Ravenous Games is best known for their breakout hit, League of Evil. If you don’t have it yet, chances are you either just got an iDevice, or detest platformers with a passion. If you do, then you know how extremely high Ravenous set the bar for the rest of the platforming development community, as well as themselves. Playing LoE, it was hard to believe that the same developers of Cave Run had come so far, and gained such an incredible understanding of what made a Speedrun Platformer great. But they did, and after the releases of Burger Cat and LoE 2, it was again hard to believe that it was the same development team. Granted, it was great seeing another side of the studio, but they were far from touching the same bar that LoE set. Now, Ravenous has released yet another title, Random Heroes, another action platformer, originally a Flash game, with Run’n’Gun elements.
Random Heroes is the story of a city who’s been overrun by monsters from another dimension after a couple of kids knocked over the wrong tombstone in the city’s cemetery. Now a group of unlikely heroes are the city’s only hope. The story doesn’t come back into play until after you complete the 30 stage (33 if you include boss battles) game. You’re right if you’re thinking that doesn’t seem like a whole lot of content. A lot of players have beat the game in roughly an hour. Then there are others who might not have a chance.
Seems Random Heroes is plagued by random crashes and lost iCloud save data as well. Crashing has the potential of sending you back close to 15 stages, depending on how long you spend playing, and playing on more than one device could potentially send you back just as far, if not more so, depending on how far into the game you got before trying it on another device. There are quite a few users who haven’t even gotten through the first stage because of crashing, which can be pretty upsetting. There’s also quite a bit of lag and slowdown.
If you’re lucky enough to not have to deal with those issues, chances are, you might not enjoy the game as much as you thought you would. The enemy AI is pretty bad, requiring a simple jump over and shoot from behind maneuver to outwit them. There are also multiple areas where enemies will get stuck in walls when turning around, making them very easy prey. It does get a little more complex in the later stages, but basically only because of the amount of ammo the enemies pump out, and how quick they are. You’ll also soon discover that there’s a lot of just standing and shooting, as even with a high powered weapon and character, you’ll still need between 2 and 6 slow reloading shots in order to take the enemies out.
Speaking of high powered weapons, there is a shop where you’ll be able to spend your collected coins purchasing various weapons with different reload and firing speeds as well as damage stats. You’re also able to purchase different characters, each having different health, damage, and agility stats, which is nice, and does give the game a little bit of replay value if you’re determined to unlock them all. Also adding to the replay value is GameCenter integration with 24 achievements, but with no scoring or timing system, there’s also no leaderboards, which is kind of a downer.
The level design isn‘t bad, with multiple branching paths giving players some sense of exploration, which is nice. Though this does lead to some levels becoming very easy if you’re not into exploration, and only taking about 10 seconds to complete.
Graphically, Random Heroes looks a lot like League of Evil, especially the user interface, which looks like it was ripped out of LoE. For platformer fans, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the graphics and UI in LoE are one it’s strong suits. The animations add to the gameplay’s aesthetic, and never get dull, and the controls and physics are, as you would expect coming from Ravenous, top notch, so long as you aren’t playing on an iPad, which, to be comfortable, requires that your thumbs are as long as hot dogs.
I really tried to like Random Heroes. I tried not comparing it to League of Evil, I tried to overlook the crashing, lagging and saved data losses, I tried not to get upset when loosing over 2,000 coins, and be positive when barely moving around when confronting enemies, but it’s hard to really focus on Random Heroes strengths with so many issues, problems, and the lack of content constantly staring you in the face. For $0.99, it’s worth checking out to see if it’ll run on your device(s). Coming from Ravenous, there’s no question that a lot of these issues will be dealt with in a future update, though how long that update takes, and what all it adds to the game is up in the air. Basically all I can say is this; if you want League of Evil, stick with League of Evil, if you want a Run’N’Gun platformer, INC is your best bet, and if you ever want to see Ravenous release another LoE, you might just want to get rid of those hopes.