For those of you who don’t know, He-Man is a character played by Dolph Lundgren in the classic movie Masters of the Universe. Before that he was an animated character in the weekday afternoon Masters of the Universe cartoon. Before that he was a toy in a collection of action figures of which I had every single one, thanks to my parents standing in lines at toy stores. 30 years later, how does his iOS video game compare to my childhood toys? Let’s find out.
This He-Man game has a much goofier look than either the original animated series or the even more realistic Cartoon Network version. It definitely looks like He-Man and Skeletor, but with a goofy grin and a sense of humor in all the text dialogue. So it’s not the toys, it’s not the cartoon, it’s definitely not the live-action, but it’s still He-Man.
What’s even more exciting than a He-Man game is a good old fashioned side scroller game. I got so sick of 3D platform games where you fall off the edge because you can move in 360 degrees. I’m so happy that iOS has good old fashioned side scroller games, and He-Man is a good one. The fact that it uses all the classic He-Man characters is a bonus.
The touch controls are pretty natural. You hold the screen and drag left or right to make He-Man walk. You tap to attack and the more weapons upgrades you buy throughout the game, the more attack moves you can learn. Swipe up to jump, and if you work out jumping while running, you’ve pretty much mastered the game. You can also find concept art hidden in corners of the levels you can unlock.
All the levels are based on the land of Eternia from the He-Man cartoons. You run through dungeons, mountains, crystal caves and more to make your way to Castle Grayskull. All along the way, you hack and slash bad guys and collect gems to buy more power ups. You get an assist from Man-At-Arms who can shoot lasers, and if you tap the sword on the top right corner of the screen, you can activate the power of Grayskull for even more He-Man smashing power. Orko is there to help. I have not seen Teela, but maybe I have to unlock her.
The graphics are beautiful in these colorful animated environments, especially all the shading. The music, unfortunately, is not the theme song from the old afternoon cartoon, but it is an equally epic sounding tune to pep you up as you explore every level. They could have written a different theme for each area of Eternia, but they didn’t. The sound effects are good for the slashing, growling monsters and cackling Skeletor.
He-Man is a solid hack and slash side scroller. It feels like playing a He-Man game on your NES, only with better graphics at a much, much cheaper price point. I love He-Man, but let’s face it, it’s been decades since I played with the toys. Hopefully no one looks at me funny when I raise my iPad above my head and yell, "I have the power!"