In times of old, an egg was merely a circular, semi-cellular object whose job it was to lie in wait for the fittest and most agile soldier of the “spermada”. Times have changed, my friend, and no longer is the “egg” some passive, penetrable object of fertilization… Instead, she has evolved into the leader of the free world, gathering strength as she conquers the subterranean (and sometimes spikey) domain in which she resides. And what of the spermada, you ask? They are her soldiers.
In Hero of Many, you play the role of a small, multi-cellular organism (essentially, an egg at various stages of cellular division) who travels through the depths of… something… in order to get somewhere. It’s true, not a whole lot is explained from the outset. As you bump and glide along various subterranean caverns, you’ll pick up small, glowy balls which add to your overall “influence” and durability as well as the occasional spermy-straggler. Look, I realize that there is a slim chance that the developer actually had no inkling of the reproductive cycle while designing this game, but I remain skeptical. Your quest, as said egg-thing, is to explore and add to your army in order to fend of the evil squigglies in the never-ending struggle for life-or-death.
“Evil sperm!?” you ask, “How is this so… I thought reproduction was simply a matter of ‘survival of the fittest’ in a brief race to the egg?” I laugh at your shallow interpretation of the reproductive cycle. No, the actual process is much more sinister and far more trial-some… If Hero of Many were a true representation of biology, a single badass “guide” egg would meet you at the pearly gates to function as an escort of sorts back to home base. In your travels, you’d meet up with other squigglies who are all in it for the same reason and work together in defending the guide at all costs. Unfortunately, unlike real-life, I have no idea what actually happens once you all get to the destination. Do you and all of your squad-mates devolve into some sort of end-game brawl? Or, do you decide that shaking hands and grabbing a beer would be a better resolution than mutual destruction? That’s for you, the reader, to discover.
A Pro-Creation Gauntlet
The graphics of HoM are beautifully illustrated in that vector style reminiscent of games such as World of Goo and Limbo – simple lines with glowy effects. There is no tutorial to speak of, aside from a general reminder on how to tap your tablet nor is there much in the way of a story or plot. From the beginning, you are simply guiding the egg around caverns using a tap-to-guide style interface. Running into glowing orbs will add to your general luminance (strength) and seems – seems – to allow you to accumulate more soldiers. Hidden in the dark crevasses of the “underground” world, you’ll also find straggler-sperm waiting for the bandwagon. These stragglers will gladly join your egg-army to help fight against the evil sperm lying in wait. In addition to gathering more troops and making your egg more resilient, you’ll encounter glowing flowers that your troops can snack on to make themselves stronger as well as sinister spike-traps. Again, in a similar vein as World of Goo, each major “stage” ends with a strange vortex that sucks you up and out into the next area. Thankfully, you’ll find several “save crystals” scattered throughout the tunnels which allow you to retry some of the more difficult levels. Things start getting tricky when you need to shove boulders around to open new pathways, and hidden passages lead you straight into traps.
Hero of Many is a simple and elegant game that will preoccupy your time for a good while. Offering a total of 4 worlds and 26 levels for $3.99, the price seems a tad high for the lack of complexity and depth – yet, it certainly is easy on the eyes. I would recommend this title to the casual gamer who enjoys attractive graphics, eerie ambient sound effects, and a shallow learning curve. If you’re a fan of the style and physics of World of Goo but want something a bit more action-oriented, give Hero of Many a run for the money.