The pro­pel­ler beanie fi­nally takes off

Mac Format - - RATED - Devel­oper Sega Amer­ica, heroki.com iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Ver­sion 1.0.1

We’re not en­tirely sure if Heroki is man or beast, but then again what was the deal with Sonic? Be­ing an an­thro­po­mor­phised hedge­hog with one gi­ant, ter­ri­fy­ing eye didn’t stop him be­com­ing Sega’s most iconic char­ac­ter. We’re not say­ing new Sega sta­ble­mate Heroki’s he­li­copter-based head pro­pels him to such lofty heights, but it’s a pretty nice way of get­ting about.

You spend al­most no time on the ground, in­stead work­ing though 2D lev­els of plat­forms, tun­nels and cav­erns by air – and the oc­ca­sional dive-bomb. There are three con­trol schemes (pulling, push­ing and – our pref­er­ence – an on-screen joy­stick), and while you’ll of­ten over­shoot tight turns, it does feel in keep­ing with a char­ac­ter who trans­ports him­self via head-mounted ro­tor.

Com­bat is never tricky; tap a box or rock to pick it up, then drag to fire it at some­thing. If you’re poorly pre­pared, it will catch you out. Float glibly and speed­ily right into a nest of vi­cious par­rots and you’re likely to take a few hits. If you’re ven­tur­ing into the un­known, you’d best hope there are pro­jec­tiles nearby.

In some ways, that’s Heroki in a nut­shell: un­der­es­ti­mate it at your own peril. As well as mak­ing your way from start­ing point A to fin­ish ring B, solv­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal puzzles along the way (of­ten a mat­ter of find­ing switches to open bar­ri­ers, bop­ping lizards and putting them on but­tons, or lug­ging keys about), you also need to col­lect as many as pos­si­ble of the five Emi­rals scat­tered across the level. That means some se­ri­ously thor­ough ex­plo­ration, and they’re not op­tional trin­kets: at the end of each world, you need a cer­tain num­ber of Emi­rals to progress through the next world. Don’t have enough? Back you go.

The game de­mands more of you than its cheery sur­face sug­gests. It’s re­fresh­ing not to be dragged through by the hand, but we’d have liked a lit­tle more of Sonic’s speed and a lit­tle less of the busy­work. Emma Davies

A sleek and shiny plat­former with neat set pieces, yet the fo­cus on ex­plo­ration means it doesn’t spin as fast as Sonic‘s feet.

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