Written by Paul Monopoli
“HE-MAN… AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE!!!”
It was the opening line of one of the most iconic and recognisable cartoons from the 80s: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He-Man has been around for many years and in different forms, from the 1987 movie starring Dolph Lundgren, the 1989 “New Adventures of He-Man” or as I call it “He-Man in Space”, the 2002 Mike Young productions show which rebooted the series and the show all 80s fans know and love, the Filmation cartoon.
This game is primarily based on the Filmation cartoon, so if you’re a fan then you might want to take a look at this.
Upon starting the game you are presented with 2 options. You can either fight as He-Man using the “Power of Greyskull”…
… or you can fight for the “Honour of Greyskull” using He-Man’s twin sister She-Ra.
And if you complete the game with those 2 it looks like there’s more coming soon.
The game hits the ground running with Skeletor having caught He-Man, then He-Man escaping and going after Skeletor. Right away the dialogue and animation takes you back to the brilliance of the 80s cartoon.
If you’ve ever seen the He-Man cartoon in recent years you’ll know that the animation hasn’t aged well, even though it is still a joy to watch. The game features tongue in cheek humour which makes fun of the cartoon’s short comings.
One problem I found was that the storyline can be a little confusing. When He-Man first confronts Skeletor he is told that he must face his henchmen. One of those Henchmen is Hordak.
For those who watched He-Man and She-Ra you might remember that Hordak was Skeletor’s mentor, not henchman. The Mike Young Productions cartoon from 2002 goes one step further by stating that Hordak created Skeletor from the villain Keldor who had his face burned off with acid.
Hordak was created as a mysterious magic user except in the Filmation cartoon where he was turned into a cybernetic scientist. This game follows the Filmation canon so far as giving Hordak the abilities he was granted in the cartoon, including his arm canon and being able to turn into different things.
All of the other characters including Beastman (who IS one of Skeletor’s henchmen) have been given an upgraded appearance…
… though fan favourites like Orko still retain their familiar look.
The other thing that confuses me is that you fight Horde Troopers from the very beginning. Horde Troopers belonged to Hordak while Skeletor had those little robots that floated through the air. This gave He-Man an opportunity to punch something without it being a living breathing creature. The show had to be family friendly to promote the toy line remember… Anyway, Skeletor’s robots do show up but it feels like an odd mixing of villains.
The Sorceress makes an appearance as she guides He-Man and She-Ra through Eternia on their quest to defeat Skeletor
Along the way she helps by giving you the option to buy extra moves…
… or you can spend the gems you earn on extras like artwork from the toy packaging or the mini comics that came with the figures.
When you die Orko presents you with a game of chance. It gives you a chance to continue where you left off or end the game with some extras such as more gems to spend.
I don’t normally play iOS games as I really dislike using a touch screen as a controller. With that in mind, it seems the controls for this game have been well thought out with the left thumb moving your character left and right, and the right thumb doing all the actions like hitting, jumping and using special moves,
With that being said I would still rather use a D-pad to control He-Man or She-Ra, but I’ll take what I can get here as He-Man games in the past have been average at best.
The music in the game is very “Filmationesque” though it isn’t quite the same. There may have been a possibility with them not getting the rights, but it is close enough to “feel” like He-Man.
If you’re a child of
the 80s and want a nostalgia fix then you could do worse than spend 99c for a trip back to Eternia. The controls are intuitive, the game guides you when needed and it’s He-Man and She-Ra!! It’s fun!! The only other criticism I can level at this game would be the reminders you get if you don’t play the game for a while.
With that said you could probably turn it off.
Final rating – 90% – A fun game, the controls are better than most iOS games but not perfect. Of course I just have to give it extra points for nostalgia!!