Deadbeat Heroes Xbox One Review

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Square Enix Collective  Developer: Deadbeat Productions  Genre: Action  

Players: 1-2  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: N/A

Superhero themed brawler Deadbeat Heroes is definitely one of those games that feels like it was largely designed with multiplayer in mind. Some of the stages that are really difficult in single player are far easier when played with another person beside you, and with that said it’s like the developer were encouraging multiplayer play over anything else.

Taking place in London in what appears to be the 1970s, villain, the Prime Sinister and his team, have defeated most of the city’s superheroes, leaving veteran hero Captain Justice to recruit a bunch of average people to become superheroes themselves to clean up England’s capital city. As you might have guessed from this little description, the story is told with its tongue firmly in its cheek. The game also has the kind of humour that is so bad that it’s good.

The cel-shaded visuals are attractive enough, and the game is fast and smooth in motion.

Deadbeat Heroes is a simple brawler in regard to the way it plays, but in no way does this mean that it can be played by simply mashing the buttons. The game more or less demands you to string big combos together, as this contributes towards bigger scores at the end of a stage, resulting in higher finishing grades. As the combat is so over the top and hard hitting, there’s much satisfaction and enjoyment in knocking your enemies around, bouncing them off walls, and leaping up or down to continue your pummelling. There’s much satisfaction to be had in seeing your combo counter rise.

The game is very pick up and play in terms of what combat options are available to you. There’s a single strike button, a special attack that is charged by picking blue orbs up, as well as a dash button, which allows you to avoid enemy attacks or to quickly close the distance with an enemy to continue a combo before the counter runs down. The dash attack also allows you to coolly run along walls as well as dash in midair, which both prove to be handy in many situations that the game throws at you.

Being that the game is comprised of superheroes, you also get to play around with quite a variety of special powers, which can be dropped into a stage or earned from an enemy. These powers include blowing things up, freezing enemies, telekenisis, and more, and are very helpful for building big combos. In a nice touch, whenever you are making use of these powers, your character is decked out in superhero garb, cape and all.

The game has a pleasing variety of enemies – it’s still introducing new ones as well as new powers late into the story. Some foes have you using different tactics to defeat them, sometimes having you make use of a super attack, or maybe having to confuse them by dashing around the room. One thing I will say is that when new enemies are introduced, the action pauses and a small unskippable snippet of text informs you about the enemy’s power, although I got annoyed by this as it slowed down the pace and often ruined my attack flow in what is ordinarily a very fast moving game.

In single player the game actually starts feeling rather unfair early on, but having another player join in on the fun does help relieve much of the frustration. More negatively, with so much going on in the game at times, it can be easy to lose track of your character amongst all the chaos, which can be the cause of some stressful and panicky moments, particularly in multiplayer and in the later stages.

Some enemies have guns, which calls for quick movement in order to avoid their gunfire.

In terms of structure, Deadbeat Heroes has you completing three levels before unlocking the boss of that chapter. Completing a stage requires more than simply getting to the end of it though, as you must, at the very least, get C grades in order to move on. It’s all about getting those big scores, and at least in this way the game does encourage you to actually attempt to play it with some flair. All well and good, but if you fail on a mission you’ll lose your grade on the previous one, forcing you to have to play it again, which is one of the game’s biggest issues, and is a very odd choice of game design to say the least.

At the beginning of the game, you only have a single character, although more are unlocked as you progress through the game. These characters actually make the game easier, as each one is an extra life for you to play with. It’s just a shame that other than cosmetic differences as well as the things they say, characters are copies of one another with all the same moves and also have access to exactly the same powers. Much more distinct characters certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss in a game about a team of superheroes, as it’s kind of like if Marvel had given all the X-Men a set of Wolverine claws.

Deadbeat Heroes level layouts are rather dull, and some of these feel too similar, but I guess this is caused by it being made on a restrictive budget. It’s still a shame though, as the game takes place over many different parts of London, but at least it doesn’t matter the same when you are in the midst of the game’s fast and fun combat.

As fun as Deadbeat Heroes can be at times, it’s still a game that has a fair amount of flaws to its name, which includes some rather questionable design decisions as well as a number of bugs. It’s a shame as there’s potential for a much better game hiding in amongst the spiky thorns, but it doesn’t do quite enough to truly show itself. Hopefully some of the game’s biggest issues will be addressed soon.