The NeverEnding Game
Has anyone ever left a game on his or her iDevice for three years straight? It seems unimaginable in the App Store’s ultra-fast release environment but veteran racing game developer RedLynx is shooting for just that, and they’ve got 1000 Heroz (Out Now, $.99) to back them up! The one-level-per-day content strategy might strike cynics as gimmicky, but there’s actually a very solid little time attack racing game to be found here whichever way you slice it.
Whereas Diversion relishes in endurance runs, 1000 Heroz takes precisely the opposite path and dishes out bite-size obstacle courses – each starring its own eccentric and undeniably huggable ragdoll character – meant to be finished in approximately twenty seconds. Game Center integration lets the player keep track of best times on a leaderboard where tiny fractions of a second spell the difference between victory and defeat, and a chamber that gradually fills with earned loot attests to the player’s time attack skill over time. While narrative doesn’t appear to be a core focus here 1000 Heroz sports a well integrated sense of humor, the daily Heroz accompanied by entertaining one-liner quips.
Naturally the player will need to become familiar with level layout and obstacles over several runs before shaving down his or her time enough to garner the daily award, not to mention post a worthy time to the online leaderboard. Even so, the daily content doesn’t stretch more than five to ten minutes at present, so 1000 Heroz is decisively tailored to the needs of casual gamers on the go rather than hardcore gamers looking for something that will provide hours-long sittings.
On the other hand, late adopters will have a lengthy backlog of levels to sprint through, and longtime fans of sidescrollers in general should appreciate the game’s interesting and complex physics once they’ve gotten used to it. I found all the trial-and-error minutiae of approaching different slopes and obstacles surprisingly absorbing! It helps that the virtual button interface is simple and spot-on, lending the game strong pick-up-and-play accessibility. Level design seems to be evolving sufficiently in terms of layout and new obstacles for players to experiment with, though I can’t shake the feeling that a few lengthier challenge levels or other surprises would go a long way in rounding out future content. Even those who pass up 1000 Heroz now should keep an eye on how it develops, as this one can only improve with age.
One might not expect it given RedLynx’s previous iOS offerings – which star cars and monster trucks – but the Heroz epitomize cute cartoonish characters, with their simple hand-drawn sprite segments and zany verbalization as they make hard landings and bump into things. The crisply rendered courses explode with cel-shaded charm and it appears music varies by environment theme at least.
iFanzine Verdict: A gorgeous, zany, and wonderfully crafted time attack racer, 1000 Heroz should do the trick for iDevice owners with a competitive streak but who can’t devote more than a few minutes to their iOS games on a daily basis. Its interesting physics would hold the attention of more hardboiled racing fans if not for the limited amount of content on offer at release, but they would do well to check back as the amount of levels continues to snowball.