You start off as a tiny ball, white and luminous. Hero of Many (out now, $3.99) offers few instructions and no story; you’re pretty much on your own in exploring the vast, mysterious underwater world. But start tapping the screen and you’re off on your way. Soon, you’ll encounter other white balls and discover they’ll merge with you once you get close enough. Later, you’ll attract tadpole-like creatures, which will orbit the multi-cellular sphere you’ve amassed and defend you against enemy attacks.
Hero of Many reminds me of a literary novel—beautiful but slow moving. Of course, not all literary novels are slow nor is it a given that they’re beautiful. Anyhow, Hero of Many opens with a trailer so lengthy you may wonder if the game has started and fret about figuring out how to control the many tadpoles. Once the game does begin though, it may still take some patience to stick through it all. The initial process is essentially as I describe above.
The challenges come slowly, but they’re there. The game has a small puzzle component, which consists of simple obstacles you must overcome, such as boulders you can push aside. Other dangers come in the form of spiky cavern walls that will kill your followers if they stray too close, and hostile creatures, including black tadpoles.
Aside from tapping to guide your cluster of life, you can send your white tadpoles darting out with a swipe. That can be useful to attack enemies at a distance without risking your central sphere. However, the swipe control sometimes makes it trickier to handle tight maneuvers through dangerous areas. An accidental swipe can end up killing part of your flock.
Hero of Many offers 26 levels spread across four worlds, the first with a black and white theme, and the remaining three with the added colors of red, blue, and green respectively. The soundtrack is as lovely as the vast world, or perhaps even lovelier. The main downside of this adventure game is probably its slow pacing, which comes with a relatively low challenge level, though the more serene explorer should have the patience to enjoy this underwater gem. If that’s you, count yourself lucky, because the adventure gets better the longer you play.
iFanzine Verdict: Hero of Many is a tranquil adventure that should appeal to those with a bent for exploration. This is not a fast-paced game though, so if you’re fond of more action and tough challenges, this may not be up your alley. That said, Hero of Many is a beautiful, polished game that grows on you.