Bunnylord is weird, even for a character in a videogame. He’s neither the antagonist nor protagonist in Not A Hero, but he lies at the centre of the action of Roll7’s sidescrolling shooter, which has just arrived on the PS4 and Vita.
Bunnylord is a giant purple humanoid with a rabbit’s head who has arrived from the future with a message: if he’s not elected mayor by the end of the month, something terrible will befall humankind.
If that sounds bizarre, it pales in comparison to his plans to attain office, which involves sending minions out into the city on menial-sounding quests. The way they successfully accomplish these tasks involves leaving a trail of bodies behind them that would make Hannibal Lecter raise an eyebrow.
As you may have gathered, Not A Hero isn’t very big on plot; rather the game’s narrative is a simple excuse for the game’s script writers to crack wise in the cut-scenes, while the developers shunt the player into a series of increasingly challenging kill-boxes.
For the most part, Not A Hero plays like the demented illegitimate offspring of BroForce and Hotline Miami. Players pop into a small area filled with enemies with a goal to complete and their mission is to blast their way from one end of the level to the other.
The tasks vary wildly; one minute the player has to rescue hostages from drug dealers and the next they have to make sure Bunnylord’s election billboard has power restored to it.
The action is pretty fast-paced and bloody. When the player caps an enemy, claret explodes from their body in 8-bit pixelated sprays accompanied by the sound of a guttural retch. Aside from being able to jump, players can also slide under foes, tripping them up and allowing them to deliver a kill-shot from close range. The results are as visceral as you’d imagine.
The slide mechanic can present a couple of problems – especially for those players who want to accomplish the speed runs dotted about in certain levels. Tapping the X button sends the player sliding towards the nearest object and places them in cover. Once there, they can pop out and shoot without soaking up too much damage.
However, if they decide to slide towards the next piece of cover and an enemy is too close to it, they’ll slide straight into the barrel of a gun. Incidentally, it doesn’t take too many shots to turn the player’s character into paint. Toss in the fact that in later levels there are enemies that can kill the player with one shot, and Not A Hero can tend to become more than a little frustrating.
Over the course of the game, players will unlock a decent number of characters with different abilities; there’s one who wields a shotgun, another that has an Uzi, one that has a sword and a gun – the list goes on -which allows the player to revisit earlier challenges with different loadouts.
The only niggle is that Not A Hero isn’t particularly deep as an experience; it has in-level challenges – some of which are absolutely rock-hard – and some hidden levels, but really, the action is pretty one-note. Once players have conquered a level there’s only the prospect of trying it out with another character to keep them interested.
That having been said, Not A Hero has a certain zany charm to it. While it’s a little thin at times, its retro appeal – both in the presentation and gameplay departments – will keep players suitably entertained. And hey, at least BunnyLord is more upfront about his intentions than any politician currently in or seeking high office.
- Not A Hero was reviewed on a PS4. Review code was provided by the publisher.