I am back from the dead for a special Halloween review! Not literally, but I haven’t written anything in a while, so I may be rusty.

Hero Survival puts a new, fresh spin on the indie horror wave survival game that exploded in popularity. It uses the same base gameplay, with enough tweaks to make it unique.

Instead of playing an undead character, you now play a hero character. You start with just the basic character, but you can unlock more with your collected gold from each run. Each new character has additional stat bonuses over the basic character, to give you a leg up in the fight against the hordes of classic undead enemies. Think creatures like zombies, skeletons, and ghosts. There is also a special boss every level consisting of ten waves.

Another difference is that you have four weapon slots. You start with one weapon, which is initially a pistol, but you can buy different starting weapons with the same gold currency earned in the levels. The limit of four slots means that you may need to upgrade or swap out your weapons as you progress through the timed waves on the way to the boss. The weapons are mostly different guns, but there are a few melee weapons present as well.

The progression system was a lot more intuitive than the other games in the genre. Each level has ten waves culminating in a boss. Defeat it to unlock the next level. During the level, you earn an upgrade for completing a wave or leveling up the character. Upgrades can either be items or abilities. Items are weapons and accessories that boost your stats in different ways. The first ability you earn determines your class for the run, such as gunslinger or cryomancer. Each other ability you earn come from that class.

The gameplay loop is very satisfying. You start by picking a character, starting weapon, and level. Then you collect gold, level up abilities, and complete waves for more items, until you can defeat the boss. Then you do it a again with a new level. Between runs, you can unlock new characters and starting weapons. It all just makes sense and can be done quickly and repeatedly.

The biggest similarity with the other survival game is the art style. They both have the retro pixel style but with modern resolution and FPS. I personally like this esthetic, with the high contrast colors making everything easy to see. 

Overall, I enjoyed my time playing Hero Survival, probably more so than the original game that started the genre. I would recommend it to any fans of similar games or someone looking for a good Halloween themed indie that isn’t an actual horror game. 

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