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 Post subject: Iro Hero (XB1 - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:10 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 265
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Oh, me. Oh, my What do we've got here?, another Multi-console shooter. This time is Iro Hero.

The 16-Bit equivalent of Ikaruga?

This game is a vertical shooter that makes focus on one thing: COLOR POLARITY, just like the legendary Ikaruga. However, the game uses red and blue in this feature rather than black and white. Like in Ikaruga, learning to use the Color Polarity is crucial to survive since it is your shield as you can pass through lasers depending on the color of your ship, also you can use the color to charge your special attacks: Tesla Shock and Gravity Ignition. Tesla Shock is a homing laser that locks on 2 or 3 enemies or constantly damage a big one, to fire the shock just press the X Button. Gravity Ignition makes all of your enemies explode after spinning. Pressing the Y Button will unleash this attack.
Color Polarity isn't just applied to your ship an enemies, it is also exploited as a puzzle element implying mirrors that bounce a specific color and absorbed the wrong one, passing through barriers (red ship passes through red barrier). Later in the game it throws a curve ball involving purple barriers that change bullet colors (red to blue and viceversa). Some of the boss battles involve the use of the mirror puzzle element adding a little extra challenge to the game.
There's two power ups to provide some help in your mission: One of them is the Twin Shot and the other is a rear-side shot that fires on the sides and backwards.

Unfortunately, the challenge factor goes out of control in the later stages when the yellow barriers are introduced. These barriers change any color to yellow and if you try to pass through, you'll be destroyed. I can understand the puzzle factor, but adding non-accessible colors is one unfair curve ball, specially in stage 9 where do you have to navigate through a corridor where yellow bullets are fired at you. Dying in Story Mode is another problem with this game since it sends you back at the beginning of the stage, and in some stages, at the beginning of the cutscene. The game features a time limit at the bottom left of the screen. At first i tought it was like decoration, but when the bar became a red countdown i've realized the game will force you into a hurry.
Also, to finish things, the ship's power ups are temporary as their energy bars consumes even without using them, making them almost useless.

Like FullBlast, this game is a sad, pathetic Gamerscore milker, 'cos you don't have to fully complete the game to get all the 17 achievements: Absorb 10 bullets, then 100, kill your first enemy, 10 hit combo, 20 hit, die once, die 10 times and all of them in a single session. Zero challenge at all. Hell, even Natsuki Chronicles put up a better challenge than this, i know they want you to unlock all what you can, but not that ridiculosly easy. From what i've learned with Natsuki Chronicles, Triggerheart Exelica and ACA Neogeo Blazing Star was that achievement unlocking should have an "I've gave my best shot today and i've got 2 of the achievements, who knows what i could get next time" feeling, implying progression despite a solid well made work. But when the game sends you the "Nice Work! You've unlocked all the achievements for this game" in the XBOX achievement list before finishing your first playthrough, that's pathetic, you'll feel like if you've wasted your time.


The game challenge goes down to the trash in Stage 9 with a boss that i swear is undefeatable. If the stage difficulty climbing to levels of absurd isn't already enough, the game throws you the worst bosses you can imagine, one that implies three precise shots on its small cores to activate its central energy core and when i say precise i mean REALLY precise, like a magic pixel-wide area or else it will bounce back at you and it will damage you. If you can make it you'll face a second boss that is like a fence guarded by a blue energy core and that's gonna be as far as you can reach. If there's a way to defeat it, then it's quite too "cryptic" to figure it out and you'll probably gave up on completing the game already.
Oh, i almost forgot. Both Tesla Shock and Gravity Ignition are blocked during both boss battles. ┬┐Is the game trying to troll me or what? One thing was a curve ball that modifies the game like the purple barrier, but when the game throws a series of curve balls that affects the player negatively rather than adding an extra boost to the fun factor, then we're having show-stopping problems.

STORY is the "Main Game", and it features a dark and very unusual plot: When an alien race taught us how to produce electricity from our bodies, many corporations and even alien races used mankind as a power source, reducing humanity as some sort of energy producing cattle. Reducing civilization to living batteries. That's when Iro decides to stop this madness.

NORMAL is what we can call Arcade Mode, but contains the dialogue elements of Story as you concentrate on one single objective: Blast the enemy out of the skies. Unlike Story, you're limited with three continues before going down. If you've lost a life, you can buy one in exchange of 4,000 points at the end of each stage, which comes quite in handy when you're running out of lives and 1 hit is the difference between continuing or losing the game.

ARCADE is the hardest version of Normal since you only have 1 credit to burn. There's an unlockable mode called 1CC, but since i was unable to defeat the second boss of Stage 9, i called it quits on unlocking things.

Last picture of Mikey Harvelton before he died during his Sith training.
A shocking way to end his dream of becoming Darth Mihaelius.

The game's advertising blurb says "beautiful pixel art graphics inspired by many old-school classics", the pixel art feels more like your average cheap phone app or a late Sega Master System game as the scenery in some stages are simply detailed, making them look like the transition between 8 and 16 bit. Just take a look at the SNES port of U.N. Squadron, Super Nova and Thunder Force IV if you want to take inspiration from the classics.
Your ship looks like the heart-shaped planchette of an Ouija board or a spaceship themed lifesaver, while the rest of the enemies look like generic-looking spaceships and vessels. Frigates look more like the sides of a larger spaceship, which kinda reminds me of B-Wings.

Like Sine Mora EX, the game pulls some darkness within the plot, but this time it adds slight NSFW content in the cutscenes (which also managed to elude Nintendo's family friendly policies), so if you're looking a shmup for everyone, this is not one of them.

Newgrounds-esque character illustrations!

The character design can best be described like this: While it aims to anime style, it feels like an amateur drawing that someone draws during his off-line moments. In both cutscenes and Story Mode dialogue, they look like a "quickie" that you might drew during your days at high school in your notebook. I'm not trying to demerit the artist 'cos i know what the artist tries to do and the direction he's taking, but he's still a few steps away from the professional quality that a game requires, and a little more of effort can bring great results.

We can consider the music of the game as the only good part of the whole thing, since it features cheerful, upbeat rocking, breaking a little with the dark plot of the game. But in my opinion better turn off the music and play the OST of Reflex instead.

- The premise of humans harvested as energy is very similar to the 2003 Transformers Universe toyline where Unicron and Optimus Primal summoned Decepticons and Autobots from across time and space pitting them to fight as their bodies emitted Energon which Unicron used to power himself up and regenerate.

Honestly, don't pick Iro Hero. It's a crying shame that while the game has a good execution of the Color Polarity, it goes all the way down the videogame garbage with bad curve balls and cryptic boss battles. Unless you want to get hopelessly defeated in Stage 9 then pick it, 'cos even if you're desperate for 1,000 Gamerscore points (or quick thropies) is just not worthy. Stick to Ikaruga instead which is waaaaay better than Iro Hero. Just wait until it becomes Free With Gold and save those 6 bucks on something better.
Also, the human patience for idiocy has its limits, AND STAGE 9 WAS THE LAST STRAW FOR ME.

Looks like i've wasted my money on such game...
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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