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Published on December 28th, 2009 | by Cameron Woolsey

8

Indie Review: Herman the Game

Release Date: December 11, 2009
Developer: Dirge Game Studio
Platform: Xbox 360

Poor Herman just can’t get a break. Realizing the pointlessness of his life he decides to quit his job and start anew with his girlfriend. How nice. Unfortunately his fellow coworkers get word of his decision and decide that they just couldn’t imagine a day in their sad desk-jockey lives without their bald Gumby-like associate and so they try and convince him otherwise by simply bludgeoning him to death. Thus begins Herman’s epic journey to escape the office building of doom.

Herman The Game begins telling its story in a manner that clearly copies from Braid, another game that featured an unlikely hero searching for a better life with his significant other. Unfortunately, that is where the influence ends and the game becomes a 2D platformer in which the player runs, jumps, climbs ladders, and throws um…tangerines at enemies. There are 25 seemingly randomly generating levels that shift ladders and file cabinets around a series of platforms. The generator also places chickens on pedestals which increase your health bar when you take damage and bowls of tangerines with add to your ammo meter. Enemies will run around the level and attack you with objects of varying degree such as bowling balls, red staplers (I think), and more.

Your job as Herman is to navigate the labyrinth of ladders and platforms to make it to a final door that leads to the next level while throwing tangerines at your blood thirsty coworkers which causes them to burst into flames and die. I guess there won’t be a farewell party. There are also glowing boxes littering the level that you can pick up to earn tokens that you can trade in for items in the shop that appears between levels. These items are used to increase your survival and vary between a derby, which prevents enemies from hitting you as often, to track shoes that allow you to run through the level faster, which is something I suggest you purchase right away or suffer Herman’s slow, shuffling, aggravating run speed.

For the most part, everything prior mentioned could translate into a simple but enjoyable game that could be enjoyed as a quick time killer. The developer, Dirge Game Studios, promises a long game with a brilliant story, professional music, and levels that are challenging and fun. Really? Well let’s start with that. The story is about as brilliant as you can get that includes a green blob-like man who decides he hates his office job and decides to run away and eventually just ends up playing a guitar on a beach. It’s a strange escapist fantasy that serves to do nothing more than serve as an excuse to hurl fruit at people driving race cars in a half-mile long office building (don’t think about that last part too hard). I was able to breeze through the game at normal difficulty in a little over an hour. The game includes five different difficulty modes but I didn’t feel too inclined to try the game again at a harder difficulty. The music itself varies from OK to decent.

I did find myself enjoying some of the piano solos but overall I didn’t find myself humming any of the tunes after I finished the game. The challenge level itself spikes from level to level. Some are too easy and I was able to pass by without too much challenge. Other levels are harder, but are they challenging? Finding myself trying to decide whether I should take damage from the five race cars revving their engines and getting ready to charge me or by jumping to avoid the cars only to have my face ripped off by four airplanes flying toward me, both options would end up killing me in a fraction of a second, isn’t challenging. It just sucks.

Near the end of the game I found myself just trying to run through the vast horde of enemies that came my way instead of trying to fight them off. Fighting women on flying hoverboards assaulting me with potato guns while trying to dodge bowling balls, race cars, exploding people, and some guy trying to shoot rockets up my ass ultimately pissed me off more than providing a decent challenge. Though I suppose playing the same level five or six times over waiting for the right randomly placed conditions that would allow me passage while trying not to turn the console off could be a challenge in itself.

I can admit though that in some levels where the music was at its peak and the fights were fast and legitimately challenging, I caught myself having some fun. The game isn’t without its merits and besides the stuff I didn’t enjoy, I discovered that Herman really isn’t all that bad of a game and it has a quirky sense of humor about itself that I enjoyed. It’s functional and colorful and the unique art was always interesting to look at, though most of it just consisted of actual pictures with the people filled in as green blobs. The game really reminds me of classic games from back in the heyday of the NES and Genesis where the storyline didn’t matter so much as how fun the game was to play; Herman takes that old tradition and modernizes it. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick thrill then I suggest picking up Herman, but don’t expect it to live up to the “hype.”

[xrr label=”Rating: 6/10″ rating=6/10]

You can buy the Herman soundtrack and t-shirts at the company website here: http://www.hermanthegame.com/

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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit



  • fuzz

    This is a fine enough review. I know we totally f'ed up by sending our rah-rah press release to small sites, when it was designed for places like Gamespot, etc. Anyway, as far as hype, I'm thinking what hype? Everybody wants to hate this game for some reason. There is no hype.

    I am retiring from the game business. After spending 1000 hours pouring my heart into something and getting a big turd of non-love back from the public, I just don't care to do anything anymore. But I do want to point out that some others have had some high praise for my game, and I'd like to list some of those comments here, on my way out of the door.

    The background pictures are amazing. Some of them look like abstract art. – diehardgamefan

    It's an indie game that is so ballsy and ridiculous – diy

    it had one of the better tracklists I’ve ever heard on an XBLIG game, and, believe me, I’ve played a lot of XBLIG games – diy

    most people won’t give Herman five minutes of their time before casting it aside. It really is a shame too – diy

    Herman has a lot going for it. – zeboyd

    If there was ever a soundtrack available, I’d recommend giving it a listen. – xboxhornet

    After fully playing it, you know the game has huge potential. – xboxhornet

    The story and music alone are already great.- xboxhornet

    One of the best parts about Herman is the enemies in the game. – diy

    The music is amazing. The music for Herman is very, very well done. – diehardgamefan

    The controls are well done – diehardgamefan

    Herman is often very funny – diehardgamefan

    This is a solid indie title – diehardgamefan

    If your looking for new and innovative ideas coming from Xbox Live Indie Games, then I suggest giving Herman a good look. – SFX360

    Granted, no one loves the game completely like I do, but whatcanyado. Later on. I'm going to go sell crap on Ebay and play some guitar on the beach.

    Todd, creator of Herman

  • fuzz

    This is a fine enough review. I know we totally f’ed up by sending our rah-rah press release to small sites, when it was designed for places like Gamespot, etc. Anyway, as far as hype, I’m thinking what hype? Everybody wants to hate this game for some reason. There is no hype.

    I am retiring from the game business. After spending 1000 hours pouring my heart into something and getting a big turd of non-love back from the public, I just don’t care to do anything anymore. But I do want to point out that some others have had some high praise for my game, and I’d like to list some of those comments here, on my way out of the door.

    The background pictures are amazing. Some of them look like abstract art. – diehardgamefan

    It’s an indie game that is so ballsy and ridiculous – diy

    it had one of the better tracklists I’ve ever heard on an XBLIG game, and, believe me, I’ve played a lot of XBLIG games – diy

    most people won’t give Herman five minutes of their time before casting it aside. It really is a shame too – diy

    Herman has a lot going for it. – zeboyd

    If there was ever a soundtrack available, I’d recommend giving it a listen. – xboxhornet

    After fully playing it, you know the game has huge potential. – xboxhornet

    The story and music alone are already great.- xboxhornet

    One of the best parts about Herman is the enemies in the game. – diy

    The music is amazing. The music for Herman is very, very well done. – diehardgamefan

    The controls are well done – diehardgamefan

    Herman is often very funny – diehardgamefan

    This is a solid indie title – diehardgamefan

    If your looking for new and innovative ideas coming from Xbox Live Indie Games, then I suggest giving Herman a good look. – SFX360

    Granted, no one loves the game completely like I do, but whatcanyado. Later on. I’m going to go sell crap on Ebay and play some guitar on the beach.

    Todd, creator of Herman

  • fuzz

    This is a fine enough review. I know we totally f'ed up by sending our rah-rah press release to small sites, when it was designed for places like Gamespot, etc. Anyway, as far as hype, I'm thinking what hype? Everybody wants to hate this game for some reason. There is no hype.

    I am retiring from the game business. After spending 1000 hours pouring my heart into something and getting a big turd of non-love back from the public, I just don't care to do anything anymore. But I do want to point out that some others have had some high praise for my game, and I'd like to list some of those comments here, on my way out of the door.

    The background pictures are amazing. Some of them look like abstract art. – diehardgamefan

    It's an indie game that is so ballsy and ridiculous – diy

    it had one of the better tracklists I’ve ever heard on an XBLIG game, and, believe me, I’ve played a lot of XBLIG games – diy

    most people won’t give Herman five minutes of their time before casting it aside. It really is a shame too – diy

    Herman has a lot going for it. – zeboyd

    If there was ever a soundtrack available, I’d recommend giving it a listen. – xboxhornet

    After fully playing it, you know the game has huge potential. – xboxhornet

    The story and music alone are already great.- xboxhornet

    One of the best parts about Herman is the enemies in the game. – diy

    The music is amazing. The music for Herman is very, very well done. – diehardgamefan

    The controls are well done – diehardgamefan

    Herman is often very funny – diehardgamefan

    This is a solid indie title – diehardgamefan

    If your looking for new and innovative ideas coming from Xbox Live Indie Games, then I suggest giving Herman a good look. – SFX360

    Granted, no one loves the game completely like I do, but whatcanyado. Later on. I'm going to go sell crap on Ebay and play some guitar on the beach.

    Todd, creator of Herman

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  • http://www.azload.com/topic/audi+q5+stasis Esperanza Veron

    i would never buy a car with 200K miles. not an option. many of the anserrs here are dead on, nut this is not like an old diesel mercedes that will run a million miles. just get a diffeent car that doesnt get you so turned on as much if you really need a car and dont have the cash. a smiple, boring, old, ugly civic can take a lot of abuse and keep buckin. jeeps are needy, and although i love em, will not often just drive fine for another 100K. scary thing to buy a car with that many miles for sure

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