“There’s something strange/in the neighbourhood/whom you gonna call…”
That line from the second Ghostbusters movie, where the ghostbusters are trying to sell themselves to a bunch of kids, shows how important the He-Man cartoon was to many of us when we were growing up. Since then, He-Man has seen many different iterations — comic books, action figures, and a reboot of the cartoon series — and the latest is Chillingo Entertainment‘s interpretation presented in a video game form in the new He-Man: The Most Powerful Game.
Back To The Cartoon Roots
What immediately strikes you about the game is the art style. Chillingo has faithfully recreated some of the art from the classic 80s cartoon, and modernized it with new animation styles while retaining the cartoony look. The favourite characters, the exaggerated physiques, the strange warriors — it’s all in place.
The game is meant to be for both kids and adults, so the storyline and the dialogues are a little comical, and almost kiddish. The plot revolves around Skeletor making a diabolical new app that will end the world, and He-Man’s attempts to thwart him. Through the course of the game, you will come across dialogues both silly and funny, such as Skeletor’s laugh-out-loud, “Ah He-Man! A man so manly they had to name him twice!”
Apart from a modified version of the classic He-Man theme, the game doesn’t put much effort into sound effects. Dialogues are in text, not read out. Once in a while, you will hear He-Man grunt or Skeletor cackle, and the usual sound of metal hitting metal in a melee, but that’s about it.
Slash And Jump
He-Man: The Most Powerful Game is a side-scrolling platformer with the simple objective of taking out all the baddies with your trusty sword. The left half of the screen controls your movements, while the right half controls jumps and attacks. Putting jumps on the right didn’t really make sense to me, and I often mistimed a jump or a jump+attack because of it.
As you make your way through the campaign, you will come across several classic characters, both friends and enemies. For example, there’s Man-At-Arms, who can be called upon for shooting objects at a distance, or Orko to revive you if you die. And each world is guarded by one of Skeletor’s henchmen, such as Beastman, Merman and Trapjaw, whom you have to defeat in boss battles.
Along the way, you will also be able to upgrade He-Man’s abilities, such as new moves to take out enemies, wall-crushers to help you reach new places and unlock secrets, and boost your health bars. All of these can be purchased with gems, which you earn whenever you defeat an enemy.
The gameplay is smooth and fast, and varied enough with different enemies that it never gets boring. Chillingo has actually done a really good job in making an action platformer.
So is it worth it?
Overall, He-Man is definitely bang for buck considering it costs just a dollar. The developers have managed to make a game that is entertaining for adults as well as kids.
If there is one complaint, it’s that the controls aren’t great. But you can customize those too in the settings to tweak them to how you want it.
And another “not-so-real complaint”: I would have loved it if there had been a level or two with Battle-cat! Perhaps in the sequel…