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Abe Lincoln looks pretty mean with a chainsaw. He’s one of 12 historical figures called in via cloning to save the world (and an underground hobo kingdom) from hordes of monsters, zombies, evil dudes, and man-eating cheeseburgers in Rocket City Studios’ dual-stick hack-and-slash game, Second Chance Heroes. It’s just about as crazy as it sounds, and the wacky premise is backed by solid gameplay.
Lincoln is joined by a who’s who lineup of historical clones, including Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon Bonaparte, Joan of Arc, and Queen Elizabeth I (who carries a gatling gun), available to purchase with coins — the premium currency, which you can earn in-game by completing challenges. Each historical figure is presented in a pumped-up caricature of his or her real-life counterpart, replete with two fun special abilities, and they’re divided equally in specialization between projectile and close-combat weapons. You can swap between your two selected heroes at any moment at the tap of a button.
Levels are mostly a guided experience, with pathways shut off ahead of you and closed behind, but they’re large and expansive enough to feel open. Enemies assail you everywhere you go, attacking in loosely assembled gangs and waves. Few of them move fast or intelligently enough to pose any real threat, but the sheer number of beasties can become overwhelming in later levels if you don’t make good use of your special moves, whichever power-ups you find, and the three relics you can equip at the outset (which enable more special moves, with a cool-down timer). Strategic slashing and dashing proves entirely optional, as you can brute-force through everything.
We had only minor issues with lag during online play; teammates quitting before the end or wandering off on their own proved a far larger annoyance. But it’s a more enjoyable experience — and one less likely to wear thin — when you take advantage of the co-op multiplayer feature, which lets you take on levels with one or two other players, whether it’s friends in a private game or random strangers from around the world.
The bottom line. Second Chance Heroes calls on some big-name historical figures to kick ass in the zombie apocalypse, with just enough style, variety, and depth to keep you engaged.
iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later
Great personality in the art style and writing. Plenty of variety in monster, character, and level designs. Multiplayer is fun. Controls work well.
Fighting gets a little muddy, with your character hard to spot amidst the chaos. Constant hacking and slashing gradually wears thin, especially in single player.