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He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe™ Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on October 25, 2012

He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe™
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • Considers the device it's on when it comes to the controls; a unique spin on the traditional platforming system.
  • Plenty of unlockables to hunt down and collect.

CONS

  • Combat feels jilted; frustrating amounts of pauses and delays - the inability to move He-Man with any level of agility also becomes tiresome.
  • Upgrades never really feel like they add to He-Man's arsenal; new moves, but nothing that changes the basic flow of combat.

VERDICT

He-Man falls short not only of other brawlers, but of the series itself as it chooses to stick to a limited system of combat that's propped up by decent level design.


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There's one thing Skeletor always had right about He-Man - he's a bit of a dunce. Not your typical muscle-headed stubbornness mind you, but rather a blind 'do right at all costs' sort of fellow who'll act before thinking. So it's entirely appropriate that Mattel's reboot of the series as a side-scrolling action brawler should feel just as dense, but not in the mindless 'fun' way.

You, as Adam in his guise of He-Man, are tasked with stopping Skeletor from pulling off his latest scheme. Thus begins your multi-stage and area quest of indiscriminately cutting down or punching man-machines; local wildlife; and historical architecture in an attempt to catch up to him. I include those last two points as it seems weird that the protector of the realm would be so careless, but I digress.

To run, jump and slash your way through foes you'll make use of the uniquely touch-screen-centric controls of swiping. One half of the screen is dedicated to your lateral movement, while the other is tapped and swiped to jump or activate special attacks. While the effort to try something new is appreciated, the lack of alternatives leaves you stuck with the inherent delay that comes from swiping, making agile movement somewhat troublesome.

This is further exacerbated by He-Man having a bad case of forgetting what he's doing at times, pausing and refusing to accept input between special attacks and slashing combos. Other niggles such as not being able to turn around in the air turn what should be a fluid combat system in to one that all-too-often results in your multiplier being canceled due to taking an unavoidable hit.

Of course He-Man isn't without help - credits earned on each stage can be spent to add to his arsenal of special moves or on temporary power-ups such as calling on the power of Castle Grayskull to get out of a tight spot. These are incredibly helpful if you seek to three-star each stage or collect every bonus token for unlockable artwork, but they add no real depth to the combat; they simply make you more of a demigod.

It's all of these little things that conspire to make He-Man feel unpolished. No reason is ever needed to run around punching 'bad guys' all day, but when the combat itself lacks that spark of fun it's a much harder thing to justify participating in.

Screenshots

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