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Deadbeat Heroes review

We have a smashing good time.

© Deadbeat Productions / Square Enix

Continuing the tradition of breakaway studios, Deadbeat Productions is a smart two-man Indie outfit operating and based in the UK. Adam Langridge and Imkan Hayati are the two developers behind Deadbeat Heroes, coming from a strong background within the now-legendary Lionhead Studios. Taking their skills and honing them for a game of their own, the pair were responsible for the combat in Fable II, not to mention the miracles in Black & White 2, and fully live up to those standards in Deadbeat Heroes.

Deadbeat Heroes by all accounts is a very stylish and slick title to play. As it is a hack and slash, beat ’em up, the single player campaign is very much intertwined with the multiplayer option–which is ‘jump right in!’. It’s a smart, no nonsense approach to having fun, matching the ‘insert coin to play’ arcade style that so many love. Having a partner join the mayhem is just as much fun as playing solo–all of a sudden the screen becomes a flurry of action and horn honks every time a baddie gets pummeled. The combat is very much designed to have a good time–no overly complicated controls, the ones given (especially as you upgrade and unlock your powers) are wonderfully utilized. Play it with an Xbox controller, or on your keyboard as you see fit, both translating perfectly to the screen.

Watch the Deadbeat Heroes launch trailer below:

 

Aside from all the easy-going fun, there are challenges and goals to be met in the form of a grading scale at the end of each stage. The stages take about ten to fifteen minutes to complete each. From what I can tell taking your time doesn’t have much effect on the overall grade as you would see in such games as Resident Evil. The grade is based on how many times you take a hit, and how stylish you lay your hits down. It’s smart, causes you to strive for some flair, and since the combat is so smooth it makes you really feel like a pocket expert. There is a fair bit of concentration involved however–let your guard down, or take out the goons in the wrong order, and you can find yourself losing your rhythm very quickly. Said goons come in all shapes and sizes too–you have a team of super villains after you, thusly sending in lower ranking “Lieutenants” with a particular brand of super power. Be it super strength, a power to freeze, fireballs or deflect. You never feel like you run out of moves and powers to cycle through which keeps things feeling extremely fresh.

Everything about the Deadbeat Heroes theme is so wonderfully campy. Bright, bold colours, hilarious characters and dialog. Wonderfully done cell shading and animation that you can truly see the care put into. The game is set in London, every stage being an actual place within the mega-city. Little quips and quirks about living there are peppered in at every turn and the music makes me feel like I could be in The Professionals!

© Deadbeat Productions / Square Enix

The team at Deadbeat Productions no doubt know how to put a successful game together, and this title is no different. However, with any game there’s always room for improvements. Nothing that I found was game-breaking, my personal hang up was with the pacing. It’s such a quick draw on everything, the menus swing in and out and the combat is such a flurry that you could blink and miss half of it. Things such as the special move…the BIG, SMASHY power up are great the first couple times seeing it, but tend to almost get in the way of the flow of things after a while. Perhaps a time to pause and take a small breath? It might do well to have it become an option to see because I can certainly view it from both sides: ‘this is breaking my finesse’ or ‘great! a time to regain my thoughts and move forward’. I also think a difficulty option might be a real winner with a game like this. It really is so much fun to smash everyone, and when I would go back to replay a level I found myself either wanting to totally lay everyone out or take on the same sparse amount of baddies in the first couple levels, but with a tougher twist.

Another thing I think would have benefited the game would be a level editor. Making your own couple-roomed level to smash through, laying down the goons of your choice here and there. With the simplicity of the overall design, Deadbeat Heroes would be a perfect candidate to utilize a feature like that. I think I would have just as much of a good time building a level as I do playing it through. For a game that retails for £10.99, this could be the difference in it being short, and having plenty of replayability.

View some screenshots from Deadbeat Heroes in our gallery:

Any negative points I might have with this title tend to simply boil down to minor tweaks to make it overall more enjoyable. The game itself is brilliant and extraordinarily fun to play. It’s one to be shared with a friend, or to have a ball by yourself. The learning curve is easy to catch, but can be a challenge to master. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s immensely enjoyable and an absolute must have for any gamer that enjoys smashing a good few things up!

Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Deadbeat Productions/Upstream Arcade Release Date: October 10, 2017 Reviewed On: PC/Steam Also Available On: Xbox One

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