previews\ Sep 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Half-Minute Hero - PSP - Preview 2

Usually, when you think of the Japanese RPG genre, you think of long affairs that often require dozens (if not hundreds) of hours of investment, grinding levels, performing sidequests, finding hidden items, and so on. These vary a bit, with the focus shifting on characters and story elements, but they all usually feature these very basic core elements. One thing that you don't think of when it comes to the genre are time limits, least of all thirty second ones. That's where Half-Minute Hero comes in.

An RPG-ish title with loads of personality that wears its old-school inspiration on its iron pauldrons, Half-Minute Hero takes all the familiar trappings and cliches of the RPG genre and has you working under a pretty insane time constraint in order to pull them off. In short, you have 30 seconds to grind levels, fight random enemy encounters, find items and equip weapons, interact with NPCs, and fight a boss in a castle. Yep, you read that right. Thirty seconds.


Well, perhaps that's not quite true. Technically, you have some outside assistance in this regard, courtesy of the Time Goddess who has taken a liking to you (and your pocketbook). For a fee, she'll reset your clock back to the thirty second mark while allowing you to keep your current levels and items, as well as any subquests that you've completed outside of the main task at hand, namely defeating the evil boss in the castle before he can set off his evil spell and destroy the world. Unfortunately, every time you pay her to reset the timer, her fee goes up a bit.

The game's fast and furious nature is readily apparent from the gameplay. Battles are a completely hands off affair, with your character charging into enemies in order to attack them while they attack him as well. As you level up and gain money and better items, you'll get a special on-screen prompt letting you know "You > Evil", basically that you are now more powerful than and thus capable of defeating the boss in the castle. The game unfolds very quickly and as the subquests become more complex as you go (the main quest doesn't really get more complicated than defeat the boss, but your means of getting to them become more creative as the game goes).

One thing that I can take away from my play time with Half-Minute Hero is just how addictive it is. The game doesn't require more than a rudimentary understanding of the genre and its concepts, but just about anyone can get into it very quickly and have a great time.

Graphically, Half-Minute Hero has a distinct 8-bit look, drawing a lot of inspiration from NES RPGS. The characters are undetailed, blocky sprites and the environments are pretty flat, but that only adds to the game's unique charm. There are some nice bits of artwork during a few of the cutscenes, but this one is pretty much old-school through and through. The game also boasts an appropriately traditional score, with the music featuring the same kind of epically tuned soundtrack as many RPGs.

A quirky game with tons of personality and very addictive gameplay, Half-Minute Hero should be one to watch.

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