In my experience, platforming games don't need a hell of a lot of depth to work. Why bother with storyline when you've got good gameplay? Obviously the programmers of Random Heroes follow that credo, 'cause this game is action, action, action, and not much else.
Bad stuff is happening. Aliens and robots and what look like zombies and all sorts of NEGATIVE INFLUENCES have invaded your city. You need to bring an end to their horrifying reign of horror. And things.
Meh. Plot. Who needs it. There's a brief cut scene at the beginning of Random Heroes that more or less explains what's going on, but here's the salient point: you need to kill things to buy guns so you can kill bigger, badder things. Solid.
In short, it's an action platformer. You run, you jump, you collect coins, you buy better stuff, you shoot baddies. Eventually, you win. If you've played a Mega Man game before you'll have played Random Heroes, albeit with more derivations and less variety. (And no boss powers. That would be sweet, though.)
Random Heroes goes a step further than the average browser game in that it not only provides both the arrow key and WASD configuration for movement, it offers alternate jumping and shooting buttons on opposite sides of the keyboard to accommodate people who like to use different keys. It irks me on some Flash games that players who choose one set get penalized with cramped fingers; Random Heroes avoids that altogether.
Beyond that? Good controls, no glitches. Kinda wish your guy could jump just a BIT higher to get on those stupid platforms littered through every level before they slowly float out of range, but that's mainly impatience talking.
Random Heroes is pretty. It reminds me of a Gameboy Advance game, and that's a very good thing, 'cause the GBA was one of my favourite gaming systems ever. I especially like the tiered backgrounds that move as you do, giving each level more depth and character.
... for a while. Unfortunately, despite having three distinct visual layouts for the levels - city, sewers and cemetery - Random Heroes is rather repetitive. You spend a fair amount of time in each locale, and seeing the same lamps and platforms and whatnot over and over gets tiresome. More variety in the sequel, maybe? (If there is a sequel? I hope there is.)
At least you get to pick between a few different skins for your character:
And, naturally, I went with The Gentleman, because top hats are slick. As far as I can tell there's no difference in play between the characters, though the choice is the important thing.
Random Heroes boasts a solid soundtrack, heavily reminding me of any number of Capcom games. (Browser games always seem to remind me of Capcom.) A couple more tracks might have been nice to break up the monotony between areas, but I was never bored to the point that I muted the game and turned on the radio instead.
Ah. Here's the real problem with Random Heroes, my major point of contention:
It's too easy.
Given the length of Random Heroes, you'd think it would have a steeper learning curve and more difficult levels. That is not, however, the case - if you've ever played any form of platformer you can probably blow through this game in less than an hour, and potentially collect almost every achievement in the process. Part of this problem stems from level design that isn't terribly challenging, part of it from enemies and bosses who are quite predictable...
... but most of it comes from the money. It's way too easy to upgrade your character in Random Heroes. I had the best gun by the first level of the second area, and most of the other upgrades came close on its tail. Either scattering fewer coins throughout the levels or eliminating the cash-for-kills system would up the difficulty.
One other thing I'd like to note: the platforms move too damn slow. I know I said it above, but I got really annoyed waiting for those stupid things to come back down whenever I missed a jump with my dude's stubby little legs.
It may seem as though I've trashed Random Heroes a lot during this review, but I DID enjoy the game. A lot. It's fun. It just needs some tweaks, which, again, I'd love to see implemented in a sequel.
PLAY RANDOM HEROES