Half Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy is a set of different campaigns each with their own playstyle. The first playstyle resembles a RPG, the second is a top down action game where you play as an evil summoner, the third is a top down shooter for lack of a better term. Each campaign has at least 30 lands (levels) that have a 30 second countdown with the potential to get more time. This is a dialog heavy game with a comedy slant if you couldn’t tell from the Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy in the title. I’m happy there’s a one button skip everything. I didn’t need to read anything, because its all so simple.
The first campaign is the main appeal. In ‘Hero 30’ you have 30 seconds in each land to save the world. In the first land, you’ll meet the Time Goddess. For a price she’ll reset the timer back to 30 seconds. Each time you need her, she charges more and more. The only time the clock isn’t counting down is in the towns. If you don’t have enough money to reset the clock, the goddess will still grant you a reset, but she’ll repossess your weapons and the timer will forever count down to 0 even in towns. There is a world map consisting of lines and dots where the lands are.
The little lands each have a few towns, caves, a castle and a boss. The only place to explore is the overworld. Towns, bosses and caves are all single screens. Combat is automatic, your character will bump into the enemies and do damage. When time is of the essence, you can run, but that costs health. When you die, you respawn with minimal health. Sometimes its quicker to die, respawn and use the Time Goddess statues in town than risk a game over from running out of time. You can also run from combat. When each land begins you start at level 1, but you can quickly grind your way back up with most battles giving you a level or two.
Before going into each land you can equip weapons and armor, but you won’t be able to change them while in the land. You can only buy new things to equip them in a land. Each piece of gear has its own weight, making you slower, but preventing knock back from enemies. If you get knocked back off screen from an enemy, you don’t die, but the battle has ended. So it becomes a push-of-war. If you buy equipment in further lands, the game will not let you use the gear in previous lands. Other equipment has special uses like the swimmers ring which does uh…. I forget. Some weapons are insta-kills against certain types of foes, the bug swatter, the demon slaying silver sword. It makes for nice choice when replaying a lands for the 30th time trying to kill a giant sub boss far tougher than the main boss.
Towns consist of single screens with many NPCs. Each land has at least two side quests. The world map highlights the name of each quest to give you a vague hint. Some of which unlock other lands. Its not that difficult. Most if not all lands can be finished in under 2 minutes. The tricky part is the two extra quests and fitting them in while beating the boss before you run out of time or money. Hero 30 makes use of time, because the 30 seconds are an entire day, so different events happen at different times. You may see the tide come in and block a path or a destructive fire destroy a town. Its a nice touch. After each land, the credits scroll by. Every time! Like you’ve just watched a 30 minute episode in under a minute! Then you are taken to a hint screen where four people don’t ever have much to say unless you missed an extra path to a hidden land. Some of the lands are setup in such a way that even if you beat a level your path doesn’t continue without completing certain quests.
There is a multiplayer where you can compete with people online on different lands to see who is the fastest. In a fast paced game, it makes it even faster. Plus there are leader boards for each land of the Hero 30 campaign. The game will also notify you of where your Steam friend was where you are in each land. To keep pushing the pace, your friend will beat the land in 3 2 1. It will even show you their recorded ghost in the land or your own depending who was faster.
The second campaign, ‘Evil Lord 30’ is a top down action game that feels more enjoyable and deeper than the Hero 30. You have three spells that summon different types of creatures. Ranged creatures, brutes that bluntly melee and nimble which dodge attacks from enemy supporters. You also have the ability to push them into battle, but I never used it. Around you is a magical set of circles. The larger your outer circle, the more powerful the creatures are. The inner circle is your current magical power to make those creatures. If you get hit, the outer maximum circle shrinks. The time goddess can restore the size though. This time the goddess hides in golden barrels and takes all the money you have each time you use her. Luckily each enemy drops coins. The goal of each land is to kill, destroy or touch something.
The third campaign ‘Princess 30’ is the top down shooter. You are a princess surounded by your soldiers and can shoot north, south, east and west. The longer you shoot in a direction the more focused your arrows become. When you take a hit, you lose some of your soldiers, which is your firepower. When you leave the castle you dash one direction, then collect an item at the end or defeat a boss. Then you dash back. All with the 30 second timer ticking down. If you run over a red carpet, you gain time. There are even fairies to pick up for additional firepower. It felt like a fun minigame, but it was the same every time, just with different enemies. In fact all of these feel like minigames turned into a campaign. Its perfect for on the go like a PSP or DS.
‘Knight 30’ is a top down action strategy game where you are a knight defending a sage against monsters. This fourth campaign needs to be unlocked. It can be more difficult than the others. When the mage is standing still on her own, the 30 second clock will count down to 0. Once it reaches zero you complete the area. Control wise you can grab and use the sage or other objects. You can dash, call the sage over to you and set traps such as fences, spikes, bombs and scarecrows to bait birds. When you dash it will drain your stamina. Without any stamina you put down what you’re carrying. If you die, your spirit rises and will need to touch the sage before you can do anything else. If the sage dies, its game over. It is more difficult than the other modes since there is a lot to keep track of. Its interesting and employs strategy.
Overall, everything feels very easy even with a 30 second timer. I never ran out of time in all 30 lands of Evil Lord and Princess. They were a breeze. For the hardcore out there, you can unlock Hero 300 and Hero 3. The ‘Hero’ campaigns all have a good dynamic of gold vs time, forcing you to complete each land before you can’t earn enough gold to reset the clock. The non Hero campaigns feel more fun than the Hero campaigns even if they end quickly. I also have to question why the game says the 360 controller is the Ultimate way to play and then has keys for everything on screen instead of buttons.