Even though I never owned a Sega, I did play an awful lot of Comix Zone, a game where an artist gets drawn into his own comic world and tries to save the world and break himself free of this world he finds himself in. He leaps across panels and from page to page. It’s a really cool idea that isn’t gone back to often, that is until I found Badass Hero! Instead of being pulled in, he appears to be the main character of a comic series, a badass with a cool gun and a cocksure grin, ready to blast all the creepy baddies into a pile of blood and ink. I don’t play too many Roguelikes because the idea of losing everything makes me anxious. There are obvious exceptions to this, but for the most part, I stay far, far away. The notion of starting over again and again [and I will, I’m bad] is vexing. However. . . No matter how many times the Badass Hero died, I kept coming back over to try again. One of the things I appreciate, and I don’t know if it was intentional, I did see some pages more than once. It wasn’t “every single time the panels/pages are different”, but instead I did see some familiarity. That might change, as it is still in Early Access, but I did like that some of it felt similar. The story is as follows: Chaos has hit the multiverse, and you no longer are the badass you used to be. It’s time to take it back and rewrite your story. By force. There are presently three comics, two are locked because I have not gotten far enough I assume. I’m still in the process of becoming a real badass.
That’s the goal though. Each “screen” is a panel of a comic book page. Your goal is to navigate from page to page, survive, slay bosses that have incredibly frustrating/challenging gimmicks to avoid and jump over, and be the Badass you were born to be. However, they recommend you use a keyboard and mouse instead of the controller. I thought that was ridiculous for a platforming roguelike, so I ignored it and dove in with a controller. That. . . was not my smartest move. Tried again on my keyboard and did considerably better. The layout for the controller’s absolutely dreadful, and aiming the gun with the mouse is a bit better than using a twin stick controller. That’s okay though, because they do advise against it! The way the game works is pretty simple. ASD are your movement buttons, space is jump and wherever the mouse cursor is pointing is where your gun is aimed at. You can double jump, and you’ll need it often. When enemies die you can collect ink or health from them, and ink is how you level up/acquire skill points. If you hit “down” when you are jumping, you can also stomp on enemies, instantly killing a large amount of foes. But this can also be dangerous. If it doesn’t, you’re probably going to take damage for it.
There are so many damn things on the screen to avoid, too. Buzzsaws that move [or sometimes don’t], spikes on the ground, annoying dive-bombing bugs, lots of projectiles from pissed off locals. You only have so much in the way of health, and if you die you go back to the beginning of the comic and try again. While you do lose all the upgrades you find in the stages, your skills stay with you. I’ve acquired some fantastic weapons, grenades and special power upgrades. You normally start with an ice power that freezes enemies, but I’ve found my favorite, so far at least, and that’s the auto-turret. You can get all types of insane grenades, like shrapnel, ice, and more! If you find items or health you don’t need in these boxes, you can choose to absorb them instead, and gain ink, and there are times that might be a better choice, even if it’s a powerful upgrade. You have to choose between getting something that will help you temporarily, or something that will help you in the long-run. That’s how games like this operate. You can also get pieces of customizable equipment that stay as long as you’re alive which also give you stat/skill bonuses. One of the things I love about these is that they have references to which issue of these comics they come from. I love that attention to detail.
You can acquire a variety of skills that take x amount of skill points depending on how deep into trees/how far they are presently leveled. You have Heroic Skills, Survival Skills, and Combat skills, each tree offering something a little different. For example, Heroic skills involve your combo time, such as increasing how long it lasts, shields from damage while combo is active, increasing ink draw/combo from grenades, and so much more. Survival is health, health drop chance, regen while in combo. Combat skills are for when you need reload speed, getting more grenades in the world, getting potion drops, or my favorite, each new page means you get more grenades. And the more you kill stuff, the longer your combo spree lasts. So if you’re really good at snapping to enemies and murdering them, you will want the benefits “from” combo first. If not? Maybe increase the timer. Personally I started buffing my health, and reload speed so I can last a little longer and level more. You really have to consider what you want to level, but fortunately you can downgrade skills if you decide you don’t want/need it anymore, get the points back and reconfigure. That’s something I love, that I wish more games did. There’s also the ability to customize how your hero looks. It’s not helpful, but it sure is fun!
Hype Train Progress: 4/5, Hype Train’s Chugging.
I genuinely enjoy playing this. I don’t play roguelikes often, but when I do, I binge on them really really hard. Badass Hero is one I can play and not feel upset when I die. There’s lots of little things, like being able to change my progress to what I think I need at the time, or the fantastic comic-book designs. I feel like it is a comic. And if it isn’t a real one, it could be and I’d read it. The controls are a little frustrating, and some of the jumps make me want to put my monitor through a window, but that’s the nature of roguelikes! I can’t be mad at that, it’s what they’re supposed to do. But some of the jumps or placements of spike pits just feel absolutely unfair. Some are challenging, some are just ludicrous. Maybe it’s my lack of skill, maybe it’s just a bit too much. I can’t really be the judge of that. I just know that there were some leaps that I had to take damage on, because I couldn’t eke my way through. However the guns you find in panels are wonderful, the skills are helpful, and most of the bosses feel killable. The first one I found stomped my ass though, because I’m bad at bullet hells and couldn’t get to the crystal to hurt his barrier. I don’t know how they put bosses into pages though. They seem like they are pretty random, but that’s not bad. It’s just… surprise, hope you’re ready for some football! I mean.. battle! This game should’ve been scored by Duane Zuwala of Duane and Brando and Action Adventure World though. I mean, just check his Comix Zone track! Badass Hero is absolutely worth a play, and I think anyone looking for a new roguelike that loves oldschool comics will adore it.