A blend of the classic 90s Super Nintendo-style vertical shooter with some creative new features, Iro Hero provides hours of classic gameplay. Many of us have played shooters of this type, some vertical and some horizontal, such as R-Type. This brings back many memories but with a unique twist.
Iro Hero revolves around Iro, who becomes a fighter after the loss of his mother. In the year 2306, a century after the Nyagu have instructed humans how to use their inner energy to produce electricity, humans have been enslaved in farms to produce energy due to the very gift that they were given. Further elements of the story are revealed during gameplay and information screens. It is hard to focus on the story during gameplay due to the characters and text being displayed on either side of the playing field. I believe that the best way to catch the whole story would be to do video captures of the conversations when they happen. This would yet be another distraction to the gameplay, but if the story is important to the player, this may be the only way to see everything.
Certain features in Iro Hero, some that I believe I have yet to discover, make this shooter well worth playing. The game’s main feature has to do with the ability to change the color of the ship you pilot at will, which makes it possible for your ship to do such things like pass through barriers, solve puzzles, and destroy enemies. When dealing with said enemies, changing the color of your ship to match that of the projectiles they fire at you allows you to absorb their energy to release a powerful attack. While you can absorb enemy fire that is the same color as your ship, you cannot use this tactic with the enemy crafts themselves as it will result in the loss of one of your three lives. In the beginning of the game, the colors available to you are red and blue, and as you progress, you gain the colors yellow and purple as well. The controls are simple yet effective, as well as very responsive. The left stick provides all the movement, while the A button lets you fire your weapons. Changing the color of your ship is done by pressing the right bumper, and the super attack is used with the X button once it is charged up. Even though the controls are done well, I found it easier to play with the Pro controller, though this may just be personal preference.
This game makes it quite difficult for the player to finish a mission, yet it’s very rewarding once you do so. The difficulty from the beginning is higher than it should be, and it took me several tries to finish the first level, and one big reason why the game is such a challenge is thanks to the 10 different enemies with over a hundred different behaviours and a few bosses. Another great feature to this game is that once you finish a level, you can start a new game from the next level. I am sure that once I finish all 9 levels, I will go back to find items that I have missed.
The music in the game gives it a nice upbeat feel, and the graphics are on par with late SNES titles with similar features. While some would say this is not a good thing, I see it as a plus, along with many games like this one that have made its way to the Switch.
One aspect that I feel would add a lot of value to the game would be multiplayer modes. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to have 2 players join up through a co-op mode or maybe even some sort of score attack system. One way the score attack could be done would be either on one Switch or two of them, but each player would have two of the colors, and the other player cannot interact with the other colors. This could possibly (and hopefully) be added in the future with DLC. Other future considerations could be allowing the story to be replayed outside of the game from the menu, and some more features that I can see being added to the game could be a level editor or an endless mode with varying waves of enemies. Any of these would improve the replay value of Iro Hero.
Developer: Artax Games SL
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: 7th June 2018 (Nintendo Switch), 21st June 2018 (PC)
For more information on Iro Hero, click HERE
Alternatively, check out our review of Pode for Nintendo Switch HERE