June 30, 2022

IRO HERO – Nintendo Switch Review

Iro Hero is the latest “schmup” (Old-school horizontally or vertically scrolling 2D shoot-em-up computer game, such as R-Type or Gradius.) from Artax Games. Let’s start with one of the first things I liked about the game – its story.

“The year is 2306. A century after the Nyagu taught mankind how to obtain electricity from their inner energy, enterprises started to exploit humans in farms to produce energy. What had formerly been a gift became a curse, reducing people to the condition of power supplies. Only when his mother dies in one of these farms Iro realizes he has got the power to change the order of things.”

The story is good and it has a great quick and simple opening that sets the stage for what’s to come. After the initial opening, you have one menu, then you are straight into the action. Iro Hero has a really unique polarity mechanic in which using the shoulder buttons, you can change between red and blue depending on the colour of the enemy ships. If you are red, you can absorb red bullets and damage blue ships and vice versa.

Absorbing enemy bullets helps you gain power ups like the Tesla Shock which is a devastating chain of lightning or the double shot. The polarity mechanic changes a simple shooter into a strategic puzzle game which I personally really enjoyed.

There is about ten different types of enemies you will encounter over the nine varied levels. There are boss battles and they are very much in vain of the old school shooter Iro Hero borrows from. Each level adds new mechanics and variations of enemies so you learn the game organically and it never throws too many new things at you straight away.

As you play, you will get more story via conversations taking place either side of your screen. I would love to tell you what they say, but it is impossible to read them and dodge the dozens of enemy projectiles on the screen at the same time. There is no audible narration so I was really disappointed that I had to choose between contextual story and playing the game.

So you have three lives, and that may seem okay, but the levels are pretty long so I very often scraped through on my last life. You can start the next level with the lives you had remaining from the previous if any, or spend your points earned to buy more. They’re not too expensive but you will need to sacrifice your score to get them.

I love the retro sci-fi art style of the game and the art style of the level changes with each progression. This is complemented by a pretty sweet electronic soundtrack, adding to the retro feel. Now here’s the thing – Iro Hero is hard as f#ck. It’s brutal and that’s great, as so were the old games that inspired it.

Other than the idiotic conversations you won’t be able to read during the game, Iro Hero is a solid game that I really enjoyed. A two player mode would of topped this game off beautifully, especially with how versatile the Nintendo Switch is, but unfortunately it is limited to its story mode alone.

Do you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments and for all things gaming stay tuned to ABG.


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  • 7/10
    Overall - 7/10
7/10

Summary

Artax Games, Iro Hero is a great retro schmup that brings back what was great about the games that inspired it.

A very sloppy story/narration system that proves completely useless and the absence of a much needed two player mode hold this little gem back.

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