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Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC) artwork

Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC) review

"I only have a handfull of seconds to complete this revi"

Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming is carefully orchestrated chaos. It is, at its core, frantic slices of old-school RPG action bookended by massive lumps of old-school RPG text dump. Itís kind of satirical of the grind-fests at old, but itís that special kind of satire we donít see enough of that manages to stand strong on its own merits while poking fun at its foundations. Itís inventive and clever and, thankfully, has a skip key for when all that text starts to crush you in sheer weight. Itís also crazy long thanks to an embarrassment of options, which would make its very title an oxymoron if it wasnít also completely accurate.

To summarise the chaos is a bit of a task, but itís my job, I guess, so Iíll give it a go. Youíre dropped into one of many dungeons, told the world will end in thirty seconds, and then tasked to see off the big evil lurking in his castle before the timer hits zero. In between this, you need to grind levels, purchase new equipment and often solve small mysteries that bar you from progression while the time ticks down in the background. This would be an impossible task, but youíre gifted with convenient magical assistance. You can rewind time back to the start by leaving offerings at Goddess Statues littered across the world. The downside to this is that the cost of each reset steadily climbs, and thereís not always going to be enough time to farm the gold needed to keep the loop running forever. At some point, youíre going to need to make a run at the boss Ė but are your levels high enough? Is your equipment up to standard? If not, youíll have to purchase upgrades, but this takes precious gold away from potential resets.

Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC) image

What unfolds is a desperate dash from town to town, completing simplistic tasks and charging recklessly through enemy encounters in the hopes youíll make the next reset point in time. Half Minute Heroís a frantic juggling act; you know that you need to get stronger, you know the heavy value gold represents, but the village elder refuses to give you the McGuffin needed to advance until you clear the monsters from yonder cave. That Lancer master refuses to teach you his ways until you catch him a squid, then cook it to perfection. That wood dragonís going to totally blow up the world, but you need to burn down all them pesky sentient weeds before you can reach him. That monster over there is a tower block tall; better pelt him with cannon balls then finish him off with your walking castle.

The main foundation offers little variation throughout the title, but itís these silly little missions that keep things feeling fresh. One operation has you belting around a map trying to earn more money that a spoiled neighbouring princess speeding around on a high-tech hover board. Perhaps your angst-ridden rival will challenge you to a monster-slaying tourney set against a field of finite enemies. Maybe a kingís castle comes under heavy attack and rather than trying to wrap everything up in thirty seconds, you instead have to make the clock reach zero without the walls being breached. A mission early in the game pits you against a gang of villains who have not only kidnapped random villagers, but are still harassing shop owners casually in the background. Want to buy equipment? You need to fight them off. Want to buy herbs? Sorry; they stole the entire stockpile and are keeping it in a cave to the West. Want to reset time? Tough; theyíve pinched the bloody Goddess statue too, and have hidden it in the forest.

Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming (PC) image

Thereís a little under a hundred of these stages before you complete the five chapters that make up the gameís story, but completionists can try to hunt down hidden coins that grant new battle formations, weapon crafting recipes, or shiny new parts to strap on to your walking castle. I did; I found all 80. You can go back and replay battles of old to just kick arse a little harder, or to complete hidden objectives that unlock vanity titles. Iíve done most of these, too. Fact is, Iíve sunk a lot of time into Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming much to my surprise; Iíve downloaded fanmade maps from the Steam workshop; Iíve played against other players in the interesting multiplayer options that work so much better than they have any real right to. Iíve dialled up an impressive score in Infinity mode (the gameís take on horde rush) and Iíve gone back to beaten stages to hunt down hidden characters. Thereís still more to do, and after the 33 hours or so Iíve already spent on the game, Iím still invested enough to go back and do them.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (May 13, 2014)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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