First Impressions – Next Up Hero (Nintendo Switch)

Next Up Hero is the most recent title to come along from the development team behind Lock’s Quest, so if you enjoyed that game, this will likely be of interest. For everyone else, it’s definitely a toss-up and will probably depend on how engaged you’d like to be with the game’s online community.

Visually, Next Up Hero is very clean, with a cartoony art style that’s both visually appealing and uncomplicated—almost bordering on simplistic. It’s meant to be an RPG title with rogue-lite elements and a cooperative death mechanic. In fact, cooperation and community are a large part of the game’s appeal, as the levels offered up to the player are designed not only by the devs, but also by the community or even yourself. Think of it like a Super Mario Maker but for an RPG.

Levels are designed so that if you die inside—and you will, it’s almost guaranteed—someone else can come along and complete the level or quest… they’re the next hero up to play. Get it? Yeah, we thought so. If you enter a level that someone else is playing (yes, you can do that), you’ll actually appear on-screen as a kind of spectre spectator, waiting for them to die or for something to happen that allows you to briefly interact with the environment (ie. offer healing to the primary player). If you’ve unlocked co-op spectating, you can follow them around and even fight on their behalf. The more levels you play, the more content gets unlocked.

Yes, it’s an interesting concept, but while we played the demo… it felt like something was missing. That might have been because it’s hard to really understand the community-level engagement when you’re playing a demo on an expo hall floor. Instead, the game seemed a little flat and one-dimensional, and the full “hook” concept didn’t get demonstrated or explained very clearly. It was only after reading around online that we learned the levels from the devs are supposed to be too hard to beat on first play-through, that when your character dies they’ll leave behind warrior spirits that can be revived or even combined to help you in battle.

Honestly, it wasn’t a very good demo and we definitely missed a lot of information at the booth that we could have asked about or had clarified for you. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that seeing the full game in action will provide a better experience overall, because the community-generated level concept, as well as the “shadow” player idea seems really cool. Stay tuned for news updates on this one in our regular posts as it progresses through to release!


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Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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