676726_largerA flow of liquid gurgles with the inscrutable distance and hollow resonance of undersea sounds. Cavernous at this magnification, passages and expanses stretch to the peripheries of vision and worm off into the distance, hazed by the faintly colored substance that bloats them. In the depths of some unknown body, there is life.

Silhouetted in black, beds of plants and fungi often anchor themselves to the material composing the walls. They gently wave to invisible currents, sometimes broken by barbed, scorpion-like but unmoving shadows or other vaguely menacing shapes. Animal life, too, exists amongst the flora. But theirs is not so peaceful.

Small chittering creatures, oblong cell-like bodies with fluttering flagella, inhabit these waters. Some of these shine a stark white, sharply contrasting the dark walls and inky cellular creatures who slaughter the former. We join Hero of Many [$3.99] some time through their apparent genocide or subjugation at the will of the latter.

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A single small, round cell falls from a swarm of fleeing white creatures, lost in the scuffle. Your character gently settles to a rest below, beginning your wordless adventure. A press of the finger serves as your method of navigation, spurring the cell toward it, with distance from the center governing speed.

As you explore two-dimensional planes, much like Aquaria or Metroid with anti-gravity, you'll encounter friends and foes in roughly equal measure. Friends, separated and isolated in the aftermath of whatever momentous thing is happening, quickly move to join you as you approach. They act autonomously, darting toward and attacking the squiggly black beasties that threaten your life. As they eat, be it naturally growing sustenance of pieces torn from the bodies of foes, they'll grow in size and strength. Light puzzle elements and environmental hazards are sprinkled throughout to lend variety. No element is ever overbearing, though challenge in general is lacking.

Hero of Many maintains a persistent sense of wonder. While occasional cutscenes pose dynamics between the animals, the wordless nature of it all leaves curiosity to drive you forward. There's still very much a story, but it's one you investigate and observe rather than receive through exposition. Some sort of journey or reunification or escape? It's an immersive mystery.

Occasionally you forget the drive to understand. Excellent, often haunting ambient music pulls you in, and the trichromatic environments naturally startle and unsettle. On at least one occasion, it inspired genuine fright.

Hero of Many is meditative and unique. An enthralling experience that is, rather than acting as a fun distraction, a game you can lose yourself and invest in. An artistic achievement some may find lacking in gameplay, but I truly wish the App Store held more titles like this.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • garret44

    What??? Can this come to iPhone??

    • Matouš Ježek

      There is quite a lot of physics computation during fights in Hero of Many

      We would love to release it for the two latest generations of iPhone, but as far as I know Apple doesn't allow developers to exclude just iPhone 3GS and 4. This might change when iOS 7 comes.

  • metalcasket

    4.5/5? Well deserved! =) This truly is an experience that sticks with you and I'll personally be remembering this at the end of the year when compiling my own "Game of the Year" list. Anyone with an iPad should do themselves a favor and check this out...no excuses.

  • garret44

    Hah it looks like a bunch of sperm following an egg. Wonder if that was intentional?

    • Dams

      Yeah i was to about to say: so this is how a vagina looks like inside...

    • SCpiinndaelr

      It has to be. Even one of the path obstacles looks like a pic of a woman's uterus, tubes etc etc. Wth... Lol.

    • Bischi777

      So there is an alien/dragon in every uterus? They didnt tell me this in school...

      • garret44

        Haha the dragon is a std

  • Rothgarr

    Oh man that music in the trailer is awesome. Truly epic. Is it anywhere in the game, like when those dark dudes come at you?

    • Matouš Ježek

      Definitely! There is -90 minutes- of original soundtrack from Matus Siroky. He composed music for Mafia II for example.

      • Rothgarr

        Thanks! I bought the game, it's really great!

  • Jaylewl

    Sperm: False alarm!!! It's a throat!

  • HelperMonkey

    Our young protagonist - fresh from creative writing class, boiling with ambition, yearning to create - sits boldly at the computer. With palms damp, fingers hovering above the keyboard, the great confrontation arrives: The Blank Screen. That great, gravid possibility. An empty ballroom, awaiting the dance of words.
    This will be no mere review. This will be art. This will be inspiration.
    And even more, this will be publication. A dream realized... The wordsmith forever reborn as a real Writer.
    Sing Gloria.
    --
    [Meanwhile, this is a game in which you control a wad of sperm. Hello? What? SOLD!]

    • Kris Goorhuis

      *haughtily strokes his pencil mustache*

      My words, zey are a gift unto ze world. Do you not love zem?

  • echo_pdx

    Man. It is just crazy how many great games are out right now. I'm experiencing a crisis of choice! This looks beautiful.

  • Boobi

    Is there enough experience in this game to replayed, possible other choices or paths or is it just a one shot deal and then you're done.

    • bman654

      sure. after your first shot in the front, you can choose to take another shot in the back.

  • fedepuopolo

    Awesome game! Congrats to the developers!

  • Plynx

    Are the controls of the "touch-to-go-here" type?

    • Matouš Ježek

      Yes and you control speed depending on how far your finger is from the main character.

      • Plynx

        I'll pass then. Can't stand that, and I didn't get into playing Waking Mars or Aquaria either for the same reason. Wish there was a virtual stick option! :(

      • Rothgarr

        I was hesitant about the controls as first too. Your first thought is that your fingers will cover the screen and it's a valid concern. But after actually playing it, I'm not sure a virtual stick would work. There are some areas where you really need precise movement and I don't believe a small virtual stick area would work. I think the best option would be to offer a moveable virtual stick overlay that you could use for most of the movement -- but then you could also use the entire screen as you do now for really fast and/or precise movement.

  • wojovox

    Feel like I've played this before, before I was even born.

  • Rothgarr

    I picked up this game over the weekend -- I really like it. Just when you think the gameplay will be repetitious it starts throwing puzzles and new gameplay dynamics into the mix and it keeps things fresh.

  • jt23738

    Devs this hame crashes on startup on my Iphone 4s

  • Manfred

    How to defeat the Dragon in level 23? In the room before, there are white moveable items. After the Dragon, there is an exit, but it is closed. How to open the exit?

    Thank you in advance,
    Manfred

Hero of Many Reviewed by Kris Goorhuis on . Rating: 4.5