Hey folks, Valkor here. If there was ever a gift I would suggest you give your fellow gamer on the go, I would definitely place XSEED's "Half-Minute Hero", for the Sony PSP, at the top of the list. You want fast gameplay? You got it! A fun and exciting story? You got that too! What about different play modes? It's all here and then some. Read on.
Half-Minute Hero plays like an RPG, but it's more like a puzzle. Essentially you are given 30 seconds to defeat the boss who looks to destroy the world. Wait, let's take it back; you have to defeat several bosses who are looking to destroy the world, ultimately defeating the final boss who started it all by giving out this spell that would destroy the world. You will visit towns, purchase weapons and armor, level up, and even gain a partner to aid you from time to time. Your biggest assistance comes in the form of the Time Goddess, who controls… well Time. If you're cutting it too close with the seconds, you can visit the Goddess shrine and pay, literally, tribute to her so that she may grant you more time. But each time you do visit her, the cost increases. She will also allow you to visit past stages (Travel back in time she calls it) so that you can try to defeat the stage quicker, but any items you earn cannot be carried over when you move forward in time. Each stage plays out like an anime chapter with an opening and end credits.
You also have additional modes of play such as:
Half-Minute Princess (Princess 30) – You're a Princess, who's father has fallen ill and in need of special items to cure him. So you take on the task with the use of a crossbow and a handful of knights to assist you. The only catch is that each mission is just seconds from curfew, so you have to go out, get the item, and return before time is up. The Time Goddess also makes an appearance and will assist you by laying some red carpet for you, so that if you're running out of time, simply walk on the carpet and gain some valuable seconds. But the longer you step on it, the costlier it will get. Also you will lose/injure some knights so you gotta make sure you return with some. Plus to get them back it will cost you more gold. But you gain gold by killing monsters along the way. Now this is a seriously fast-paced shooter.
Half-Minute Villian (Villian 30) – You play as an evil lord, whom you actually fought against during ½ Minute Hero. He's the one who was in love with a bat that used to be his girlfriend Millenia. But during a battle against bandits, something caused Millenia's transformation and now to save Millenia, Evil Lord will traverse the land looking for the cause. His mode is played like a strategy that gives you control of three monster types. You have to defeat the monsters of the stage before your 30 seconds are up, or else the sun rises and Millenia is fried.
Half-Minute Knight (Knight 30 - Unlockable) – This one puts you in the role of a Knight who must protect a Sage while he actually cast the 30 second spell of destruction to defeat the enemies. That's a really bad ass mode and definitely one you will want to unlock.
First are the graphics, which are total retro to the days of the first Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior, albeit a clearer, higher quality 8 bit. There are some nice effects tossed in that are more 16 bit if anything and they work well together. In between you'll get some nice anime stills that keep the story flowing. Second is the music, which is definitely NOT 16 bit, but serious kick ass tunes that match each scenario. Give me the track on Evil Lord's first stage (or any stage after) any day because it's hardcore. The controls are spot on, the only times you get sick with the controls is during Princess 30 asyou'll really need to watch where you're zapping. Finally the overall gameplay; having to complete a stage in 30 seconds can get very frantic, but it's sooooo satisfying when you do complete a stage at the appropriate time. And the fact that you can go back and replay a stage to get a faster time works great. So great gameplay, sound, and some serious intense moments, makes for a great game.
The only mode that actually has the Chapter mode (where it's plays out like you're watching an anime episode) is Hero 30, and really it's not necessary and totally kills the moment. Yea it's a nice breather after racing to defeat the boss, but it takes too long. You have the option to scroll quickly past the end credits, but why not have the option to simply skip it? Oh some of the jokes will make you groan.
Half-Minute hero puts the "portable" in "portable gaming" as it's clearly a game that you can play while on a hefty commute, at your desk, hell you can probably sneak in a game or two during class. Seriously, I play this game at work and it's always those last few minutes that take so damn long. But with Half-Minute Hero by my side, the long minutes will just fly by. Out of TOV 5 stars, I give Half-Minute Hero a perfect score of 5. And it's been Valkor tested and TOV Approved for the Holidays.