Each level has its own vehicle all of which can be upgraded when enough money has been earned. Earing the money is something that will happen via running the level.
Levels are made up of series of hills, ramps and various obstacles that change between levels. Each level has its own currency that can be collected on the stage and is awarded for distance, flips and the like. Levels are split into waypoints so each time you reach a new waypoint it comes with a cash bonus. However, these bonuses only apply once so you can’t harvest the same waypoints to upgrade.
The levels are fun to play and explore, although you have a fuel gauge that acts as a timer so you can’t afford to waste time. When the fuel runs out you explode (what?), but there are fuel canisters strategically placed in the level to extend your runs. The goal in each level is the end of the level, which is generally pretty far away so it will take more than a few attempts to reach.
Therein lies the problem with Hero Express’ gameplay. No matter how skillful you are you will need to grind each level to upgrade your vehicle to complete it. There are just simply parts of the levels that cannot be done with the starting car, such as inclines you aren’t powerful enough to overcome. You do get that sort of one more time feeling that comes from making slight progress each time but running the first part of the level over and over does get dull.
The game also includes a Zombie mode. The Zombie mode differs from the standard one almost completely. Levels are redesigned into a small stage with zombies dotted around. You have a timer that is running down and smashing the zombies extends it. The only goal of this mode is to last as long as possible. Zombie mode also contains some of the items found in the normal mode such as the boost which makes your car jump and is a good place to test out some of your capabilities.
Hero Express is a fun game that is great for short bursts. If you play the same level over and over to buy all the upgrades and finish it you may get bored. But you can always swap to any other level at any time for a fresh route. Then when that gets stale swap to another one or even back to the first one to save up for more upgrades.
The art and the story are both really nice and well handled, I just want more of them. I still think the premise would make for a fun cartoon.
Because each level has its own car and currency your upgrades don’t carry over and it can make progress feel a little insular. Perhaps a choice of car might be a fix to this, although the levels are generally geared toward the car provided.
Hero Express isn’t perfect but it is fun for the price, even more so if you can find it on sale.
In Coffee Terms
Hero Express in coffee terms is like taking sips from a huge cup. Each sip is nice and you progressively drink more overtime for that caffeine boost. But the flavor doesn’t really change and once it starts to cool down it loses its edge. That’s why the best way to enjoy it is to prepare smaller amounts, get your buzz and then move on when it wears off prepare another and enjoy the taste before it can get cold.
Hero Express Links
Hero Express Review Summary
One half of the YouTube brother duo, The Game Bros with Sirhc and Ar0n, Chris is a lover of games, movies and other great things you can do from home.
Coffee of choice: I like the sweeter kinds, mixed with chocolate, coconut, caramel etc. but I won’t turn down a flat white or a straight black either.