Ever since the first Mario game was created, many fans have wanted to create their own levels for the game. For a long time fans had to use hacks and other tools in order to make their own levels. That all changed in 2015 when Nintendo came to the wise decision of making a Mario game with the premise of players making their own levels. This game was Super Mario Maker which became a huge hit and recently had a sequel released. For fans of 2D platformers this was a dream come true as players could make their own levels and would have access to millions of levels created by other players. For those without a Wii U, 3DS, or Switch this wasn’t really an option though. That was until Million to One Hero which brings the create your own platformer genre to PC. After spending some time in early access, Million to One Hero was finally released out of early access this past Tuesday. Being a fan of 2D platformers as well as the idea of letting fans create their own levels, I was excited to try out Million to One Hero. Million to One Hero is a fun and entertaining 2D platformer which has the potential to be the PCs solution to the Super Mario Maker series.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Over The Top Games for the review copy of Million to One Hero used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.
In Million to One Hero you play as Epicus, a hero of old. Along for the ride is Chronos the god of Time. Using Chronos time traveling abilities you go through his memories to see how Epicus went from an aspiring hero to the greatest hero the world has even seen.
At its core Million to One Hero is a typical 2D platformer. The objective of the game is to reach the end of the level by touching a gemstone that portals you to the next level. In order to get to the end of the level though you have to overcome a lot of obstacles. As this is a platformer a majority of the gameplay involves a lot of jumping. For anyone who has played a 2D platformer before you should already be quite familiar with Million to One Hero’s platforming mechanics. The game gives you a basic jump and a dash that you can combine together for longer jumps. You can also wall jump. The game has you use these three mechanics to jump over gaps and other obstacles that you have to avoid.
In addition to platforming the game has some combat mechanics. You are given a sword that you can use to melee nearby enemies. There is nothing particularly special about about the combat as you just swing your sword until you kill the enemy. You are only given a couple hearts though so you have to avoid getting hit by enemies or you will be sent back to your last checkpoint. In addition some levels give you access to a special item/weapon. These special abilities include a bow and arrow, a shield that lets you glide, wings that let you fly, a hammer that allow you to break blocks, and a speed boost. These additional items are used to help you defeat enemies or avoid obstacles that you couldn’t with your normal abilities.
While the gameplay is not highly original, I give Million to One Hero credit for creating a good 2D platformer. The game doesn’t revolutionize the genre, but it uses what has worked in other 2D platformers and crafted a fun and engaging experience. I think this mostly comes from the controls being quite precise. You will die quite a bit in the game (especially in some of the levels that I have played), but I would say few if any of them were due to the controls. The controls lead to tight platforming which is quite satisfying. Anyone who likes old school 2D platformers should really enjoy Million to One Hero.
Due to the gameplay alone Million to One Hero would be a good 2D platformer. Then there is the fact that you can play the entire game co-op. It appears that every level in the game can be played with up to three other players. Basically each player has their own lives and health. When one player reaches a checkpoint it activates for all of the players. If a player dies and they have lives remaining they can get another player to pop their bubble and they can come back into the game. I am a little disappointed with the cooperative gameplay though as players can’t directly interact with one another. What I mean by this is that players can occupy the same space so they can’t do anything that impacts another player. For this reason the game doesn’t seem to really have any mechanics made exclusively for multiplayer where players have to work together. Nevertheless the game is still really satisfying to play with another player. As I have been a fan of co-op games since I played games with my brother when I was a kid, this brought back fond memories of old school split screen games. If you have friends or family to play with, I would highly recommend trying out the co-op on Million to One Hero.
For the most part I think the game does a pretty good job with the game’s atmosphere. The game uses an ancient Greece/Roman theme as you are playing as a hero in a world with the old Greek/Roman Gods as well as mystical creatures. The artwork is pixel art and is pretty good. People who hate pixel art won’t really care for it, but I thought it did a pretty good job reinforcing the ancient Greece/Roman theme. The music is pretty good as well. It gets repetitive pretty quickly though as the game doesn’t appear to have a lot of different songs.
To this point I have been mostly ignoring a key component of Million to One Hero. Just like with Super Mario Maker, Million to One Hero is a game that has an extensive level editor. I have to give the game a lot of credit for finding a clever way of adding the levels created for the game into the game’s overall story. Each level in the game acts as just another of Chronos’ memories of the adventures of Epicus. While the game includes some levels designed by the developers, a large amount of the game’s content will come from players of the game itself. I have actually been looking for a game like this to come to PC for quite a while. Games that easily give players the ability to create their own content have unlimited potential. Developers can create a long campaign but nothing is going to compare to what can be created by a dedicated fanbase.
So far I have mostly played levels created by the actual developers, but I have also checked out some levels created by other players. For the most part these levels are quite good and show what can be created in the game. Levels can differ from being pretty easy to quite difficult. Most levels so far tend to be on the more difficult side though. Hopefully the game can maintain a good balance between easy and hard levels so the game can be fun for players of all skill levels. Many of the levels I have played so far also show quite a bit of creativity meaning that players should be able to continue coming up with some good levels in the future. This makes me optimistic about the future of Million to One Hero.
In addition to playing other players’ levels I checked out the level editor for myself. I want to preface this by saying that I am not one of those players that are obsessed with making my own levels and don’t have a lot of experience using these type of tools from other games. I also haven’t spent a lot of time with the editor so far. With that said I have to give Million to One Hero a lot of credit as the level designer is really good. It takes a while to figure out where everything is and how certain things work, but you can pick it up really quickly. Basically the game has you choose different objects from menus and then choose which grid space you want to place them on. This process is so simple that I was able to create a level within five minutes (its debatable whether it was any good). While the level creator doesn’t have as many options as a game like Super Mario Maker, I was surprised by the number of items that you could play with. The game also seems to have a pretty extensive set of tools to create switches, gates and other mechanics that can bring a lot of puzzle solving and other unique mechanics to the game. With the set of tools the game provides, I think players can create a lot of fun and interesting levels. The game even lets you link levels together to create your own campaigns.
It is obvious that Million to One Hero’s developers put a lot of their effort into creating the level editor and the environment to share levels with other players. For this reason though the community is going to make or break Million to One Hero. While the developers have created levels themselves, the game is going to live or die by the levels created by the community. If you just focus on the levels created by the developers you are going to run out of content pretty quickly. If the community develops well though the game could have a ton of content created by fellow players. At this time I am unsure which way it will go. The game has a decent amount of levels but it seems to have less that I would have liked. This worries me a little as the game doesn’t seem to have as large of community as I would have liked. That is a shame because Million to One Hero is a good game and kind of a hidden gem at this point. I hope the game develops a following because it is good and could be even better if it develops a strong community. On its surface Million to One Hero has all of the makings of a good game, but where it ultimately ends up will depend on how the community develops.
Million to One Hero is an intriguing game as it is basically trying to bring the Super Mario Maker style gameplay to the PC. At its core the game is your basic 2D platformer where you jump between platforms while avoiding obstacles with some occasional combat thrown in. It might not be highly original but the gameplay is fun and satisfying. All of the levels in the game are co-op as well so you can bring some friends along for the adventure. The level designer gives you quite a few options and is easy to use. At this point there are some really good levels. At the end of the day though Million to One Hero is going to come down to the community that it develops. The game has a great core and could be great if players continue to create fun and original content. If the user base doesn’t stick around and create levels for the game though, it might run out of content pretty quickly. I hope that doesn’t happen though as I think Million to One Hero is a hidden gem that could become great if it develops a strong community.
As far as the final rating I decided to give Million to One Hero 3.5 stars. This rating is subject to change though based on the community that the game develops. If the game develops a good community leading to a lot of new levels, I likely would raise the game’s rating by at least a half star. If the game struggles to get a lot of new levels though it will likely stay around its current rating.
My recommendation comes down to your thoughts on 2D platformers and levels designed by other players. If you aren’t really into 2d platformers or don’t generally like levels created by other players, Million to One Hero is not going to be for you. If you like platformers though you should have quite a bit of fun with the game as long as you don’t mind playing levels created by other players. As long as the community continues to develop you should be able to get plenty of content out of the game so I would recommend picking up Million to One Hero.