March 5, 2010

Demo Report – Patchwork Heroes

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:12 pm

Patchwork Heroes
While the demo for Patchwork Heroes only offers up three of the game’s warship sabotaging missions, it’s clear after the very first that few games could ever hope to occupy so little space on a memorystick while offering so much of what has been missing from the Sony diet.

Take the weight of the bloated development cycles and money invested in offering more of the same experiences, only in higher definition for a pack of clapping seals hungry for mediocrity, and lose all connection to that misguided faith as this tiny demo offers up more charm, heart, tactile pleasure, control freedom, and divine spark than should be possible from the hollowed out husk of the great beast that once ruled this industry with an iron fist, and still kinda likes to think it does.

Patchwork Heroes
The demo goes out of its way to mention that a graveyard is available in the full and final release, where players can visit their fallen comrades. Seems fair enough since so many of them died within the three rounds due to my carelessness. At the end of every stage a list shows who has been saved from the ship and joined the cause, and who won’t be coming home, possibly because I left them in charge of bombs, which requires the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s not entirely my fault, the game is a beat the clock pressure cooker of dizzying pixel patchwork designs, where the noble and desperate cause of destroying these battle ships before they bomb the small town is sometimes lost in the retina wrenching magnificence of deceptively simple design – we rarely see something that seems so straight-forward exhibit so much hand made tenderness. It has been a very long time since I have see such a level of detail, but waking up to it again dispels the idea that such hopes are the lost dreams of fools and drunks that ramble on about the good old days.

Patchwork Heroes
And then there’s the art of destruction, this is a destruction demo after all, according to the subtitle.

Simply put, Patchwork Heroes allows players to start cutting through the hull of these ships anywhere they please. Pressing triangle causes your character to tear away at the rusted metal threatening to rain death down upon their hometown, opening lines of blue sky while running a path from one edge of the ship to another, causing sections of the ship to break away and rewarding players for the size of each chunk sent back to the earth from whence it came.

Over these three missions, players will encounter defenses that fire missiles, repair damage to the ships, and generally try to dig a grave for this team of sprite guerrillas. The only option is to cut holes around these enemy robots, or sacrifice comrades with bombs. The best bet is in luring robots able to patch the ship away with faux damage, and quickly cutting behind them while they remain distracted. Such actions reward the player further with mojo points that enable the ability to cut through harder metals. Other power-ups increase the speed of character movement and freeze enemies temporally.

Patchwork Heroes
The faint scent of optimism is unavoidable while running these tiny characters across the enormity of the ships, learning the joints and jutting connections that hold the mass together, and taking it apart with sloppy cuts while time beats down. The game just lets you loose like a wild dog off the chain to find joy in deconstructing beautiful designs, taking the most complicated forms it has to offer and leaving scrap waste in your wake.

While other studios offers titles coasting solely on the fumes of nostalgia, Acquire brings enough insight here into where we’ve been, mixed with the proper amounts of imagination about the directions in which the medium can move, to renew a sense of optimism about what waits beyond the gaming horizon.

This tiny taste of Patchwork Heroes is everything we’ve forgotten in an industry of amnesia, mixed with several elements of everything we need to move forward – this is one of those games that actually does make you remember the child within, who didn’t just enjoy playing games as a passing interest, but lost a sense of self to it. Patchwork Heroes is a glorious goddess, a pixelated pixie lighting the darkest spaces of our rooms late at night while earning the insomnia we suffer for it.

But you don’t have to take my word for it, you can find out for yourself by grabbing the demo today, which flies by in the blink of an eye and leaves me hungrier than ever for the full course meal.

Patchwork Heroes is currently slated for a Spring release on PSP.


  1. So all in all, purchase worthy?

    Comment by EdEN — March 8, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

  2. You mean purchase a PSP worthy? Definitely ;) There’s a few things I’ll be watching for in the full game, partly if it gets repetitious quickly or not.

    Comment by Jamie Love — March 8, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

  3. Hopefully this is an actual retail release on UMD? Please? Yes? Otherwise I’ll be watching from the sidelines. :\

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — March 9, 2010 @ 11:15 am

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