Random Heroes [Free] is the latest platformer by Ravenous Games and Woblyware, the creators of the acclaimed League of Evil [$1.99] and Burger Cat [$2.99]. It looks a lot like the original League of Evil, only with more varied art, and it uses Ravenous' refined and precise virtual controls. But the first thing you need to know about Random Heroes is that it's not League of Evil.

The League of Evil games are precision platformers in the same general vein as Super Meat Boy. Random Heroes is more of a run and gun game, though it isn't as packed with enemies as Contra or Metal Slug 3 [$3.99]. Instead, the enemies are tough, and by tough, I mean it takes a lot of hits to take them down.

This is where the game makes an awkward compromise with IAP. There are no single-use items in Random Heroes, and you can grind until you can afford everything, but the basic zombies that are the first enemies you face take eight shots to kill with your starting weapon. It feels like the game will soon become impossible to play without more firepower. However, by the time you've got a rocket launcher and the "Robodude costume" (maximum damage bonus), you'll discover that it still takes two hits to kill that same zombie. Though this maintains game balance, it feels anticlimactic.

Shoot and dodge/retreat is the basic mechanic here, as the game's pits and obstacles are fairly forgiving. You won't have to do much outwitting either. The toughness of the cyborg zombies you'll gun down extends to their steel-plated craniums. In most cases, if you can get behind them, they'll keep walking away while you shoot them in the back.

The game's flying enemies are probably its biggest challenge, as the most common ones home in on your position and hover just above your line of fire, forcing you to get to high ground or jump-shoot repeatedly to take them down. One disappointing element in Random Heroes is just how similar the weapons are.

Nearly every weapon in the game fires in a straight horizontal line, with only damage per hit and rate of fire variable. This includes the flamethrower, which does not light enemies on fire, and the rocket launcher, which does not do splash damage. The shotgun is the sole exception, as it shoots bullets in a three way split.

It all looks amazing, from spent casings that fly away from your minigun to the game's titular heroes. This is simultaneously the game's most exciting and most disappointing element. You can play as a trucker, a cop, one of the evil scientists from League of Evil, a nun, or even Abraham Lincoln (axe not included).

Each of these costumes has health, speed, and damage modifiers, but there's no plot - you just pay to unlock them - and no special abilities, with one exception: the jester can jump considerably higher and longer than any other character, making most of the platforming easier (and a few bits harder, as characters  always jump their maximum height). There is, however, no way to find this out in-game prior to  buying that costume.

There are even a couple of places that only the jester can get to, but it's not a big deal, as the only hidden items in the game are small caches of coins and the occasional medkit. Something like the briefcases from League of Evil would have gone a long way towards encouraging exploration. That and dead-average level design, with sufficient challenges but very few surprises, contribute to the sense of monotony that creeps into the game.

The shotgun and the jester hint at where Random Heroes could have gone with it's premise, something like Metal Slug meets Kid Chamelon, or maybe even a side-scrolling dual-stick shooter. As it is, it's not a bad little platform shooter, and there is something awesome about Honest Abe toting a flamethrower, but it's not Ravenous and Wobblyware's best work.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/h_A_Z Hazli Sulaiman

    Giving 3/5 is too generous IMHO

    • Paul Johns

      Think people are losing perspective a bit. This is a decent platform game, 30 levels, nice grapics, plays well and its ONLY 69p. 69p !!!! Still a bargain at that price for the play you'll get from this, could be better but again 69p is well well worth it.

      • jcifrit

        People like you forget reviews and enjoyment of a game are not based on price...they're based on, well, the game!

      • Ryan Gill

         Actually, that isn't entirely accurate. They are based on the game, but price point IS a factor to some people. One example- I want to get Kingdom Hearts 3D, but I don't think the experience it offers is worth me pulling $40 out of my budget. In a few months when someone sells it on Amazon or Ebay for $20-25? Sure.Asura's Wrath was a game were the general consensus was "worth checking out at least once, but maybe wait until it isn't $60 anymore."

        Keeping it to iOS, ANYONE who follows iOS gaming knows that games that are FANTASTIC but priced $7, $10, $12, etc draw ire from people who feel that they are too much. So it is entirely fair to mention that, no this isn't the next Contra but hey it is only a buck. Having played it myself, I don't regret it. Will it sit on my device, drawing me to it over the years as a Contra may? Nope, but those games used to set me back $40-60. This is a dollar, and it is decently fun for a short time.

  • ShawnMak

    I really enjoyed the Flash game more. There were crystal skulls that were similar to the briefcases in LOE and were also worth a few hundred coins. However, I didn't think it was that bad on iOS. :P

  • Adams Immersive

    iCade/controller support is planned, by the way, according to the game thread.

  • ImJPaul

    I agree that 3/5 was too generous. This game is so repetitive and boring that it shouldn't have been released. I'm still really disappointed about this. I expected SOOOO much more from the people who put out league of evil.

  • theundertow

    I've liked it enough but was let down after grinding to the Robo/Rocket combo as described in the article.

    I see replay ability being very low, specifically because the Characters mostly just look different (without playing differently) and the Weapon Upgrades are sooo meh.

    Update to have added effects....and add hidden items....Gold Coins and a Med-pack are all that's out there.

    Characters should have unique alternate weapons or abilities to make them more than Skins with slightly different stats.

  • Rusothil

    I feel like there is so much potential in all of ravenous game's games, yet it falls short due to level design. I hope this issue is solved in their upcoming releases because the game play and engines of all their games are really well made and implemented. There is always just one thing keeping these games back from being epic.

  • Tim Harding

    Yeah, very disappointing.  There's no soul to this game.  It is boring, repetitive, and nowhere near as inspiring as League of Evil (the first one).

  • http://www.gamegent.com/ Game Gent

    This game is so-so. The pixel art is good, the controls are great, and the level design is decent (although a little short in my opinion). What really drags this game down is balance issues. It takes an unreasonable amount of shots to kill the most basic enemies.

    I found myself grinding for coins, and fighting the first level boss over and over just so I could buy a decent gun in hopes that it would somehow make the game more enjoyable. Then I run into higher level enemies that require even more powerful weapons. That was it for me.

    I don't want to grind in a platform game and I felt I was being punished by the game because I didn't spend real cash to buy better weapons.

  • bifter

    Am I the only person that likes this game?

    They made a lot of design decisions that work for me as a platformer for people on the go. No level timer, no respawning enemies, coins don't disappear over time and I kinda like the fact that the enemies have zero AI. Making it a bit more puzzle like than a frantic platformer. The grind didn't bother either, saving coins to buy guns n outfits seems a reasonable thing to do. I never felt it necessary to use the IAP. Pixel art of enemies and heroes is great.

    That said, I do have some gripes. I too missed some kind of hidden gems, would've been a very easy thing to include. I like the level design but find they all look the same. Would've been nice if the 3 worlds were a bit more distinctive. But please don't add a slippy world!

    I find the music irritating as hell and there seems to be a bug in the volume slider meaning it doesn't always mute as it should. Also, would've been nice to switch guns without visiting the shop.

    I still like this game, looking forward to an update. Looking forward to Burger Cat update too, which seems a very long time coming! Maybe in a year it'll get a decent update and I can revisit and go find all those hidden goodies they must surely be adding.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donald.ronald.754 Donald Ronald

    I thought it was bland and the difficulty feels artificial. I'm not putting myself in any more danger if it's taking me 10 shots to kill something or 1. It's just taking more time to kill. Multiple shots works well on bosses like when youre fighting koopa kids in smb3, but not how it's presented here. Just very tedious.

  • InfectiousRed

    It's good, but the floor has glitched on me a handful of times, there doesn't seem to be any secrets to search for, and other than killing for coins doesn't seem to be much reason to explore the levels. It's not a bad game, but I wouldn't write home about it like I would the LoE games.

  • Netsquash

    I'm enjoying this game. For the price of $.99 at introduction I don't expect a ton of frills. It really takes a basic approach but does it perfectly. They could have done more, I agree, but I would want to pay more for that. What can you expect for this price, they have no where to go but free. Im happy with what I paid for and I'm getting far more then my bucks worth of enjoyment out of it. I would but this game over and over again.

    • MidianGTX

       $1 or $1,000,000, a game has to be good to be worth playing.

  • farnsworth_pro

     I guess the lesson for Ravenous is that you cant get away with the same things in an adventure/platformer that you can in a puzzle game (League of Evil 1 & 2) I like this graphic style a lot better than League 2. If there was more of an actual arching game behind Random Heroes, I'd probably still be playing it.

  • chamillion205

    I think this game is pretty good.

  • http://www.games.99k.org/ games

    great action platform game tis very unqiue :D

Random Heroes Reviewed by Tof Eklund on . Rating: 3