Not A Hero Review
If a bunny from the future asked for your help to get him elected mayor, would you help him knowing that his election would prevent the apocalypse? Even if that meant killing countless criminals (and any cops that got in your way)? Of course you would. We're talking about preventing the apocalypse here!
That's the setup for Not a Hero, which gives you three weeks (i.e. twenty-one levels) to improve Bunnylord's ratings in the polls by taking out the city's criminal underground. Doing so requires you to kill everyone that you come across in a series of 2.5D buildings, the extra half dimension coming into play in the form of the side-scrolling shooter's cover mechanic. Each floor in the buildings has a picket-fence like series of obstacles that you can duck between to protect yourself from gunfire, although you won't be able to return fire unless you pop out from cover. You'll need to master the slide move to survive, both because it allows you to move from one cover spot to the next and because it lets you slide tackle enemies and then one-hit kill them execution style while they are lying on the ground. Using cover in this cover-based shooter is not optional - it's a requirement for survival. You are only given a small handful of health bars and you can burn through them in an instant if you expose yourself to a volley of gunfire. And in Not a Hero's all or nothing levels, death means you'll have to start the level all over again from the very beginning.
And while on the topic of levels, the levels are all essentially narrow variations on a theme. A small collection of buildings, each with a collection of floors that are somewhat but not entirely connected by stairways, that you move between by jumping through windows or off of balconies. You need to take care not to fall too far while jumping between buildings or you'll "break your legs" and be forced to start the level all over again. This can be a little tricky since the jumps are blind, at least until you play the level the second time through, but you can adjust your fall a bit in midair and come crashing through a window in the building from which you leapt if a window in the next building doesn't present itself. This can also be a bit of necessity in navigating your way through a single building in which the builders forgot to install stairs between some of the floors.
In addition to the main objective for each level, which is often to kill someone special or simply to make it to the exit, each level will also have a number of optional objectives. These can be performance based, such as a target time to complete the level or a maximum number of hits you can take while making your way through it, or you could be tasked with picking up all of the collectibles placed around the level. The optional objectives are not necessary to move on to the next level, but they do go towards Bunnylord's "popularity rating" which is used to determine when additional characters become unlocked for play. Each character has their own particular set of bonus abilities and some negative traits as well, and I found that I preferred playing with only a couple of them. Luckily your first character is a pretty decent guy all-around, so you don't have to struggle to unlock a character that can actually complete the game with.
The game's cover-based shooting gameplay is enjoyable, but after making your way through a few of the levels the only variety added to the game's basic play mechanics is an ever-increasing difficulty curve. There's also a lot of trial and error involved in getting through level as success is also an exercise in path-finding. As such, there are plenty of times when the game begins to feel repetitive and somewhat of a grind. The feeling of repetition extends beyond the levels, as each one ends with a debrief with Bunnylord that is immediately followed by a briefing with him for the next level. Bunnylord can be a funny character at times, but he uses a whole lot of words without actually saying all that much. His hit and miss humor is delivered through subtitles accompanied by gibberish audio that sounds like two balloons being rubbed together in front of a voice modulator that will quickly begin to wear on your nerves.
Final Rating: 70% - Like Bunnylord himself, fun at first and then a bit of a grind.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.