iPhone App Video Review: My Little Hero

by Andrew Koziara

My Little Hero is a great new action adventure game from Acne Play, published by NCSoft. It's a highly imaginative title with unique ideas and presentation. The simple 3D visuals are well done, and the music creates the perfect tone. The gameplay is pretty standard, with some clunky or awkward controls, but in every other aspect this app screams originality, and I loved it.

The premise is a simple one. After being tucked in by your mother, the boogeyman (who kind of resembles our old pal Oogie Boogie of A Nightmare Before Christmas) takes every single one of your toys and dolls. But you're not going to cry for your mama like most other kids. That's not how you role. You don a cardboard helmet, grab your cardboard sword, and enter your own personal land of Narnia to get your toys back.

Gameplay is your standard hack and slash fare mixed with simple but well executed puzzles. As you chase Boogey through this land of personal nightmares, you'll be attacked by all of your own toys, which have been morphed into enemies, with your favorite toys serving as the bosses. This kid really loves bugs and dead trees and other creepy things you'll find in a dark swamp or forest, but I suppose it's for the best that you aren't being attacked by super heroes or cars instead. Enemies will drop buttons, which you can save up to buy extra powerful pajama shirts (read: Armor), increasing your life. Enemies and crates will also drop candy, which refills your health. If you want to spend twenty buttons, you can buy a full health lollipop from certain vending machines. Every level has one of your toys hidden away, and you get bonuses for collecting all of them.

The visuals are kind of dreary and muddy in color, but that was the point. A horrible swamp where all of your creepy crawly toys have turned into enemies totally seems like a kid's nightmare world. The music was unique and matched the game perfectly, and I especially love the somber and beautiful main theme, which makes use of lullaby music box tones. Oddly, instead of Game Center, the Wemo network is supported for achievements, which I'd never heard of. Seven games total use this network, with Gem Keeper being the most notable, another NCSoft title.

My only real complaint is that the controls can feel stiff or clunky, which can lead to you getting hit a lot, but then the game throws tons of candy at you to compensate.  It's not the most graceful approach to the problem, but it gets the job done I suppose. It can also feel very repetitive, and could use some more variety, especially in level design. If you don't mind the lacking gameplay and controls, and are in it more for the mood and the creativity, you'll love this title like I did. Plus, there's tons of content, and more levels promised in future updates. My Little Hero is for the iPhone and iPod Touch only, and is currently available for one dollar at the time of this review. That's a limited time introductory sale price, so grab it before it goes up if you're interested.

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