We'll say this much: the title of Ravenous Games' newest iPhone and iPad release, Random Heroes, couldn't be more apropos. This is the strangest collection of do-gooders assembled in a video game, a group of 15 jumbled and gun-toting dudes inspired by Abraham Lincoln, Indiana Jones and RoboCop. They're out to prevent a bunch of monsters from destroying Earth while stuffing their pockets with coins. Fun platforming ensues.
If you're at all familiar with Ravenous' previous efforts, most notably the League of Evil games, Random Heroes bears a resemblance to that series, except instead of racing through a bunch of tricky stages to beat the clock, this game's more methodical, as you take a leisurely stroll through a plethora of bite-sized levels in search of loot.
Standing in your way, of course, are a bunch of annoying creatures that either walk/run back and forth or fire projectiles. It's basic stuff, the types of bad guys that appeared in countless retro games from the 80s and 90s with easily recognizable patterns. In fact, the only thing that makes them a pain is the relatively high number of hit points required to put them down, though as you'll soon learn, this all depends on the selected weapon.
On that note, the game comes with 10 weapons that differ in damage and rate of fire. You begin with a weak 9mm pistol, but can eventually upgrade to a revolver, assault rifle, rocket launcher and flamethrower, all of which cost different amounts of virtual cash; the same goes for the 15 heroes, or "costumes", as the game calls them. The developers made the decision to include in-app purchases to buy additional coins, but so long as you zero in on the desired weapon(s) and costume(s), you should have little trouble amassing a sizable amount of money from just playing the game. The fact that Ravenous lets you hold onto all coins, win or lose, was a smart idea.
That aside, and while Random Heroes offers a few hours of platforming fun, it never goes above and beyond. Spiked pits, moving platforms, toxic goo dropping from ceilings...we've seen all of this countless times before, and more than 20 years ago. Just because a game costs $0.99 doesn't mean its creators should forego innovation. Finally, achievement popups often get in the way. In a game where dying means having to restart from the beginning of a level, the more uncluttered the screen, the better.
At the same time, it's still a solid and largely entertaining side-scroller with retro charm to spare. Random Heroes didn't wow us as expected, but it's another fine game in Ravenous' growing portfolio, as well as a cool retro homage to the good old days. Besides, how many games let you control a zombie armed with a flamethrower? You know you want this.
What's Hot: Over 30 stages filled with coins and monsters, a bizarre yet satisfying mix of heroes, 10 pulverizing weapons, retro-style graphics, little need for in-app purchases.
What's Not: Levels are too straight forward, achievement popups obscure the play area.