By the power of Grayskull I will smite thee Skeletor!
He-Man – The Most Powerful Game in the Universe doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is one of the true strengths of the game. The bickering between He-Man, and evil mastermind Skeletor is always funny, almost like a married pair of old-timers. This is a stroke of genius since the basic storyline of good versus evil in the He-Man universe is far to basic to be a proper foundation in itself. Having He-Man being the bloated super hero he is, and Skeletor the narly almost Riddler like villain is perfect.
The heroes, and villains I remember from my childhood are back. Or at least some of them, as the heroes are down to He-Man, and Man-At-Arms and Orko. The villains have a much better rooster with Skeletor, Beast-Man, Hardok, the stinky Mer-Man and Trap Jaw. Even if I miss some of the characters I used to play with as a child the ones available are definitely enough to get me in the mood for some Skeletor-slaying.
The gameplay is a combination of platforming, and hack and slash. He-Man moves from the left to the right fighting, jumping and collecting orbs. Both aspects of the game are slightly let down by the less than ideal control setup. To move you swipe left, or right on the left side of the screen. To jump you swipe up on the right side of the screen, and to attack you tap the right side. As enemies can come from both direction this control setup soon makes He-Man feel stiff, and highly inflexible. Often I jump to attack an enemy to my right, and want to attack an enemy to my left before landing. That can’t be done, as He-Man has to land before he can shift his body to the other direction warding off a threat.
For the platforming this mechanic becomes even more cumbersome, as He-Man can’t really adjust his movement in the air. Far from Metroid when it comes to the agility, but still there are some places in the game where it is called for. Double-jumping can be done by swiping upward while already airborne. This has to be used to grab orbs, and special collectable cards throughout the game. Jumping between platforms is also kind of a gamble, as the swipe to move mechanic never gets really precise when compared to arrows, or a virtual joypad.
When He-Man perishes there is still a chance to continue by playing Orko’s game of chance. Simply swipe to let the wheel roll, and you can be awarded a continue some crystals or extra bonus. As the game is skewed towards letting you continue from the last checkpoint it makes it all a bit easier to accept falling from a platform due to the controls.
The game lets you progress through a map from the moment He-Man escapes from the clutches of Skeletor to the final confrontation. This journey from the dungeons through Snake Mountain ends up at the coveted Caste Grayskull. The game gives a new perspective on the animated movies, and comics featuring the Masters of the Universe characters.
Between levels you can upgrade He-Man, and his abilities using a crystal currency. The game is quite generous with this currency, and there is no real need to use IAP to complete the game. Actually the bonus moves, or weapons that you can buy can make the game a bit harder. This is due to having more controls to keep track off in the already slightly awkward controls scheme. I unlocked the legendary axe that allows for distance attack, but only when He-Man stands still. Other cool unlockables are more Man-At-Arms appearances allowing your ally to show up blasting the enemies with powerful lasers.
The strength of He-Man – The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is the cool presentation. The developers have managed to breathe digital life into these old icons, and it is really easy to connect for me as a fan. For those who have never seen He-Man prior to this review it is still a really polished game with colourful graphics, well animated characters and excellent effects. All menus are also well made, and comes in the bold colours associated with the characters.
The soundtrack is the classic soundtrack from the series, and other suitable tunes. Paired with great sound effects it further enhances the immersion. You are free to listen to your own music, and keep the sound effects as well.
The game is on the easy side as a hack and slasher, and there are only a few rather one-dimensional boss-fights that get a bit harder. If you don’t care about getting three stars on each level this game can be beaten in a couple of hours.
He-Man – The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is not the most powerful game in the universe. It is however a quite enjoyable romp through memory lane that can be enjoyed by both fans, and newcomers to the series.