Developed by UK based Deadbeat Productions (which includes devs from Lionhead and Rockstar) and published by Square Enix, Deadbeat Heroes is a game that sees you beating and smashing your way through the worst elements of London’s underworld to defeat a gang of super criminals. The Prime Sinister has defeated all the superheroes, and now he’s taking over London with his evil gang of master criminals – and only Captain Justice and his team of Deadbeat Heroes can stand in the way of his despicable plans.
The game sees you selecting a mission (and once you’ve unlocked some more, a hero) and then traveling to a part of London on your trusty scooter to defeat Prime Sinister’s goons and save the innocents. The levels look great and are seriously destructible – punching and smashing goons into furniture and walls sees them crack and shatter and really adds weight to the combat. Move set wise, you have a straight up attack, a jump, a dash, and finally a super attack that you charge by collecting blue orbs from defeated henchmen until you can unleash it. The game allows you to dash in midair and wall run – and the game soon forces you to take advantage of these moves by introducing enemies that can only be defeated by using them.
Speaking of the enemies, they’re a varied bunch – from chaps that will punch you, to guys with cricket bats, pistols, machine guns, guys that can explode, guys that turn invisible, guys that fire freeze rays, each one requires a slightly different tactic to defeat them – and that’s where the genius of the gameplay lies. On the surface, Deadbeat Heroes looks like a button basher (and the first couple of levels can be approached in that way), but get beyond the first boss and you soon learn that encounters need to be planned out far more tactically than you’d think in order to progress. Getting it wrong soon results in death, but when you get it right and watch the combo score racking up and see the bodies sailing through the air, it’s a LOT of fun. It can become so chaotic that spotting your character on the screen among the madness can sometimes become difficult.
Every so often, an enemy with a specific ability will drop into a room and need to be defeated with a super attack. Once defeated though, their ability can be equipped with your gauntlet and used to a serious destructive effect. If you reach the end of the batch of levels and defeat the boss, you’ll be able to call in their ability once you’ve collected enough cash in the level – obtained by rescuing civilians. Picking the right ability to take into a level becomes very important later on, as being able to call in the one that’s most suited to the action will make progress considerably easier.
The game is presented in a cel-shaded, low poly style (similar to that of Morphite) that suits the chaotic action perfectly. The story is tongue-in-cheek and drips with self-aware British humour, with numerous quips that left us grinning and occasionally laughing out loud. It’s like a sitcom that allows the characters to wink at the camera in its handling of its plot and situation. The 70’s set dressing includes the scooters and cars but is most clearly present in the music, which incorporates a lot of the funk sound of the era.
Deadbeat Heroes is an absolute blast of a game. It’s smart and self aware, looks and sounds great, and most importantly is as much fun as it looks. It’s easy to pick up and play, very hard to master and has that ‘just one more go’ feel to it that all the best games have. If you’re looking for something to break up all the sports games and first person shooters that ship at this time of year, then look no further. You’ve found it.
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Deadbeat Heroes is slick, pretty, violent, chaotic, and funny – and an absolute blast to play. No matter what kind of games you’re into, it’s impossible not to have fun with this game. Absolutely worth checking out.