There’s a Hero in All of Us
Buff Studio invites players to take on an interactive fantasy adventure in Not Exactly a Hero! The text-based adventure game focuses on the human story rather than a run-of-the-mill superhero tale. The game’s branching narrative features multiple starting points as well different endings. Everything is reliant on choices made from the very beginning. The number of possibilities can create a new gaming experience each time playing Not Exactly a Hero!.
Players step into the shoes of Riley, a sub-agent for The Maintainers. Superheroes are real in the universe of Not Exactly Hero! and the Maintainers’ job to keep an eye on them. That includes tracking and being financially for all the property damage heroes created. Riley is a self-conscious employee known as Agent B-12. He’s assisted by C-level agent Chris and reports to his uncompromising and commanding boss, Chief. Together, they “maintain” Flare, a superhero with a “flare” for theatrics.
With Very Little Power, Comes Great Responsibility
Right away, players are thrust into the action, choosing verbal, psychical and emotional commands. Not Exactly a Hero! doesn’t offer much instruction, so it can be a little tricky to get the hang of things. The most important rule to remember is everything you say or do matter. Each choice made during the game will affect the outcome of the later decisions and scenarios. For example, if players choose a negative thought, Riley’s mood will change, altering his interactions for the entire game. However, negative thoughts aren’t necessarily bad. Therefore, it’s important to weigh every option and pay attention to the scenario.
Reporting for Duty
Riley’s dialogue is colored beige on the screen, with other character dialogue is a darker shade of brown. Actions are in red, showing players an important choice is needed. The story moves quickly with dialogue scrolling along until players need to act, though players can pause or scroll back if they need to.
Not Exactly a Hero! is entirely a text-based game resembling a choose-your-own-adventure book. There are no side quests, fight scenes, just dialogue written in a novel style. The closest thing to action is choosing the correct response to get the best outcome, which costs tickets. They cost between five and twenty tickets depending on the severity of the action. Players replenish tickets by watching thirty-second ads, which are available every five minutes or less. They can also choose to pay for an ad-free version.
Players will also gain or lose Maintainers Points, or MTP, based on their decisions. Points influence Riley’s relationships and the specifics of each assignment. Depending on the player’s MTP score will affect Riley’s boss having more or less trust him. This affects how much the player knows going into an assignment. The player can’t buy Maintainers, only earn them by playing.
Not Exactly a Hero! is loaded with thirty-two possible achievements, forty-eight collectible illustrations and a bonus route for those who complete all character endings. In addition, players can create bonds between characters during gameplay, unlocking their unique finale.
Choose Your Own Adventure
The characters in Not Exactly a Hero! are all complex, and each has a unique ending. There is a bit of a slice of aspect to the story. Characters fight their own personal battles, in addition to the external ones. For example, layered into the main plot are flashbacks into Riley’s past and relationship with his mother. The results have triggering effects while on the job. Riley struggles with confidence and overcoming his dark past as he searches for his purpose, which is relatable to many players.
Not Exactly a Hero! includes some profanity and adult themes, so it may not be appropriate for younger players. Also, players will occasionally encounter some grammar and spelling errors, which can pull you out of the moment. A few eagle-eyed players will also note the nods to some original superhero cities sprinkled in for a touch of nostalgia. Not Exactly a Hero! can be found on google play or for PC download.
Not Exactly a Hero! is worth a go-around at least once if you enjoy interactive crime dramas with a lot of heart. A solely text-branching narrative may become tiresome to certain players. However, the story is thrilling with multiple plot twists and plenty of earnest emotion to keep interested players tapping along swiftly to get to the next scene.
Is it Hardcore?
Depends on the players.
Not Exactly a Hero! won’t be for everyone, but those willing to put in the time will find a heartwarming adventure story.