Didn't I already play this through on the PSP?
Y'know, I did. I played the exact same game on the PSP a while back. Well, it was slightly different; the main quest was the same, but the after-quests are all new… so while I might have been an arrow-toting princess (hope that's not taken out of context!) in both games, it was a different experience. And, at first, I didn't know if that was going to be a good or bad thing, but after playing it again, I'm left thinking, "Yeah, I've played this before. All of this. And even though I haven't played all of this before, I've played it before."
Half-Minute Hero originally came out in late 2009 for PSP and was just quirky enough that I thoroughly enjoyed it but was left wanting more. In the original, there are a batch of different types of games unlocked after completing at least one of the main quest's pathways; one is a shooter, another is a kind of 30-second escort mission, and both are intertwined to continue the story in their unique fashion. In Super Mega Neo Climax (or SMNC for "short"), all of the games are, in essence, the same style and play: 30 seconds, run the map, fight, and collect power-ups. Honestly, it's disappointing.
Actually playing it is a weird beast: In a mash-up of 8-Bit Theater and Ys Book attack style, you direct your little fella directly into enemies that appear randomly on the map in order to power up, grab some cash for new weapons, and health refills, then charge into the baddie's castle to defeat them and stop a world-destroying spell… all in 30 seconds. Sounds crazy, right? Yup. But if you pray to the goddess of time, she'll help you out for a fee, of course (she basically calls you her favorite ATM throughout the game) by resetting the 30-second time limit.
This basic set-up is done throughout the game, even after the main quest when you start taking control of other important characters in their respective time periods. The problem is, this was originally designed for the PSP's cross-pad, so playing with an analog stick is virtually impossible, and the 8-direction pad is almost as terrible. Your character can't move diagonally, so you are frequently stopped dead in your tracks.
In the PSP version, there are different genres to break up the action, but instead of fleshing them out here, you're left with a copy. This might be okay if it's your first time playing, but some of the additional quests move so slowly it's simply a chore. Playing the Princess challenge is the worst, since she's both the slowest and weakest character of the bunch. The PSP version is almost a twin-stick shooter (and my favorite, looking back now), firing at everything… even killing trees with her crossbow! But here, she's regulated to the same battles the Hero faces, and it's too similar (and too slow) to be done again.
In this incarnation (HA! Get it!? 'Cuz you're always taking different peop- ah, nevermind), a completely new art style is introduced. To be blunt, I really despise it. It looks like an old, layered Flash game, with little animation and no interesting style to them. The classic pixilated look is what makes this stand out visually from other games coming out today, so why would anyone think it's worth changing? What's the point of making it look like a browser game from 2005, especially when that's the only thing that changes?
At least the original mode is back in full glory, complete with branching paths to keep the game going. They all lead to the same end essentially, but finding different weapons and allies keeps the play somewhat fresh. Not terribly difficult but at least amusing. In fact, it doesn't get "difficult" until the last two modes are unlocked; Hero 300 gives a player a goal set and 300 seconds to work through, which can lead to some headaches, but for the really sadistic amongst us, Hero 3 – yep, only three seconds are on the clock – can make you throw not just your controller, but the whole damn TV. No amount of humorous dialogue (and a lot of it drips from the characters) is worth the migraine if you ask me.
Any way you look at it, though, this is more of the same Hero. Except for unnecessary new look to go along with it, the classic sprites and SNES-era throwback maps are back, but they look and play exactly as they did on the PSP. If you don't have a PSP, it might be worth checking out if the nostalgia hits you hard enough, but unless you're a glutton for punishment, I don't know how much you can find here. Oh, and if you do have the PSP version, just walk away. Take your time, no need to hurry, just walk aw-BOOM!