Hero Express

It’s not been all that long ago that our good friend and reviewer wrote an article about Black Paradox. A game by the fantastical Fantastico Studios. A game that he absolutely adored and praised into high heavens. So obviously when I saw the name Fantastico Studios on the boot screen when I started up Hero Express? I became enormously giddy. Sadly enough, that giddiness slowly faded the longer I played Hero Express. It seems that every family has their black sheep, and this one seems to be theirs. Although not bad, I wouldn’t really recommend it either for a couple of reasons. So, what’s this game all about? Have you ever wondered how heroes on the road have all their equipment with them constantly? Or how it came to be that they never lack the resources to build whatever they need at that moment? Well, because of the postal service of course! And that’s what you will be playing here. A delivery guy for the most forgetful hero ever! Ready for the mediocre ride of a lifetime? If so? Grab your sunglasses and a soda, because this my friends? Is Hero Express!

Over the hills and far away, fun is about to be had.
  • Soundtrack: I love Hero Express ‘s soundtrack, there’s no denying that! Each level has a custom-tuned track to suit the needs of the level you’re driving on. From spooky all the way to a holiday mood, you will surely be getting a treat when it comes down to the tunes! So crank that volume all the way up, rub some tanning lotion on those milky white legs of yours and relax. Because you’ll be getting a few of these songs stuck into your head if you play this for a longer period!
  • Quite a few levels: For the price point that the game ‘s selling at? There actually are quite a few boss levels for you to drive through. Each sporting 2 difficulty settings. So if you want to challenge your friends to a time trial challenge? Then this might be the perfect rage-quitting game to boot up during parties! Because not only will it infuriate any and everyone that plays it? It will also put a smile on your face if you see your (soon to be) lost friend, crash and burn… In the game of course!
  • Smooth gameplay: If there’s one thing that could shatter my mood? Then it would have to be that an 8-Bit game has laggy gameplay. But not in here! Fantastico seems to have cracked the 8-Bit code, and it shows. Rafael reviewed their previous game Black Paradox and found it to be absolutely amazing. The fluid gameplay that you’ll be experiencing here? Rivals with the best 8-Bit developers out there and it surely will not disappoint! If anything, it’ll make you wish other developers would deliver such smooth games as well!
Are those coffins on the road?
  • Move along: Yeah, sadly enough the game only has a few good parts and a few bad parts. Nothing in between. So, move along my dearest readers. Move along.
That monkey on the map doesn’t look at all like an angry monkey. More like a pouty Maui.
  • Each level has its own car?: Oooh yeah, I finished my first level against King Mombo with a nearly fully upgraded car. Let’s go meet the next boss. Wait… That’s not my car? Where are my upgrades? Oh god no… And thus I checked every level. And to my dismay, my fears became reality… Each level? Has its own f-ing car. With its own f-ing upgrade set. Which ultimately meant that each track will have their own death traps that will force you into upgrading your car. I. Hate. It. My joy quickly turned into anger when I realized that this wasn’t meant to be a fun game. But more like a huge annoyance that you couldn’t put down because the soundtrack is just that addictive! God DAMNIT.
  • Forced death areas: Oh yeah, I’m cruising through this map! I’m pretty good at judging physics and how things will react. Wait… Why is that hill so steep? Wait… Why can’t I get over it… No… Wait… Just… Just let me get some speed. No… Noo… NOOOOO… *Game Over*. This. Shouldn’t. Be. A. Thing! Fantastico! Why would you even have these “You need more upgrades” parts so blatantly strewn across each and every map! Why! Why can’t I just use skill to get over your hurdles! Why couldn’t I just have one car that I upgraded overtime to beat other levels! I don’t want to redo each level over and over because you decided that having multiple cars would be a FUN THING. It ISN’T. Sure maybe a few. But not each and every frigging level. With each requiring their own set of upgrades that do NOT carry over from one level to the other! *flips the table* NO! Fantastico. Just… NO!!!
  • Almost entirely pointless upgrades: So, it’s pretty annoying that the game forces you into getting upgrades without you even wanting to upgrade. Yet, it still does. What’s even worse is that you barely even notice the upgrades that you buy. You don’t even know what they do. There are 4 trees for you to sink your currency in. Yet you have absolutely no clue what they actually do, and how they upgrade your car. Other than the Engine making your car go faster. The other 3? I guess one helps you gain better traction on the road, while the other makes you more maneuverable. But is it noticeable? Yeah… Maybe… When you have nearly maxed out the stats on it. But for the rest? It’ll feel like a placeholder bar that you increase ever so often in the hopes that it’ll get you over that dreaded “upgrade paywall”. That, or just another lazy “design feature” to “lengthen” the fun.
Score: 50%
I couldn’t place my finger on this game. I had the feeling that I already saw something like this before. And it wasn’t until my good friend Rafael reminded me of the old school game Hill Climb Racing. I looked at some footage and compared it with Hero Express and to my disbelief, it was true! If you have ever played Hill Climb Racing? You also played Hero Express in a weird way. It kind of makes up with a fun soundtrack and smooth gameplay. If you’ve got some cash to burn, I’d say give it a try. Otherwise, just wait for it on a sale.

Developer: Fantastico Studio   Publisher: Fantastico Studio
Played on: Xbox One X Also available on: PS4 – Switch and PC
Alexis spent 4 hours driving through all sorts of levels searching for our hero.
Achievement difficulty for 1000 Gamerscore: 10 to 15 hours.
Perfect for: Anyone who liked Hill Climb Racing.
Xbox Game Store link: Click here