Hero Survival Review
Ever since Vampire Survivors was released in December 2021, there have been a tonne of games that have been released trying to recreate that perfect formula to create a fun and addictive game. I am a huge Vampire Survivors fan, and I've been playing it on the Xbox since it was just a preview, so I always jump at the chance to play other Survivors-like shoot-em-ups, as I am pretty sure it will be a fun time.
Hero Survival is one of the newest additions to the genre created by Pigeon Dev and Sometimes You. Instead of feeling like an exact copy, you will find a lot of different elements here that create a unique experience. Instead of magic and swords as you find in Vampire Survivors, you rely on a collection of firearms, and instead of being able to hold only one gun, you can have up to four! The enemies that you have to fight are monsters that you would find in classic horror movies, like ghosts, vampires, witches, or mummies. Though these aren’t the only characters from films and real life you will find here, the heroes that you can play include John (Rambo), Abraham Lincoln (Abe), or Ford (Indiana Jones), just to name a few. Sorry to break it to you, but these characters aren’t available right off the bat. The only character that you can play is Jake, and you will have to use him to earn enough gold to unlock the others. 5000 is the price you will have to pay to get Rambo, and then the price increases by that base amount as you try to unlock the next. Each of the characters has different stats, and the one I felt was more helpful was the increase of max HP when you play a character like Abe.
When you begin, you are equipped with one smaller pistol to fight off your foes. Fortunately, all the enemies are weak against lead (even the ghosts, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense) and only take a few shots to defeat. The larger monsters, like Frankenstein, take a lot more hits to kill. But because of their size, they are slower, so they aren’t as big of a threat. Your weapon fires automatically, so all you need to worry about is running around the level, trying to avoid the creatures, and collecting the gold pieces the defeated enemies have dropped.
The hardest thing to get used to in Hero Survival is when you are equipped with four guns floating over your head. These weapons can obscure your view, especially if you have larger guns like shotguns and rifles. That makes it a bit tricky to see the monsters when there is a large horde, and they get up close to you. The advantage of having all these guns is that they will automatically fire at the enemies closest to them. So, as you run around the level, they will adjust their aim, taking out all the foes in their range.
After you defeat a few waves of enemies, you will decide which of the three classes you want to play for the duration of your run. The Bomber makes bombs appear when enemies are defeated, hurting the remaining foes around them; the Gunslinger, whose gunshots can penetrate the monsters, damaging a few of the ones behind them; or the Cryomancer, who has a chance to freeze the enemies that they hit. I usually select the bombs because I like how they damage the remaining monsters and don’t hurt me!
There is a timer on the top of the screen that counts down the amount of time the wave of enemies is there. The first wave is quite short and lasts around thirty seconds, but as you progress, these get longer. When the timer hits zero, all the remaining enemies run away, and you get to select a weapon or item from four choices. There is a huge variety of weapons to choose from, including pistols, shotguns, miniguns, and even grenade launchers that you can equip. There are also items that can improve your luck, the amount of damage you inflict, and your magnet, which will grab gold in your proximity.
These aren’t the only upgrades that you will earn while playing; every time you collect enough XP to fill the bar at the top of the screen, you will level up. You get to select one of three rewards, ranging from health to replenish HP, inflict extra damage, move faster, or collect more gold. The upgrades aren’t permanent, though; they only last until your next level up, when you will get to select another power-up.
Hero Survival is a lot more challenging than you may first think. Sure, at the beginning, the monsters are slow and easy to avoid, but the later waves move a lot faster and the number of enemies increases. It is very easy to get overtaken and defeated, especially when they try to drive you into the corners of the map. Oh, and did I mention that enemies walk out of the trees surrounding the perimeter of the map? Watch out when you get pushed up against the edges because these “invisible” enemies can easily hit you.
Chances are you will be stuck on the first level, called the Green Zone, for quite a while, as you will need to get through 10 waves of enemies before the next stage is unlocked. These levels aren’t huge, but there is a lot of room to manoeuvre around the enemies. There are a few lone trees in the middle that you can use to slow down the monsters if you try to camp out and plough down the hordes coming at you. So that was a nice addition. The characters in the game are cute and almost chibi-like due to their diminutive size and are a nice contrast to the realistic-looking guns that you carry. The music that you will hear (on repeat, no doubt) was pretty forgettable, along with the gun sound effects that are always the same, no matter the weapon you are using.
I’ve been having a good time playing Hero Survival. There are tons of things to unlock, whether it be characters or new guns to add to your available arsenal and new levels to explore; it always felt like I was working towards something new. Though the new characters were quite expensive to unlock, especially when every step towards the next costs the amount you paid for the last one plus 5000 gold pieces, I think this game is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy other shoot-‘em-up titles like Vampire Survivors, especially with the addition of cool classic monsters for enemies and unique heroes to play as! Who doesn’t want to shoot down ghosts, witches, and Frankenstein monsters with Abe or Rambo?
Hero Survival (Reviewed on Nintendo Switch)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
Hero Survival is a worthy addition to the rogue-like shoot-em-up genre that has a lot of unique touches to make it feel different and addictive to play.