Let's not skirt around the issue here – the characters in this game look like sperm. Putting our childish observations aside, though, Hero of Many is a simple yet imaginative journey through the underbelly of a mysterious world. It may look pretty from the outside, but delve further and discover this game's devilishly sinister edge.
Although very basic in terms of controls, Hero of Many is not a casual bit of brain candy for that spare five minutes while you wait for your bus. This is a game that offers a fully immersive headphones experience, contrasting moments of quiet tranquility with frantic chase scenes complete with tribal drums and swelling strings. It creates an atmosphere that demands your full attention, and while you could probably race through it with the sound off, you'd be missing out on the vital elements which make the game such a joy to explore.
You control that ball of light in the middle of the screen, growing in brightness as you gather further light sources and a 'tadpole' army to follow you around. The white tadpoles are yours to control and protect, but soon come under repeated attacks from their darkly coloured opposites. It's a simple enough conceit, but there's something extremely tense and uncertain in the way that these underwater battles take place.
It's partly the fear of the unknown; there is no text to read in Hero of Many whatsoever and the characters don't have a health bar so you can see how they're doing. You should have some idea, of course, their number and brightness will indicate whether a fight is worth taking on – but it's a game of careful judgement rather than brute force.
There are 26 levels in total, beginning with dimly lit monochrome terrains before exploding with vivid blues, greens and reds as you progress. The general aesthetic is perhaps a little derivative of the terrific iOS side-scroller Badland, but in Hero of Many you play to your own pace and you can zip around in any direction by simply tapping your way around the screen. At times, you may find a way to play through a level without confrontation – by darting down a narrow passage or moving a heavy boulder – but at others war is unavoidable. In the game's best moments you find yourself outnumbered and have to swim frantically away to safety, but there are also incidences where the numbers work satisfyingly in your favour.
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THE BOTTOM LINE
Hero of Many is the kind of game that we love at Life of Android Towers; showing that a little imagination and a lot of care goes a very long way. It may look simple – and it is – but there's a surprising amount of depth to these curious underwater worlds.
Current version: 1.036
Requires Android: 3.0 and up