When we were kids, we were all subjected to movies about feisty young go-getters fending off some kind of giant evil corporation with their street smarts. Of course, no one ever got hurt, and the corporation’s claim to evil fame was along the lines of, “gee, the CEO is an old jerk who hasn’t seen the smile of a child for some time.” Boring, right? The best way to get results from people who have no decency is to hammer it back into them. Nobody knows this better than Gen, a carpenter who picks up a hammer to fight for justice when the Kuromoku Group threatens to evict him and his neighbors from their houses to make way for a new project. Hammerin’ Hero is an action platformer that features simple, satisfying combat and a humorous presentation that is sure to make for a good time.
Players will guide Gen through twelve levels of wacky action in Hammerin’ Hero. Attacks come in two flavors; a vertical attack will deal swift damage to on-screen enemies, and a slow horizontal swipe will send them flying into the background. Combat is frenetic and over-the-top, and the colorful graphics add to the chaos. Gen can perform other moves depending on what job he is currently undertaking – by eating freshly prepared bento boxes, he can take on the persona of another job, along with some creative perk related to it. It’s somewhat similar to the weapon settings in Mega Man games, with each “job” having special attacks.
Now, a common mechanic in many modern games is the side quest. Unrelated to the task at hand, players can complete quests to solve the problem of a character in need. Gen has no time for that; but luckily, he knows that sometimes you just have to knock the sense into people. Sometimes, NPCs will ask Gen to take care of a problem for them, in which case, hammer away – smacking civilians up will help them realize their true potential, often convincing them to fight the Kuromoku Group with you. It’s the shortest and most valuable life lesson they’ll ever need!
Hammerin’ Hero is a pretty game, too. Gen and the rest of the cast are beautifully animated, and the backgrounds are vibrant and varied. Over the course of the game, players will visit a baseball field, a theme park, a TV studio, and other locales full of Kuromoku Group lackeys to beat some sense into. Hammerin’ Hero plays like a 2D platformer with 3D graphics, making excellent use of the PSP’s power while keeping the gameplay delightfully simple. Check back for a full review when Hammerin’ Hero comes out this April.