Heroki review: This cute, family-friendly side-scrolling iPhone/iPad game is a breezy and relaxing time-waster, as well as a completionist’s wet dream.
As with most adventures of this ilk, Heroki’s plot is pretty bog-standard: Evil-doer steals generic item of great power which can be used by evil types to end the world, yet is left unguarded in a peaceful village instead of stored in a massive vault covered in lava, a thousand miles underground.
In this case, the generic thing of great power is called the Emerix, and the nefarious nemesis is a big fella rocking a black cape (obviously – what were you expecting, a pink tutu?) And of course, it’s up to a cheeky flying monkey thing called Heroki to snatch back the Emerix and save the world. Because no one else can apparently be bothered.
Heroki’s gameplay is nice and simple – just soar your way through each level in search of the exit gate, while flicking switches and twisting knobs and dodging evil beastie types. However, the ridiculous number of collectibles in every level will keep dedicated gamers busy for ages, as you strive to find every hidden crevice and top previous high scores. And the open nature of some levels means you can usually plot your own route to the exit, even skipping chunks if you want to speed your way through the game.
Thankfully there’s a choice of control options, as the ‘drag Heroki with your finger’ default set-up doesn’t work too well on the tiny screen of older iPhones. I opted instead for a typical virtual joystick, which was perfectly usable.
Heroki isn’t completely helpless either, so while it’s often advised to simply dodge around and run away from enemies, you can also pick up crates wherever you find them and hurl the things at baddies. The pull-back-to-aim mechanics are reminiscent of Angry Birds and work perfectly, allowing you to fire off shots even as you soar about the place.
Presentation is also spot on, with gorgeous, colourful graphics that are appealing to both adults and kids alike. And although at times it feels like the camera is zoomed in a little too close to the action, especially when you’re flying around at top speed, the game warns you about any off-screen dangers that you’re zipping towards with a handy exclamation mark.
Heroki’s learning curve is pleasingly gentle, with the various mechanics gradually rolled out throughout the game’s many levels. The number of lives you’re given is generous enough to keep younger players in the game – and you can always buy new lives and power-ups at the handy local store, using coins collected along the way.
There’s also a level called Willy Splash. Snarf.
While Heroki doesn’t have a single original bone in its body, it is at least a very well-presented adventure that is pleasantly relaxing to play – and it successfully caters for a wide range of ages.