I Am The Hero review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Ratalaika Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2 (PS4: 1-3)
Online: No

Even though I practically grew up playing beat-?em-ups, I can?t say I have any nostalgia for the genre whatsoever. Battletoads, Double Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I may have sunk countless hours into them when I was little, but never once in the last 25-30 years have I wanted to go back and play them again.

I?d like to say that I Am The Hero changes something about that. After all, it throws in a couple of twists here and there that, theoretically, make the game more interesting than its predecessors (or, at the very least, help differentiate it). For starters, the game is 2.5D rather than flat 2D — which may not sound like a huge change, but giving things a slightly different perspective does give it a different feeling. On a related note, even though the titular hero looks vaguely pixelated, but making him and his surroundings 2.5D, they make that old art style seem kind of fresh and new again.

For another thing, the game draws heavily from the fighting game genre. Whereas a lot of I Am The Hero?s forebears were content with just punching and kicking, this game throws in all kinds special moves and combos. In fact, it places a huge priority on combos, with a big counter flashing on the screen as your hit totals get bigger and bigger. While combos have always been kind of a thing in beat-?em-ups, here they get taken to a whole new prominence.

All that said, at the end of the day, I Am The Hero is still identifiably and undeniably a beat?-em-up. You beat up all the baddies in one section, then you move on to the next and beat up more of them. There?s not some crazy plot or something that?s going to hook you in.

To be sure, that means if you do pine for the days where Battletoads and its ilk were kings, I Am The Hero will scratch that particular itch. If, however, you?re already not predisposed towards the genre, I can?t imagine there?s anything here that would change your mind.

Ratalaika Games provided us with an I Am The Hero PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: C