Despite the slow movement, Hammerin' Hero is a wacky, unique and fun platformer to playthough on the PSP.
As you complete levels, you unlock new power ups in form of costumes. Each costume has its own set of abilities, can be worn for as long as you see fit, and some are better for certain situations than others. More times than not, they actually tend to be level specific. However, the main character's friend, Kanna can prepare a bento (some sort of sushi snack) that he can use once in a level to transform into another costume. In addition, the game throws a bit of humor into the gameplay by featuring characters (even some times enemies) with emoticons above them that you must whack. Doing so will cause them to write a thank you letter of some kind after completing the level and going back to the main menu. They usually tell some story about how you inspired them or ruined something for them by hiting the emoticon. There is also an enemy database for each level (which can be funny when reading through the profiles) and in-game achievements. Boss battles are easy for the most part but the strategy or overall nature of them is what makes them fun. The only downfall that I found with Hammerin' Hero is the incredibly slow pace everyone moves in during the game.
The story and characters appeared to be heavily influenced by Japanese culture which may be a turn off for some. Personally, it just came off as kind of wacky. You play as Gen who is carpenter by trade. He's set out on a mission to stop the evil Kourimoku Company from tearing and closing down landmarks and building high revenue businesses in their place. So basically, its the good carpenter vs. the greedy capitalistic industrial giant who throwing its weight around. This is just foundation of the story and the game builds on it from there. I can't say that there is much character development due to the game approaching most of them as if they are already well established in the series. I don't know if this comes from many of them being introduced in the previous japan-exclusive entries or many of them already being present in the anime production the game is associate with (I kinda lean more towards the latter). Imagine if your first Mario game was Super Mario World...that's how I felt when it came to the characters in this game. I wasn't completely lost but didn't feel as connected or aware as the game seem to imply that I should be. I mean I could tell who was suppose to be the rival, the arch nemesis, the love interest, the competing love interest, etc, etc, but I was just a bit lost on the history amongst them which you could clearly tell that there was.
- Very fun to play
- Decent replay value
- Many different costumes to play as
- Unlockables make the game fell very rewarding
- Definately has an old school platform vibe to it
- Great humor and surprisingly good voice acting
- Fun boss battles
- The in-game visuals could have been a lot better
- The heavy influence of Japanese culture could turn some of the western audience off
- The sluggish movement
- The game assumes that the audience is familiar with the characters. Bad move since the series hasn't been seen in the US since the 90s
In all, Hammerin' Hero's imperfections won't interfere in its enjoyment for those looking for an old school platformer to pass the time. Anyone looking for a deeper experience may want to look else where.