Second Chance Heroes, from Rocket City Studios, is a fun new take on a kill-as-many-zombies-and-monsters-as-you-can game. The story is pretty typical: a high school history teacher begins cloning humans in his garage, and who does he decide to clone? Long-deceased historical figures, so that they can have a second chance at saving the world! Ok, maybe not such a typical storyline, but fun nonetheless.
It’s Time to Save the World, President Lincoln!
In SCH, you choose your hero and go to battle in urban wastelands against all sorts of enemies, from karate zombies to floating vampires, and even the occasional spider cheeseburger (or perhaps cheeseburger spider?) Each level has a boss that you must beat, and along the way there are more obstacles like flaming shopping carts and demonized lawnmowers.
To combat these would-be destroyers of the human race, the heroes have weapons and special abilities that are unique to them. A nice piece is that you can switch between heroes in the middle of the levels. If your character dies, you can use one of the lives that you have earned to continue, which is typically a good idea seeing as the levels can take a bit of time to get through.
History is a Beautiful Thing
Visually speaking, SCH is a delight. The lighting, explosions and flames look fantastic. The weapons have some cool effects too, particularly Cleopatra’s staff, which fires a sort of energy ball at enemies, with smoke trailing behind. The heroes and the enemies look great, and the levels are creatively designed. The one drawback here is that some of the levels are so detailed, with so many obstacles and walls and levels, that at times your view of your hero is obstructed, which can prove to be a problem when you are surrounded by monsters.
I also loved the sound. The music was great, with a lot of electric guitars screaming away, but also the occasional break from that based on other things that are happening in the game. When a Vaudevillian boss surfaces, so does the music of that era, sounding spot on as though being played on a phonograph circa 1900. The sound effects are good too, some of the best being the heroes’ random sayings throughout the levels, like Abe Lincoln saying “penny for your thoughts?”
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The controls are a bit convoluted, though the nature of the game makes it difficult for them not to be. Two joysticks control the movement of your hero and the direction in which they attack, and each joystick is flanked by four additional buttons. These are placed well from an accessibility standpoint, as your thumbs are always on the joysticks, and each button is equidistant from them. However, a couple of these could have been consolidated or even eliminated, which would have freed up some space on the screen, as visibility can be difficult with all of the clutter.
Dispatching Monsters Never Gets Old
The gameplay doesn’t get boring, with everything going on. Trying to cut down all of the monsters while avoiding obstacles, using your power-ups and special attacks effectively, and completing goals and knocking out bosses keeps it fresh. By completing the multiple goals that you have for each level, you can unlock more relics (basically additional power-ups). Random challenges will also pop up at times, giving you the opportunity to earn more gold, which can be used to unlock more heroes.
With a dozen different heroes and tons of relics to unlock, there is plenty of replay value. Not to mention two different difficulty levels, as well as a multiplayer option to mix things up a bit. Only a couple of negatives to mention: first, you can’t pause the game, which can be frustrating. Opening up the menu only allows you to watch your hero be attacked without the ability to control him or her. And at times, I encountered some slowing of the game, which again can be problematic when enemies abound. I’m guessing this is because of the high level of graphical detail, and the large amount of action that is taking place pretty much constantly.
Second Chance Heroes is an awesome game that was clearly not just thrown together haphazardly. The graphics and sound are stellar, and there is so much to do, earn and unlock, using a variety of different unique characters. Though there are occasional slowing and visibility issues, these are easily overlooked as a result of all of the positives that this game has to offer.