Art by @kadeart on Twitter
We’re so used to watching our favorite characters fight their battles and anime as we cheer them on relentlessly. We are always on the sidelines and hope they succeed in their endeavors, but we are never in the stories ourselves.
That has now changed with the new mobile game that came out recently based on the popular anime Boku no Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi.
Welcome to: Boku no Hero Academia – The Strongest Hero.
Today, a week after the global release of the game, having played a little and explored some of its features, we will dive into what the game brings to the table, the mechanics of it and what you can expect!
Makii and I worked together on this, especially since we are both fans of BNHA and love to delve deep into these kinds of reviews.
So to start off, this game has had its global release on the 19th of May 2021 and was published by Sony Pictures Television for the US and by A PLUS JAPAN for the EU already on the 18th of the same month.
Many people have pre-registered for the game release beforehand in hopes of snagging rewards, and only quickly enough the first million downloads were established in a matter of days. No wonder at all, since BNHA is one of the most popular new generation anime. There is a huge fan base surrounding it who are eager to play the game.
Before the global release was initiated, it was released by the chinese studio Xin Yuan on December 3rd 2020, which resulted in many people using VPNs and emulators to experience the charm of ‘The Strongest Hero’. No wonder the game downloads skyrocketed when it was released globally in english (more languages such as german and french coming soon), it was recorded that the players had problems getting into overloaded servers, but those problems were quickly managed.
If you have no idea what the anime or manga of BNHA is about but are still interested, let me give you a quick synopsis.
In a world where 80% of the population are born with mutant abilities called “Quirks”, the job of the superhero became more than just a fantasy in comics. Now, the police are second rate as everyone looks up to the heroes who support and save the world.
Izuku Midoriya, also known by his nickname ‘Deku’, is one of the few Quirkless humans but still admires hero-work like nobody else.
Until one day the tables turn and he ends up with his own new power, now ready to go to renowned U.A. highschool for heroes to become what he always wanted to be: someone who saved lives with a smile on his face.
Now in this game, you are the one who steps into the shoes of a young aspiring hero who wants to climb up the ladder of success and defeat all villains in your way while protecting your people.
Are you stoked now? Let’s find out more!
Advertised as an action MMO-RPG, The Strongest Hero brings not only one but multiple different player modes that you can enjoy alone or with friends online!
Firstly, it’s an immersive story-telling game that lets you relive the actual plot of the anime Boku no Hero Academia so spoiler alert for the ones who haven’t watched it yet, this game will be dealing with the Deku’s story throughout it all.
It starts off with the first episode of the anime, showing us recaps and recreations of the anime but in the game-animation with small bits of interaction to refresh our memory on the fateful incidents that made Deku a true hero. With this retelling of the story, avid watchers of the anime can enjoy everything again from a new perspective, and new people with no knowledge of BNHA can still enjoy the game just as much.
It was even mentioned that the story campaign will be dealing with the contents of season one to three so far, with more already in planning.
So the developers made sure that the game is not only catered to its original fanbase, but to everybody out there!
Now with Deku as the first person you play as, we fast forward to Izuku who is more advanced in his skill set, as he already uses his original ‘shoot-style’ and One for All Full Cowling. You’re now a provisional Hero who just got his license, working for your own agency and completing missions all around town, meaning there is a little skip between the beginning of the game and where you actually start in Honei City.
The open-world is huge and leaves all sorts of possibilities to explore as you not only defeat villains, but also talk to the citizens and maybe even collect trash to fulfill your duty as a hero. Not only Deku is at your disposal, but currently a lot of other class 1-A students will soon fall into your hands! As Toshinori was released as a hero in the last update on May 26th we can assume that there are more to come.
Single player: As previously mentioned, the game will immediately lead you through the single player story campaign, as you try to keep the city safe and sound by defeating villains and completing missions.
There are next to the main-story missions the daily missions in which you ensure the city’s prosperity to get more rewards daily.
With this mode you can play with a multitude of skills and combos and the handling on the phone is very pleasant. With a left joystick on the touchscreen and skill buttons on the right you can activate the swift and powerful attacks that we already know from the anime.
There are also multiple things to do as a single-player as you can collect your daily supplies in several missions which you will need for training your hero, enhancing your gear and more limited to 20 runs for each supply with several difficulties.
Hero trials, commissions and even more features are all available despite being alone keeping you busy for a while, as some don’t even need stamina to fulfill since stamina limits the player in the missions they can do.
And if that is all too much action you can simply explore the city on your own and search for special items on your way.
This is extremely interesting for the ones who like to play at their own pace and alone to enjoy a mix of story-telling and hack n slash combat.
PvP: Contrary to the first mode, if you’re more interested in actually playing against others, ‘The Strongest Hero’ won’t disappoint in its Player vs. Player mode.
Even here we have multiple ways to play, as the Arena takes on a more classic 1 vs 1 feel in which you can defeat other players similar to other fighting-games, or the Super Co-Op battle which allows you to play 3 vs 3.
Soon we will also know what the mysterious War Zone Co-Op entails, as that feature is still to be launched.
Other Co-Op features are also the Agency assessment, the joint operation and Emergency.
Emergency shows us more of the work of a hero, in which you suddenly trigger an event that is of urgent matter and has to be completed with a team of other players quickly. Time runs out, and it is all about the true work of a hero where you have to act quick!
There is truly something for everyone in here
Truly, this game is a lot more than just an MMO, even though its open-world is a huge part of it all.
To get your preferred heroes and play them, the game has a gacha system in place for you to pull for your luck!
Deku is in the player’s repertoire from the start, and his skill-set is very dynamic and swift with less damage but a lot more speed. His comments are just as loud as in the anime, and if that doesn’t give you any satisfaction do not worry! Every hero has his own fighting style and can be explored by playing the missions in which you will quickly deploy Denki Kaminari and Kirishima Eijiro.
The game differs between three types of heroes: Speed, Power and Technical as the three examples Deku, Kirishima and Denki already represent each respectively.
There is also knowledge that there will be Pro-heroes and even some villain characters in the mix.
The skills range extremely from heavy handed to swift or long to short range attacks. Just as varied as the fighting style is, we have beautiful animations that display the Quirks and many possibilities to use them.
Done with all the fighting? Look at the adorable dorm feature in which you can earn more stamina and organize a dorm room for your heroes. You can even make their chibi-versions run around in that room and catch a break from all the hero work.
Although the story might pester you with it’s orange glowing button in the upper right corner, you can just ignore everything and explore the gorgeously crafted open world environment (in most cases).
Yes, you can even walk up buildings!
Of course there is an autofinding feature to briskly get you to where your missions lead you, but if you so desire you can look at the urban starting world and walk around.
Since everyone else will have Deku as their first hero as well, it is incredibly amusing to see all the other Deku’s running about.
The starting setting is true to the anime and shows us urban and modern Japan, with a strong hint of technological advancement.
The preset graphics on SD will give you the ability to walk around smoothly, but if your phone can take it, I urge you to at least try to up the graphics to a better resolution. The scenery is truly mesmerizing, and the art style as well as the visual effects have a huge appeal.
It’s even nicer to look at for the ones who haven’t seen enough of the BNHA universe in the anime, because now there are an abundance of regions to explore and the developers have made sure to give us a lot of eye candy.
After all this technical talk, why should you play this game?
First of all, from what I have witnessed as an excited anime watcher and manga reader, the story is catered to include the player.
It’s a lot more different than just watching Deku go through the world, you are actually responsible for how the mission turns out. It’s exhilarating to see characters from the anime like Kamui Woods and Mt.Lady talk to you and ask for help, as they are characters we didn’t see all that much in the anime. It gives the impression to be needed and included which is a great asset!
A hero doesn’t stray away from any work, so yes you will have to pick up trash from time to time or just talk to people to assess situations! Still, there are a lot of cameos of other characters like Hatsume Mei who takes care of your support gear.
Second of all, there is a lot of freedom for you.
From all the different game modes and mechanics to the story and even the split up Co-Op modes, you will have a lot of possibilities to explore and find why you want to play the game.
One thing is for certain, the gameplay has something for everyone and gives adequate rewards to you for every mission or task you clear. Features get unlocked gradually through playing the story and leveling up, which keeps the player on their toes.
One mission quickly leads to another, and it seems there is no end to what you can do, especially in the beginning of the game.
Sadly, that is also one of the drawbacks I will have to mention.
Due to the immense freedom and possibilities, the game bombards you with a lot of information. As a first time player, it’s probably that you will get overwhelmed by the forceful approach of the tutorial, but after a while it definitely gets a lot better in my opinion.
My personal highlights are the gacha system as I love to collect and work to pull my favorite characters, the story as a fan of the franchise and the co-op because I love to play the game with friends. So far I haven’t had the ability to actually play with others, but from what I’ve seen it all has a lot of potential.
Even though we’re talking about a free-to-play game, since stamina is one of the necessities to play missions etc, it is very scarce and often drives one to want to buy it, which is why the game leans towards a pay-to-win game. Still, with a bit more patience and some hard work everything is playable for free.
All in all, I shall conclude that The Strongest Hero is an honest and great attempt at making an anime based game which held a lot of expectations from the fanbase.
The immersive factors are amazing, the animations are top tier and the possibilities seem endless. At the end of the day it’s a game that is playable regardless of how much time you have due to the auto-play-function in many features and can be enjoyed in your personal way.
I hope you enjoyed our take on reviewing the game and give it a shot! If you have played it already or are planning to, please leave your personal impressions in the comments!
What a Co-Op teatime! Hope to see you again!
-Nissa & Makii