First Impressions: Next Up Hero BETA
As the title suggests this impressions has been created using a BETA of the game, therefore it might not represent the final version of the game. With the full game due for release in Early in 2018. Also, for the purpose of transparency, this impressions was created with a BETA key provided by Evolve PR. The use of this code does not affect my judgement of this product.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when first booting up Next Up Hero BETA the first time, but at first I was pleasantly surprised – but did this continue as I spent more time returning to it?
One thing I expect straight away from the title screen was the game to be very bright and colourful, which I was glad to see had continued throughout the game once it was launched. The visuals are very crisp and clean with a great use of the colour palette depending on which of the two levels styles you are playing within the BETA. The two level styles that are within the BETA are the Forest and Tundra, both have a complete different look to them, and for both represent the themes very well in what they do. Your Heroes all have a unique look, and all stand out at being well designed in the way they look, giving them all their own personality and look. Also, the enemies are all artistically designed – my favourite being these haunted looking trees, with what I think is blue flames coming out of them.
But, that’s enough about the visuals how does the gameplay stand out? When I first booted up the BETA, and was greeted with a tutorial I really wasn’t sure if the game would be for me. But, as the game opened up, and I had a look at the characters available it seemed like the choice could keep it fresh. As soon as you select a session you are teleported to the level and the job is to wipe out all the enemies on the stage (or most of them), while reviving the heroes that have fallen before you to fight by your side. One thing that impressed me, all those fallen heroes spirits (very ghostly looking) are actual players that have been in the session before you – but they are then AI controlled. So, where the idea is just wave based survival going around the level you’ve chosen there’s little extras, and you will soon find your preferred hero.
Once you have wiped out the enemies on the level, you go to a plate like the one you spawned in on and you go to the next level – survive that level, rise and repeat. However, as the levels go up the amount of enemies can increase and they become more deadly, add to this your health bar is not regenerated it makes it more difficult (my best is progress is Level 3).
Each session is player created, and once you’ve tried the sessions you cannot go back to it until someone else has taken it on. Where this is a good thing as you don’t just people replaying their sessions making it hard to try out someone else’s; it also opens up some issues. When the BETA was in its early days there was always someone on doing sessions, and sometimes you had to queue, but, when I have been on recently there’s not been people on. Meaning getting back into the available sessions is not possible, and the game looses some of its charm when you have to just create sessions to get a game.
I would like to mention the GUI for both the menus and while in the game, it’s all very clean and easy to use. Your sessions are easy to find and join, the HUD is well laid out not to ruin the look of the game – and a nice little feature is pressing the Start button on the Xbox controller brings up how many enemies are left on each level.
From what I have played of the BETA I think the game could work well, depending on how many sales the full game receives. The reason I think this is the way the game is supposed to work wont if people aren’t playing it. With the idea of being the Next Up Hero, if people are replaying on making sessions its hard to have the previous people’s spirits to revive, which is the charm of the game and useful in situations. Without this in place it soon becomes boring when just recreating your own sessions to get a game, as it looses some of the charm, and the point of the game really.