By Alice O'Connor on March 31st, 2014 at 4:00 pm.
London lot Roll7’s side-on shooter Not A Hero was given a formal announcement and grand unveiling at EGX Rezzed this weekend, perhaps not coincidentally opposite the Hotline Miami 2 booth. Oh, but to compare the two would be lazy. See, while Not A Hero is a point-scoring, man-murdering, pixel-bleeding, die/restart run and gun game, it’s also a cover shooter. Having had a bash myself, I’d say it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Each level drops you near a building with a mission objective such as hacking computers or collecting donuts, all of which is ultimately accomplished by killing men. While a few enemies will fall to simply running and shooting (or slide-kicking them to the ground then finishing them off while vulnerable if you’re particularly bold), you’ll soon need to duck into cover. Rather than simply a place you can heal (though it is that too), the cover’s part of the game’s arcade rhythm. You use the respite to count enemies’ shots and predicts their reloads, when you’ll have a split-second to peg them. They’re watching for yours too, mind, and will creep up to flush you out when you’re out of ammo.
Which is why you’ll want to save powerups. Grenades, drill bombs, flame bullets, and more are awfully welcome mega-killers, but in short supply. The bullets which blow a door off its hinges and send enemies scattering like skittles were a particular favourite of mine, as the mooks can’t see or shoot through doors.
Levels are short and sweet, learned by studying carefully then dying when your plan goes awry. On each level, I’d slowly build a fairly slick sequence of takedowns, becoming increasingly frantic the deeper I got into the not-wholly-known, and always a bit uncertain thanks to a little randomisation. Men murdered, objective completed, and points scored, I’d head back to my transport and into the next level. Fun stuff.
Not A Hero is due this summer on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Like the PC port of Roll7’s sk8r OlliOlli (not to mention Hotline Miami), it’s published by those scamps at Devolver Digital.