|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Opus||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: XSEED||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 13, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Despite the title, Half-Minute Hero is a full-length game that is anything but short or half-baked. Take a classic, old-school RPG and trim the fat and inject some extra genres and you`ve got this lean, mean, action machine. It`s everything that you like in an RPG without everything that you don`t. This is not for the purist, but if you`re looking for a game that is guaranteed to make your head spin, don`t miss out on Half-Minute Hero.
The game gets its name from the fact that you have thirty seconds to get through each level. That's not much time, I agree, and so did the developers. So in an effort to help you save the world, which has been enchanted to self-destruct in that given time, you will be able to extend the time limit. As in traditional RPGs there is always lots to do. There are monsters to fight, dungeons to crawl through, items to collect, characters to interact with, and experience points to accrue that will ultimately level-up your character. So getting more time in each level will allow you to perform more of these tasks. Fallen enemies can be looted for cash - the currency you need to purchase more time from the Time Goddess. This will keep you in the game, but the more time you want, the more it's going to cost you.
There are so many things to do within the allotted time that you've got no time for slacking. That means no boring, drawn out cutscenes or lengthy soliloquies from mundane characters. Most times you won't be able to complete a level in time, but having to tackle it again is not a downer, it's all part of the gameplay. You'll be forced to rethink your plan of attack, and because the gameplay is dynamic (always changing), it's not like you're going through each level by trial and error. You can attempt to get through a level as quickly as possible or you can stay longer and discover alternate paths complete with new side quests, characters, and unlockables. The replay value can be quite tremendous if you want to discover everything.
Gameplay elements include features from genres such as RPGs, shooters, action, puzzles, and real-time strategy. There are four main modes, each of them highlighting a different genre, but still related to the core gameplay. More on these modes in a moment, but there are more options awaiting the ambitious player including ad-hoc multiplayer. You can expect to spend more than 20 hours exploring all of the modes and all of the secrets, although you can opt to get through the game in a day.
The storyline is the standard, save-the-world scenario, but it's presented with healthy doses of hilarity. The game pokes fun at itself, and nowhere is that more evident than in the cheesy eight-bit graphics. No doubt this saves the developers a lot of time and effort, but the imaginative character models and the terrible-on-purpose renderings impart uniqueness to the game that state-of-the-art 3D graphics couldn't hope to attain, at least not with this game (this is true despite the fact that it would even look bad on a Game Boy Color). It all comes together in Half-Minute Hero; a testament to Xseed's infamous eccentricities.
Our hero arrives in a strange new land, an enchanted kingdom that is under the spell of an evil sorcerer. You are implored by the king to help. The king is not only helpless but he's also useless. You're basically on your own with the help of some non-playable, interactive characters that you'll meet. The entire world will end in 30 seconds unless you can buy some time. The speed in which your quests unfold will have you reaching for a seatbelt.