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General Description

Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax is an arcadey RPG released on Xbox Live Arcade in June 2011. Players control a hero tasked with saving the world from a series of villains that have gained access to a dark spell that destroys everything in 30 seconds. Players navigate classic RPG-style overworlds and encounter random battles that proceed automatically as they try to stop each foe from casting the spell.

The game treats each stage as its own game, which means the protagonist resets to level one every time. A goddess assists the hero by freezing time when he enters villages, allowing players to talk to the two or three citizens that populate each and purchase any healing items or equipment before moving on. In the field and in combat a 30-second timer constantly dwindles, frantically driving players forward. The game's central mechanic involves goddess statues located in certain towns where players can pay to have the clock rewound. Each time they use a statue the price of the next rewind goes up, meaning that eventually players won't be able to keep up and will have to complete the stage.

The game's biggest strength is in problem solving. Ostensibly it follows RPG conventions, but its snappy style gives it a more arcadey pace and the way it deals with its quests makes it closer to a puzzle game. Its unique premise and style make developer creativity another of its strengths.

Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C+ C
Ratings at a Glance
Creativity: 7 Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Business: 3 Developer: Marvelous Entertainment, Inc.
People: 2 Year: 2011
Problem: 7 Genre: 1st Person Shooter & Action/Adventure
Simulation: 0 Strengths: creativity, problem, popularity
Popularity: 8 Platforms: Xbox Live
Extra: 1  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

Half-Minute Hero doesn't focus on classroom facts. Its RPG mechanics are rooted in some basic mathematics but are generally swept under the rug in favor of the game's frantic pace. Plenty of text describes the off-the-cuff plots of each new chapter.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

Many stages offer branching paths and nearly every one contains hidden items and special challenges. These elements are what afford players the most creativity, as they encourage exploration and allow players to collect the equipment that can be used to customize their character in later stages.

Many of the game’s most interesting puzzles are the ones that aren’t explicitly spelled out. Each stage offers a pair of special titles for players to unlock. These might be awarded for completing stages in a certain limit, wearing certain equipment, or completing more unique objectives depending on the stage. They don’t offer concrete awards, but they give players that enjoy the game more challenging goals to pursue.

By the Developer:

Half-Minute Hero is a sort of tongue-in-cheek look at RPGs. This idea has been explored before, but Half-Minute Hero's focus on reinventing base RPG mechanics make it unique. On paper, players will complete most of the tasks found in a standard full-length RPG, but each stage reinterprets these tasks into one fast-paced challenge.

The game also makes plenty of self-referential jokes about the game and the RPG genre. Its characters - particularly the Time Goddess, the player's constant companion - are silly but often memorably written.

This Xbox Live version of the game also introduces a new graphic style and multiplayer mode. In addition, the game's unlockable modes after the main "Hero 30" - "Dark Lord 30," "Princess 30" and others - have been rebuilt. While in the original PSP version they offered takes on different game genres, here they have been remade to be closer in style to the main game's RPG mechanics.

Business Skills

Players collect gold after each battle which can be spent on equipment and healing items in towns. This gold is also used to manage the game's most important resource: the 30 seconds that make up each mission. This strict limit usually forces players to make choices in each stage; while new pieces of equipment can be helpful in the long run, players that do not plan carefully will often have to forgo them in order to complete a quest.

People Skills

Half-Minute Hero­ introduces a unique multiplayer mode that puts several players together into one of the game’s 30-second challenges. Ultimately a player’s goal is to complete the stage before his opponents, but the twist is that the stages are made to be difficult enough that they’ll have to work together at some point along the way. This portion of the game is secondary to its solo campaigns, but offers an interesting new look at the game’s mechanics.

Problem Solving

Each of Half-Minute Hero’s levels offers a new scenario to the player, though the ultimate goal is always the same – some evil force has discovered the magic 30-second world-destroying spell and is trying to cast it from some castle. On the way to the castle players will have to deal with various problems, most of which are taken straight from RPG stereotypes. Bandits inhabit caves, treasures need to be found, side quests need to be completed and villagers need to be helped, only now everything is rushed along by automated random battles and a constantly-ticking 30-second timer.

Solving these problems tends to be fairly straightforward. The complications arise from the time limit, which forces players to consider exactly how much they can get done at any moment. Most stages offer various optional elements – pieces of equipment, party members, even entire branching paths – that payers will need to manage their 30 seconds carefully to collect. Much of the equipment in particular can be useful, as players carry their stuff on with them to use in later stages as appropriate.


Half-Minute Hero is not a simulation game.


Half-Minute Hero has been fairly well-received. It's high difficulty level has received mixed reviews. Its strong sense of humor has received mostly praise, while its art style and its unique fast-paced mechanics have been praised universally.

Controls & Options

Half-Minute Hero's most intriguing option involves its graphic style. This Xbox 360 remake introduces a new cartoon-like art style, but an option allows players to play through the game in its original PSP graphics. Other audio and control options are available.


Half-Minute Hero was rated Everyone by the ESRB with a descriptor for Mild Fantasy Violence.