Iro Hero is a quite difficult space shooter combining elements from classic games like Ikaruga and Galaga. Though it compliments the inspiration, making sure you pop a blood vessel here and there in raging anger, perhaps it’s done a little too well. This realization, however, left me more salty than excited. And to be honest, the latter was an occasional visit.
Iro Hero has a skippable story, mostly your typical “save the galaxy from an evil enemy.” Although this narrative might be intriguing to some, it certainly did not grab my attention in the slightest, and any chance that dialog approached my screen was quickly passed and done so without regret.
The mechanics in Iro Hero is obviously where the bread and butter exists. And to its credit, the game plays very well in this regard, borrowing inspiration from old-school titles like Ikaruga and Galaga. Your spaceship essentially glides in all directions and your objective is to stay alive until you’ve reached the end of the stage, which is no pleasure cruise. Swapping between the color red and blue is required, as certain enemies possess these tones and can only be shot down with the opposite hue.
Although the premise sounds simple, it is indeed not, as waves upon waves of enemies and their projectiles come at you constantly. Absorbing enemy fire with the same color palette as yours will keep you alive for a while, it will even give you a chance to use a special ability, but the task at hand, unfortunately, remains daunting. Even if you’re lucky enough to build up the meter to use this so-called special ability, which fires in multiple directions, it takes a while to build, making it utterly useless during my playthroughs.
In most space shooters you’re are given the chance to use upgraded weapons. We’ve seen this in the past, and if anything, it keeps you immersed in the game and inspires you to keep moving forward. Iro Hero, on the other hand, doesn’t really give you upgraded cannon fire as often as you would like. To be fair, you have a chance to obtain dual-cannons in level one, but once your ship is destroyed, which can literally happen within seconds of grabbing this upgrade, it’s gone for good. To its credit, the dual-cannon upgrade is nice to save if you’re able to keep it, but it would have been nicer to have the opportunity to grab this powerful weapon more than once in any given level.
If you’re a fan of Ikaruga or Galaga you’ll have a nice time with Iro Hero on the Nintendo Switch. The intense level of difficult is definitely there, and you’ll likely get the hang of the game mechanics within minutes of playing if you’re familiar with the inspiration. But for me, Iro Hero was incredibly daunting and the lack of powerful abilities didn’t exactly inspire me to continue playing. Without the option to swap game difficulty, Iro Hero is constantly set to hard, making it mostly for those with patience who look forward to an incredibly difficult challenge ahead of them.