The typical Japanese RPG is a bloated beast, with an average adventure clocking in at 30 or more hours. If you’ve ever bemoaned the length of some of these titles then Half-Minute Hero will come as a blessing - the game imposes a 30-second time limit on each escapade and merrily crams every RPG cliché into that magic half-a-minute.
This restriction naturally makes Half-Minute Hero perfect for portable play. Each mission provides a perfect dose of action for those moments when you’re on public transport or have a spare few minutes in your busy working day.
In truth, the 30-second barrier is flexible to a degree - when you enter a town or village time is frozen and it’s even possible to enlist the help of the Time Goddess to turn back the clock.
Still, the sense of desperation is tangible and the game quickly morphs from an RPG parody to an action-packed, reaction-testing arcade romp. This is further reinforced by the presence of high-score tables that log your best performance in each segment.
It’s testament to the developer’s vision that this cycle of half-minute quests doesn’t enter the realms of repetition until you’ve expended a large slab of time with the game, but there’s no denying that Half-Minute Hero’s joke does wear a little thin after prolonged play.
This is balanced out slightly by the presence of additional game modes - one of which sees you assuming the role of the main antagonist - and the sheer feeling of joyful exuberance which permeates every 8-bit pixel of Half-Minute Hero’s being.
If your PSP has been sadly gathering dust over the past few months due to the drought of quality software, then Half-Minute Hero offers the ideal opportunity to wipe away the cobwebs and get stuck into some mischievously entertaining RPG action.