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Not A Hero

Not A Hero

Roll7's take on a political campaign is winning us over as we duck, slide and shoot in our pixelated preview of the studio's latest.

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The general elections are drawing ever closer, and after recently playing a preview build of Not A Hero, it's now clear to us that if BunnyLord were to stand, he'd be elected, such is his charismatic way. That, and because of his very particular style of electioneering.

BunnyLord is the strange and enigmatic lead of Not A Hero, the next game from Roll7 and the first major release that comes from the London-based studio that's not riding on a skateboard. The action here is based around this floppy-eared candidate and his political campaign, but instead of canvassing for support or handing out leaflets, your job - as one of a cast of characters working for the campaign - is to shoot people. In the face. Lots.

It's not your standard political game then, but that's in the absolute best way possible (we suggest you check out Democracy 3 if you want to put your manifesto to the test). We've resisted the urge to play through and complete the entirety of this early version of the game, and we'll wait for the final build to land before getting stuck back in once again. What we can say is that we've thoroughly enjoyed what we've seen so far and we're looking forward to playing more.

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We blasted our way through the opening seven missions, and the style is a mixture of both the familiar and the unique. The action is viewed in what the developers are calling 2¼D, or ISO-Slant. Tapping a button sends the player-character into cover, and this is the central mechanic that (comedy aside) defines this pixelated shooter. The platforming seemed quite straightforward, with the player snapping in and out of combat, sliding, running, and blasting away at their enemies as they go. We only tested the opening section of the game, but given the pedigree of its creators we imagine that it's going to get rather tricky during later levels.

One thing that was clear from the very start, and something that remained consistent throughout, was the sense of humour that veined through all aspects of the game. Both the writing and the dialogue is proper funny, and we chortled our way through the demo. The character VO is great, as are the pixelated cutscenes that take place between the blood-soaked bullet-fests. It's very silly stuff.

While you're making your way through the levels and engaging in firefights, there's power-ups that change the types of bullets you fire, grenades and turrets to pick up, and even collectibles that need to be grabbed if you want to complete all of the side-objectives. In fact, there's multiple objectives for players looking to get the most out of the experience (something that'll be familiar to those who played OlliOlli).

As you progress you also unlock different characters, and this growing roster of miscreants each handles very differently. The first two are Steve and Cletus. Steve is a cockney of the Danny Dyer school of vocal delivery who carries twin pistols, while Cletus is "pretending to be Scottish" and wields a shotgun. Both have loads of great lines of dialogue, and we can't wait to find out who else might be hidden and waiting to be unlocked. We also want to hear what they're going to say; there seemed to be loads of dialogue and one-liners.

It looks great, with the game seemingly carrying on and developing the pixelart style that the studio is becoming increasingly known for (perhaps it's a bit rougher around the edges than the OlliOlli 2 and more akin to their first game). Still, it looks great and it's got tons of personality.

It's that personality and character that makes Not A Hero a genuine candidate and one to watch. The game is launching on PC, Mac, and Linux on May 7, the same day as we go to the polls and elect ourselves a new Government. Based on what we've seen and heard from BunnyLord and Roll7 thus far, it's looking likely that they'll be getting our vote next month. Or, at the very least, they'll make us laugh so hard that we'll soil our ballot.

A downloadable demo of Not A Hero launched today. Head to Steam if you want to see it in action for yourself.