Badass Hero Preview

Awesome Game Studios presents you with the chance to become the ultimate "Badass Hero" in their latest 2D action shooter. Make your way through the Amazon jungle and kill every living, and undead thing in sight while kitting out your hero in state-of-the-art, and sometimes also vintage gear. They say it's a jungle out there, they have no idea.

Badass Hero PreviewBadass Hero Preview

introduction

"Once you were a great hero. But somehow chaos entered the comic universe, and with it all your powers were lost. You need to write your story anew and repeat your greatest accomplishments. Only when you prove you are a true Badass Hero order will be restored."

This is the setting for what promises to be an unbelievable adventure into the depths of the Amazon jungle. Since the game is still in development, this was as far as the story went. Luckily, all I needed was to be pointed in the right direction and to start shooting. The how's and why's became irrelevant as soon as that first skeleton shaman fired his little fireballs in my direction. He wouldn't live to regret it, at least he wouldn't have if he wasn't already dead. Uhm, what do you call it when you kill the undead?

Anyway, so there I was. Surrounded by pure evil, in one of the most terrifying places on earth, all lifeforms seeking to end me. All I have is my pistol and a few green friends that go boom when I pull their little safety pin. Anything else would just get in the way. I am fearless, I am prepared, I am… a Badass Hero!

This is the sort of thing that made me fall in love with video games as a child. A highly implausible story, a fantastic protagonist, and nonstop action. And that is exactly what is delivered in this delightful 2D action shooter from the aptly named Awesome Game Studios.

You can find all the information on Badass Hero on Steam.

Badass Hero Preview. The jungle is not a safe place

design

Badass Hero was created in a traditional comic book style, which adds to the cheesiness and made me love it even more. The settings were overly colorful and the characters had heads that were way too big for the average neck to support. It was perfect.

Despite the fact that the graphics were highly simplistic, the designers made a huge effort to ensure everything is top notch. The dangerous critters you encounter are a joy to behold and the levels are filled with endless details you can only fully appreciate when taking a moment to smell the poison ivy. Even your hero has some neat customization options to make it your own and whenever you equip some new piece of armor, it's immediately seen on your avatar. Your face even starts to get bloody when your health is low, which makes playing at low health even more fun.

Badass Hero Preview. Do I want the SMG with the ricocheting bullets or the one with the larger clip size?

As far as the HUD is concerned, it's kept real simple and practical. Your crosshair is moved with your mouse and the screen adjusts a little in the direction you're looking. A nice touch is the magazine counter found just underneath your crosshair so you can always see when you need to take some time to reload.

Even though there's no voice acting, the various sound effects were more than enough to compensate. The various guns have distinct sounds, the monsters grunt when damaged and scream at you when they're frustrated. Even the grenades offer a highly satisfying boom when they obliterate your enemies.

GAMEPLAY

Badass Hero takes you back to the simplistic, yet addictive gameplay mechanics that got most of us into gaming in the first place. The technicalities are minimal, mostly you just run around, shoot things that snarl at you and avoid any pointy bits. Killing enemies rewards you with ink, which you then spend upgrading your skill tree. The upgrades are fairly standard and include things like increasing your health or providing more frequent grenade drops, but there are quite a few of them so you won't be leveled out too soon.

Badass Hero Preview. A quick look at one of the pages in the skill tree.
There are a generous number of weapons and equipment available which you'll find in lying around the jungle, probably all that remains of previous adventurers who weren't quite as badass as you. Guns included are the pistol, SMG, shotgun, Bazooka and sniper among others and some of them even have special attributes like providing additional burning damage or having bullets that ricochet off the walls. You'll also find some amusing armor ranging from modern military helmets to medieval chainmail which can also come with additional abilities. Whatever you equip is immediately visible on your person which can make for quite the stylish warrior. If your existing items are better than the one you just found then you can simply "absorb" it for additional ink. 

In addition to your epic firearms and grenades you also have a superpower to assist you in your frenzy. Initially, you'll have the ability to freeze all enemies on screen for a few moments but as with the other items at your disposal, you will find other options on your path. The most amusing power I found was the ability to deploy an auto turret. 

Each level is set in a large maze layout with each setting linked to another by one or more gateways. You can choose to visit all areas of a map to collect as many items and ink as possible or you can head straight for the end that leads to the next map. The latter option is not as easy as it sounds since every instance of the game provides a new randomized map so the route to the end differs every time round.

New maps come with new challenges too including a new set of obstacles and creatures to fight. Once you reach the second map, you'll also start finding bosses which are also randomized. Since you can't save your progress or get any waypoints to continue from when you die, the randomization ensures that even though you're technically playing the same levels, it always feels like a new experience.

Badass Hero Preview. Are you ready to meet the Lord of Souls?

Conclusion

Badass Hero put a smile on my face from the moment I started playing. Dying in this game was a frequent occurrence but thanks to the randomization, starting over was never tedious. Keep in mind that the game is still in development so not all levels were available to me just yet. However, the only flaw I found in this early access build was a single spelling error in the skill tree.

Badass Hero is a simple but fun arcade shooter that will have you coming back for more and more. It's the type of game you launch because you have 10 minutes to kill only to find yourself 2 hours late when you finally draw your attention away from the screen.

That said, I don't see myself playing this for months on end, it's like a new song you hear on the radio and then stream live over and over again until you want to vomit just thinking about it, only to repeat the process again a month later. As such I envision leaving this installed and returning to it frequently for the remainder of my natural life.

Pros Cons
  • Randomized everything!
  • Fantastic audio and visual design
  • Variety of weapons, items, and powers
  • Nonstop fun
  • Offers more of a one night stand than a steady relationship

 

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