Exclusively for the Xbox Kinect, PowerUp Heroes takes the first step in giving players the feeling that they are a super hero. Yet the elation of super powers is fleeting as the game runs into a number of barriers that make it a tougher sell for adults, more specifically, an extremely short single player campaign, repetitive game play and a lack of complexity. Even with me saying that, I still found myself satisfyingly addicted to the game…because what guy in their right mind wouldn’t want to be a superhero!
PowerUp Heroes puts you in a series of battle against other super beings, all powered by a unique suit. The game has the standard kicking and punch combat, but in order to spice things up players are able to perform a series of movements inorder to execute a special power move unique to the suit you are wearing. Each suit is earned by defeating an opponent (FYI this is all in the single player mode). There are 20 suits in total, each with 3 special powers. Players can create combos by stringing power moves with suit changes in between. When executed right, you look pretty funny flailing about, but in the game the results can be devastating.
Powers include electricity, being able to raise the dead, power over space and psychic powers. In the end they all kind of roll into one of two general categories, projectile attacks and Stasis attacks (moves that keep the opponent in one place and vulnerable to any attack) which were the key to most of my combos. In addition you can put up shields or dodge opponent’s attacks. While not complex, the action can be frenetic and if you are playing against a human opponent is pretty enjoyable.
Additional power ups are available to upgrade the player’s ability as they increase their experience and defeat more foes.
The controls are simple which allows pretty much anyone to pick up and play. Special moves are shown on a side display which allows you to figure out how to activate them instantly. One caveat is that you can’t use the same move twice in a row, a cooling period of a couple of seconds is need. The game is relatively responsive to the player’s movement, though for me there were a couple of instances where the Kinect didn’t register my movements, but I just chalk this up to my Ninja like reflexes.
Visually the game is on the cartoon side, with each special move having its own little animation. Nothing seems too scary for most children though the Necromancer powers toe the line a bit. while I expected more in terms of graphics (considering what is seen in other fighting games), for the audience this is built for I think it appropriate. I enjoyed my time playing the game, but one of the thing that bugged me was that the single player mode is super short, it took me a couple of hours to complete the whole game, in order to mitgate this ,Ubisoft (The developer), included an online mode which allows you to play other human opponent.
Overall, I think the game best fits with two human players facing off against each other and letting their competitive juices flow. The single player mode is fun but likely will be played only once in order to collect all the suits in the game. To me the replay value rest with the online community and on whether its popularity will result in a large group of people looking for a good fight.