With the world under siege by the evil Dr. H8, many heroes (98 in this edition, to be exact) have been called to stop his plan to destroy the earth. Each hero will do their part in platforming through 88 levels within 88 minutes, battling bosses along the way. There are 8s all over, so hopefully, that isn’t your unlucky number. This is our 88 Heroes Switch review.
88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition opens with a cutscene explaining that Dr. H8 has hatched a plan to destroy the world on August 8, 1988. The heroes have 88 minutes to stop his plan, in the H8 Inc., building on route 88. If you haven’t noticed yet, most numbers in the game are 88 for no reason other than to keep the theme running. Killing an enemy gives you 88 points, picking up a coin gives you 88 points, each map gives you 88 seconds to get to the end, etc.
88 Heroes throws you straight into the action, telling you that your goal is to just reach the other end of the map. After your first room, you are given a random hero with a quick overview of what the buttons do for that hero. You generally have a jump, look, and action button. Each of these can change with heroes, and heroes can have special conditions like “Wong Wei” reversing your controls, or “El Delayo” having input lag on his movements. Each of these will be explained when you start with the hero, which means you’ll have to quickly adjust to the new abilities of your given hero. If you die or finish the level, you are given a different hero to play with. This means there is a good amount of reading at the beginning, which starts to ease off as you learn the characters.
The game does have a zany feel to it, as your character is shown on a monitor being watched by Dr. H8 in his control center with his minions walking around behind him. He will mock you when you die, and complain that you are able to make it through the level. This can get distracting, however, as some of the moving minions can walk right in front of platforms you are aiming for and cause you to miss a jump or move into the path of an enemy.
While there is a great variety of heroes in the game, the levels quickly begin to feel overly familiar with only 4 different tilesets to move through. The enemies don’t add much of a challenge, and due to the many variations of hero skills you can get during your playthrough the levels feel like they have suffered as a result. While there are some neat areas where you can see a hero’s ability helps with a quick clear, such as “Madame Missle” and her quick forward dash attack, the game can be cleared with well-timed avoidance and normal platforming. Many of the characters are instantly familiar as references to pop culture, such as “Ian_Error” as a missingno, “Retro Reptile” which turns the level into a game of Snake, and my favorite, “Rick Roll”, who sings and shoots hearts.
While 88 Heroes can be fun for a quick play session, the premise feels as though it hurts the overall game. Making each level beatable by each hero makes the game a little too easy at times, but it is fun to get one of your favorite heroes and mess around with their unique abilities. While you can unlock modes that let you limit the heroes you wish to use, to either a pool of 8 with Magnificent 8 mode or 1 with solo, it still doesn’t quite solve the game’s issue of needing to cater to all of the heroes as a whole.
OVERALL SCORE: 6.5/10
- Large cast of heroes
- Good Soundtrack
- Feels overly repetitive
- Many heroes are similar