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[Review Rewind] Half-Minute Hero (PSP/Vita)

  • On February 19, 2015


Half-Minute Hero is an interesting mix of an RPG, a shoot ’em up, an action game and a real-time strategy game all rolled into a single release. Oh, and you only have 30 seconds to play each one!

Okay, I hear you: “Why would I play a game that is only 30 seconds long?” The thing is, there is a LOT to do in each of the game’s modes, thus keeping things fresh. This game is, hands down, the best game I played on my PSP (and it is also fully compatible with the Vita)!

Half-Minute Hero is a game that must be experienced first hand in order to understand how good it is. This game spans over four main modes that all revolves around the same issue: completing an objective in 30 seconds.

Half-Minute Hero – Gameplay

The first mode (Hero 30) is definitely better than the three other modes, and is actually the one shown in the video above. The main story here is about an evil lord that casts a world destruction spell that takes 30.0 seconds to cast. Your objective is to destroy the evil Lord before he can cast his spell.

With that description, this game might sound redundant and predictable, but luckily, each of its levels is crafted with care. Almost all of the levels of Hero 30 mode features at least one sidequest, villages, dungeons, and a few of them even can be finished by completing different objectives. In each level, once you get strong enough (the game displays: YOU > EVIL), you can rush into the Evil Lord’s castle and destroy him. I won’t spoil anything here, but a pretty atypical level is hidden late in Hero 30 that deserves to be discovered.

Most levels will not be done in 30 seconds, because you are helped by a greedy Time Goddess that can rewind time back to the original 30 seconds left (without you loosing the current map’s progress), as long as you have enough money to pay her. Each time you request her help on a level, her fees doubles so you won’t have enough money to rely on her if you don’t plan carefully (and she’ll totally let the world die if you can’t pay her fees!). All in all, I finished the first mode in around 6 hours and loved every minute of it.

The second mode you can play is Evil Lord 30, a very easy real-time strategy (RTS) game in which all 30 levels can be completed in under an hour. It does a good job at condensing the RTS experience into an easy to understand package, and the presentation, art style, and music are great (as is the case for the rest of the modes available in Half-Minute Hero). For Evil Lord 30, you summon different types of monsters (Brawlers, Shooters, and Nimbles) to defeat the opposing forces in your way. The mode’s main fight mechanic runs under the Rock-Paper-Scissors model (Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper, Paper beats Rock), which means you can’t just summon the same type of monster over and over and think that will be enough to be victorious. Proper planning and managing is a must.

Half-Minute Hero Dark Lord 30

Third mode is a shoot-them-up named Princess 30 in which you are a princess that must go out of the castle to collect some items before returning in 30 seconds. Once again, this mode is easy and can be completed quickly, but it presents a new genre to play in the Half-Minute Hero universe. For this one, the rules are simple since you’re always on the go, attacking anything that moves, and that might want to slow down our princess. The time Goddess also plays a part here in order to increase the time available to play, but, as always, time is money and if you have no money you’ll run out of time. You’ll find branching paths that can lead you to new areas with power-ups that can make a huge difference in the odds of success in your quest, so be sure to experience every level in this mode!

Half-Minute Hero Princess 30

The fourth mode is Knight 30 in which you have to protect a Sage that casts a spell. I found this last one to b harder than the previous ones. This mode is a bit crazier than the other ones, since in order to defend the Sage you must hit enemies with objects or by ramming into them (like in the old days!) or, when everything else fails, by carrying the Sage away from danger. Oh, and when you’re carrying the Sage the spell won’t continue to be cast, so do take that into consideration! Overall this one is a fun but quirky option and a nice bonus on top of the other three modes.

Knight 30

Each of the game’s modes spans over a different period and slowly unfolds the greater story of Half-Minute Hero. Finally, once the four main game modes are completed, two new challenging modes unlock (I’m not saying anything else about them, so you’ll have to discover them yourselves)!

Half-Minute Hero Cast

Final Thoughts
Half-Minute Hero is a one-of-a-kind experience that could originally only be found on the PSP (fully compatible with the Vita) and has now also been released on the Steam platform. The second game of this series (Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming) has been released exclusively on Steam, so it’s a shame that we won’t be able to play it on our Vita. If you are still on the edge to purchase it or not, two very light demos (9MB each) can be downloaded – the first one features the very first map of the main quest (Hero 30), and the second one demonstrates the Evil Lord 30 mode.

I highly recommend this game!



PSN Game Size: 101 MB
Cost: 9.99$

This review is based on a PSP/Vita copy brought the second after I finished playing the Hero 30 demo.

Review Overview

Classic RPG gameplay, compressed from 30 hours to 30 seconds