Herodes review | I have always had a fondness for shoot-em-up games. Ever since a young boy where I grew up with games like Truxton, Hellfire, and M.U.S.H.A, I have found shoot-em-ups to be exciting, fun, and something I can share with my kids when we play together. Having the opportunity to review Herodes seemed like it would be right up my alley too. Herodes is a shoot ’em-up game set in a future where cutting-edge technology meets the depths of the human body. Step into the role of a courageous agent tasked with the ultimate mission: saving humanity from a mysterious and deadly virus that defies all known cures. Read on to find out how Herodes fares.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What We Liked!
- The Music | Herodes has a great soundtrack. Each of the 7 levels provides a new take on its techno-infused sounds with some pretty good sound effects to boot. Each soundtrack gives off the frantic vibes of flying around, dodging bullets, and shooting waves of enemies. The sound effects sound great with some good punchy shooting effects coming from your fighter. The enemies pop when destroyed and overall sounds quite satisfying.
- The Levels | Herodes has 7 levels to choose from. Each level takes place within the infected human body, with the brain being the final level. All 7 levels are accessible from the very beginning of the game. Each area of the body is marked via a colour. Green is easy, with yellow acting as medium, and red being hard. The brain is left in a purple colour and is where the virus seems to be coming from and this acts as the game’s final mission. Attempting this level first is essentially suicide since the game throws everything it has at you.
- The Plot | I can imagine it is quite hard to come up with a story for a shoot-em-up game, but Herodes does try at least. With an unknown virus attacking the world’s population, they announce a new pandemic and thus begin new ways of trying to combat the virus. Using nano-technology and keyhole surgery, they shrink and implant a pilot into the body of a person riddled with the new virus. Your task is to fly through each of the body’s infected areas eliminating the virus as you go. It is a little silly in retrospect but overall can be given a pass due to its small connection to real-world research and development.
- The Graphics | Graphically Herodes is okay. It’s nothing to write home about. Created using 2D sprites, we have a game that doesn’t deviate much in terms of enemy design and the ship itself. Throughout the 7 levels of Herodes, you can expect to see the same enemy types over and over again, along with repetitive boss encounters and very similar scenery. The scenery is the only thing that does noticeably change but it still maintains its usual drag colours with its faux-3D effect by having certain sprites render to the background.
- Weapons & Upgrades | Upgrades can be purchased for your fighter after each mission resulting in some better weaponry, better shields, and a different style of ship altogether. However, with each upgrade, it only marginally improves performance and still remains hard as nails to complete each mission. Weapon buffs can be acquired throughout each level with your main gun being used to shoot down the enemies as they appear, however, you lose all instances of the upgrade if you lose a life. The ship is also equipped with some other perks such as a dash, bomb, and laser. These are pretty much self-explanatory except for the bomb. Bomb provides a temporary slowdown on the enemies while you maintain your normal speed. It is by far the most useful perk you have but is negated by its rather long recharge time.
What We Disliked
- Insane Difficulty | Herodes is the kind of game you want to play if you hate yourself. The difficulty is set to impossible even on some of the easiest missions. For example, the stomach is supposed to be the easiest level, but I actually found this to be one of the harder ones because this level has environmental damage. Because of this, you not only have to contend with the enemies on screen but also dodge the environment. This was by far one of the most frustrating levels I played and found myself giving up time and time again. There are no difficulty settings and nothing you can do to help you move your ship at certain points to avoid certain environments. It is as if the developer was purposely trying to make you mad. Hitting the environment immediately removes one life and takes your next life’s health all the way down to 1% meaning on your next hit, you will die again. Believe me. You will die. A lot.
- Too repetitive | When you look back at the previous comments, it becomes undeniably clear that there is little to no variation in Herodes, creating a very repetitive, almost boring experience. It could have been as simple as having one of the levels play out vertically to change up some of the styles of gameplay. The enemies you see over and over again, and learning their patterns becomes quite simple. The only thing it varies in is how many on-screen enemies they are that are going to kill you.
- Lack of Options | Herodes starts almost immediately after a short cutscene. It throws you into its first level which it describes as a training mission. It’s pretty hard overall, but my biggest gripe here was the lack of said tutorial. There was no indication of what buttons do what and so began my trial and error on figuring things out for myself. After this though, you are greeted with the main menu, and here is where we can change the audio settings along with particle effects and trails. Funnily enough though, from here you can check the controls, but as I said, you only get to this screen after the initial mission. The whole presentation up to this point comes across as messy.
How long to beat the story | 7 hours
How long to get all achievements | 10 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | VASARA, Sensen, and Star Shoot.
Herodes sadly suffers from some major quality of life issues. An extreme lack of options, difficulty, and lack of enemy variation, along with repetitive gameplay makes Herodes a game I would recommend avoiding. In a market that is rife with shoot-em-ups, you can easily find many others that offer far superior experiences for less money.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.