The propeller beanie finally takes off
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.