Iro Hero is the latest top-down shooter to grace the Nintendo Switch. With a retro pixelated flavour and a soundtrack straight out of the 90s arcade, this could be the shooter I have been waiting for… or isn’t it? Read on to find out if it really was a retro dream come true for me in this Iro Hero review!
Developed by Artax Games
Published By Eastasia Soft
Available on Nintendo Switch and PC (reviewed on Nintendo Switch).
Iro Hero is set in a futuristic 2306 year; the human race has been taught how to source their own electricity from their inner energy. Once the corporate engines got wind of this, they started to exploit the humans in electric farms using them as essential power sources and the battle for power commences.
The game starts off with a menu and music straight from my childhood, you all should know by now that I really dig the retro gaming vibe in a big way and I also love top-down shooters. We are treated to what looks like an in-depth story about farming humans and some cool looking anime style stills to give the story more flavour, but the storytelling doesn’t really take off from there.
When we get into the story mode and the game starts, it takes a second to get your head around the controls and what does what; trust me, you need to be quick at this as the enemy doesn’t mess about and are straight on you with the offense. There are some sort of storyboards telling you the story and every now and then characters will pop up having conversations, I found this distracting as you are focusing on the gameplay and as there are no voices to the characters it is hard to see what they are saying and keep up with the gameplay at the same time. I personally gave up trying and just kept going with defeating the enemy. From what I got from the story, you are Iro and you are fighting to save your mother who has been taken by the enemy, pretty standard fare.
Now the gameplay is hard even on normal setting, it is challenging, the single hit and die is hard to avoid as if you crash into an enemy ship you lose a life, lose all your lives and you go back to the beginning. Now I have been putting many hours into Iro Hero and I am yet to get off the first level (there are 9 so God help me) but in a funny way, this does not make the game less enjoyable as I am still enjoying playing and trying to defeat the enemy waves. You can switch between the Red and Blue ships to help you kill the different enemy ships, and this allows you to absorb the enemy fire turning it into valuable energy to charge up your special attacks. Iro Hero is probably the strangest game I’ve come across, if the game is too hard I normally just put it on the pile and never return to it but there is something about Iro Hero that keeps me wanting to play more, the only thing that ruins it for me is the story doesn’t really blend well with the gameplay to the point that you can quite easily play not needing the story.
There are different modes on offer such as arcade and normal mode as well as a 1 credit mode which is unlocked when the others are completed. Having played the different modes (not the 1 credit one yet) I see very little difference in the modes; it’s just the difficulty changing.
Unfortunately, missing from the game is multiplayer, it is definitely missing a trick not including couch co-op which is the type of game made for me. Although I enjoyed Iro Hero, there are a lot of flaws and bits missing for me, ruining the experience but I feel I will keep playing the game as there is still more fun to be had out of it and thanks to the mobile mode of the Switch, it’s perfect for me to play out and about.
Graphics And Sound
I loved the graphic style of Iro Hero; it blends the retro pixel style with an anime feel and it’s well done. It wouldn’t look out of place on the old consoles such as the NES, the stills are detailed and the backgrounds look very good and add to the whole feel of the game. Now for the sound, the soundtrack has to be one of the best I have heard and I am trying to get a copy of it, the tracks are a catchy retro 16 bit dance vibe and had me hooked from the start of hearing it and really got my retro juices pumping.
To summarise my thoughts on Iro Hero, it’s a kind of in between game. What I mean by that is that I like the game and don’t in kind of equal measures. The difficulty of the gameplay even at normal level is too high in my opinion, making progression more or less impossible but what really did confuse my mind is that I still enjoyed playing the game and it never becomes boring. It is definitely worth picking up for the $12.99 price tag and you will get enjoyment from it. To be fair, I would probably pay that for the awesome soundtrack alone.
- Good Gameplay
- Cool Retro Graphics
- Awesome Soundtrack
- Gameplay is a little too hard
- story is hard to follow when playing
- Story telling could be better