Let’s get one thing clear: Just because Next Up Hero has an amazingly adorable art style, does NOT make this game easy. It does, however, soften the blow of death. Get used to that because it’ll happen. A LOT.
Next Up Hero is part dungeon crawler, part isometric shooter and ALL action. Developed by indie devs Digital Continue and published by Aspyr, the two bring to us a force not to be messed with. A stunning visual and over the top antics, Next Up Hero provides a ton of entertainment.
You play as one of the many Heroes in the game to fight against the too-cute-to-be-mad-at monsters known as the Ceaseless Dirge. They range from “meh these guys are easy” to “OH MY GOD WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE HIM?!” types of difficulties. This is what makes the game so addictive: Knowing you’re good enough to get past a level or enemy type but they best you anyways and send you packing to the last checkpoint (or in some cases, the start of the Venture).
The anger you feel is quickly swept away when you check out all the loot you gained from scratching, clawing, boomeranging and rocket jumping your way through the vast amounts of user created levels.
Leveling up is as easy as completing stages, killing enemies, collecting tokens and beating bosses. The dungeon grind is here but it doesn’t feel too cheesy as the main objective is basically to see how far you can get before pulling your hair out.
Combat is FUN. There are quite a few characters to learn so you have sort of a variety to pick your style. You’ve got some melee, you’ve got some rocket launchers and you even have a pair of drums that will send your attackers flying! You can find other player’s “echoes” laying on the ground in the dungeons and use them for you benefit. Revive these echoes and they assist you in battle or can be used to summon Ancients to buff you or attack the baddies. You’ll have to really spend time with each and everyone and upgrade them to full to see who you are the best with and I highly reccommend trying them all for a great experience.
Actual players in real life create most of the levels or “Ventures” for you to play and they reset every few days. The ventures spread out from sort of simple (easy mode does not mean it’s a breeze) to “this is impossible. Where is my game Genie.” It’s actually great to see people creating these dungeons and adding in modifiers like One Shot Kills or the room is completely dark. No dungeons are really the same and it really brings to life a whole sense of never ending possibilites.
There is a Co-Op mode and you’ll be happy to know that the game IS Cross Platform between Steam, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. While the game is on the Playstation 4, Sony has not enabled cross-play with other platforms.
Co-Op works in the way that you and a buddy will enter the stage together and they can choose to stay back and heal you once and join in on the fight later or you can both struggle together at the same time. Once a level is clear, they have the option to leave, heal/join again. It’s a pretty good system if you need helping defeating some of these enemies on Insane…And trust me, you’ll need that help.
There are also Twitch/Mixer integrations built right in to the game so if you’re a streamer, you can call upoin your audience to either help you or hurt you while you journey. Most will hurt you. And why not? It’s fun!
There are a few bugs and that’s honestly expected. Sometimes you’ll get locked out of a level’s boundaries or the quests your completing will just simply not show up. It is a bit disappointing progress pretty far and then have the game force you to exit, but in my experience that happening was very rare. It looks like they devs are working really hard to correct the bugs people are reporting and we can only hope that it comes sooner than later.
Overall I would say that Next Up Hero has a ton of potential to be one of those games you keep coming back to regardless of how long it’s been since your last session. Hopping in with a buddy and having you both fail miserably is TRULY an enjoyable experience. Pick this game up for a visually pleasing and ultimately satisfying time. I’d give the game a 8/10
The game is available right now on Steam for $19.99USD and on the Xbox One for the same price. You can also try it out for FREE on the Xbox Game Pass.
What I thought
- System Played On: Xbox
- Available On: Steam, Xbox, PS4, Switch
- Visuals: 10/10
- Audio: 8/10
- Storyline: 4/10
- Additional Content 7/10
- Overall 8/10