Dateline: Quadrilopolis. To the world at large, mild-mannered office worker Cube Kent seems to do nothing more than work at the office of Office Work Incorporated. However, due to a mysterious accident as a young lad involving a radioactive chemistry set, whenever there is a call for help, he need only to duck into a convenient telephone booth to become... Square Hero! NDGames' champion of justice, and puzzle platforming protagonist extraordinaire! He's here in his poly-bagged, holographic, foil-embossed varient-covered, action-packed first issue, and while it's not it's not going to win the Eisner in the innovation category, it's definitely a fun romp, true believers.
When in your mild-mannered form, you can only walk and jump with the [arrow keys]. However, make it to a phone booth and you gain access to your cache of superpowers. First of all, there is flight: a double-tap of the [up] key will have you take to the sky, and with a burst of speed given with a double-tap in the direction you wish to go. Since fire is a weakness, you'll need your super-breath, activated with [A]. Obstacles may block your path, but they can be dealt with with your [S]-activated heat vision, or else frozen with breath and punched through with [D]. Watch out for the green radiation of krippling rocks, though. Get hit with them, they'll force you back into your secret identity. Each level you'll be given tasks to complete by the hero league, usually involving the rescuing of civilians, extinguishing of fires, and catching of criminals. Complete all objectives to finish the level. Up, up and away!
Superhero games are notoriously hit-and-miss, particularly Superman-inspired ones. Still, Square Hero delivers with a game that emphasizes exploration and puzzle-solving. The pace may be too slow for those who prefer their heroes brawly and quippy, but the mechanics of super-powers are used in engaging and interesting ways. Also, the aesthetic is absolutely beautiful. It has the crisp shiny lines of silver age art deco, reminiscent of the style Pixar uses when displaying their CGI creations in 2D. Unfortunately, the game's use of the Comic Sans font clashes pretty horribly (and, lets face it, a font designed to mimic a comic-book, looking horrible in a game designed to do the same, is a special kind of fail). There are also quite a few minor, but annoying, visual glitches. Particularly there is the secret-identity "jumping" animation which disconcertingly. changes character models for a couple of frames. With this in mind, while Square Hero isn't particularly innovative, it has the creative bells and whistles that will keep you entertained till the climactic finale. Excelsior!