As I sit down to play Deadbeat Heroes, it reminds me of classic games from the early 2000s, specifically those on Dreamcast. In fact, just from looking at a few screenshots or videos of the game, there’s a distinct Jet Set Radio vibe to the cel-shaded graphics and the top down view reminds me somewhat of the multiplayer brawler Power Stone, which is apt considering that this is also a super powered brawler.
Rushing headlong into each little combat area, you’ll first find yourself battling standard goons and thugs, but you’re not likely to be super powered at this point. It’s in landing hits and knocking them out that you get them to drop little orbs of power that gradually build up to letting you unleash your turbo attack, an unblockable and powerful strike.
It’s a good thing that turbos are unblockable, because it’s not long before the regular grunts start showing up with melee weapons in hand that are able to deflect your regular person punches. The only way around that is to disorientate them and confuse them so they can’t get their blocks in, and it pushes you toward a more balletic form of combat, without resorting to locking you onto targets as in the Batman: Arkham games. The heroes here are still plenty agile, able to leap over enemy heads, dash and wall-run to confuse and get around behind them. It doesn’t really take much, to be fair. They’re not the smartest cookies in the tin!
You’ll also need those turbo attacks, because that’s the only way you’ll be able to land a blow on the super villains in the game, as they can’t be hurt by standard attacks. Not only that, but once defeated, you’ll be able to steal their ability like a video game Peter Petrelli, suddenly being able to fling fireballs and create explosions while you still have turbo power left in the tank.
It’s a classic video game twist that as you beat one level and one particular type of villain, you’ll encounter that kind of enemy in greater numbers not long after, but with the power stealing twist, it simply means you’re able to turn their villainous abilities on the next tough enemy you encounter. Even then, the three levels in the demo get progressively more and more difficult, to the point that I found myself completely overwhelmed in the third level. It might be a fun and friendly looking game, but there’s the potential to be absolutely rock hard as well.
I’m curious to see where Deadbeat Heroes goes from here, that’s for certain. I’d like for the developers to maybe tone back some of the close up shots you get when landing a turbo attack, as I feel it makes the action a little bit too stop-start, but I’m also curious to see if they can add further depth to the game than they have now. It’s fast-paced, fun and challenging, but it could do with just another twist or hint of something else to really make it that little bit more super.