Bunch of Heroes is basically a twin-stick shooter for the PC. Though a gamepad appears to be supported (thus, twin-sticks), I played with the standard keyboard and mouse set-up (as I don’t have a gamepad). Using this config, players use the mouse to guide the direction they wish to shoot and move their character around with the normal WASD assignment.
The “story” for the game merely provides a backdrop for the gameplay. Aliens have invaded, they’re making zombies, and it’s up to our rag-tag band of heroes to set things right. Players can choose between an elderly, cigar-throwing communist, a martial artist who hadoukens, a burly football player, or a skinny guy who calls in airstrikes.The game is divided into three campaigns, each with three chapters. The nice part is that these chapters are all unlocked from the get-go, so you can skip around to whatever campaign/chapter combo you want to play.
The combat is about what one would expect from a twin-stick shooter. Players mow down zombies or aliens with either their standard gun (with unlimited ammo) or special guns that drop from crates littered around the environment. These crates drop from the sky from time to time into their spawn points, ensuring that players have a good supply of flamethrowers, shotguns, machine guns, freeze rays, etc. That these crates drop duplicate guns for each player present in the game is a nice touch. Vanquished enemies have a chance of dropping health packs, that are automatically consumed, or power-up shards. It takes about 7 or so of these shards to power up players’ special abilities.
The special abilities vary from character to character, but probably not as much as one would hope. They’re all AOEs (Area of Effects), but the nature of where they land is different (PBAOE circle, cone, ranged circle, or line AOE). While they’re certainly powerful and can be very useful in sticky situations, they aren’t extremely well implemented. First off, there’s no way to really target them. In cases of the line AOE, I just had to hope I was facing the direction I meant to face. Second, triggering these abilities puts players in an extremely close third-person perspective instead of the normal top-down camera view. While this was probably done for cinematographic purposes, it just ends up being disorienting. Also, as these abilities were a bit bugged (the enemies die as soon as players hit their power ups, and then the animation shows it hitting dead space afterwards), this merit was completely lost.
I was a bit disappointed by the way the game was laid out. Each chapter is largely the same as the others: one is just given a long list of objectives to carry out one after another. While I don’t object (see what I did there?) to the objection-based format, the objectives in Bunch of Heroes repeat over and over: clear a certain number of enemies from an area, destroy a small number of devices in an area, defend an area, defend NPCs, and the like. It just didn’t feel like I was doing anything different or new after awhile. I also didn’t really enjoy the fact that each player only has three lives per chapter. Once you’re dead, you’re dead for good, and watching other people play the game while you’re forced to sit out is certainly no fun. This wouldn’t be such an issue if there were any kind of check-pointing system, but sadly there isn’t. If players fail any of their objectives, it’s game over, and they have to start the entire chapter over. Luckily, as I mentioned before, you can skip around to whatever chapter you want, or else this factor would have been even more frustrating.
Bunch of Heroes is certainly not all bad. I enjoyed the aesthetic of the game, some of the guns were really fun, and there were definitely a couple of high points in the game (killing hordes and hordes of zombie chickens as they kept spawning from their coops was certainly a blast). Sadly, though, the game lacks polish. In addition to the annoyances I’ve already harped on, my co-op buddy and I both experienced some mild, yet persistent, lag throughout the game. Bunch of Heroes may appeal to players who enjoy this type of game on PC or really like its aesthetic, but they would have to be more than a little forgiving. With so many other similar games out there (though most are not on PC), it doesn’t outshine the competition. On the other hand, however, I wouldn’t call it a terrible game either. Simply put, it’s about average with some minor bugs.
The Co-Op Experience: Play online with friends as each player can choose one of four characters.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.