A kidnapped stuffed toy, a plucky protagonist with a cardboard helmet, and a fantasy world accessed through the gaping doors of a bedroom closet: for the first thirty seconds or so, My Little Hero has the makings of a real charm offensive. For the next twenty minutes, in fact, you’ll probably be beguiled and entertained, enjoying the smart virtual controls, the knitwear enemies, and combat that comes with the one-two-three rhythms and hefty knockbacks of the early Zeldas. After that, however, things start to stagnate. Beyond these early pleasures, there’s little here except monotony.
My Little Hero breaks the central rule of all good action-adventures: it doesn’t really take you anywhere. Sure, the backdrops change, the occasional new enemy’s introduced, and you’ll even collect a variety of gadgets, from a flashlight that’s good for exploding gnats to a slingshot that’s handy with certain switches. The problem is that none of it actually makes much difference to what you’re doing. A shift in art assets may send you wandering from forest to desert to gloopy swamp, but you’re still faced with the same meandering levels filled with backtracking and combat bottlenecks, and you’re still stuck in a campaign that’s tediously reliant on pressure plates and shifting walkways.
Cheap bosses and stingy save points ensure that it’s a drag as well as a bore, while a handful of crash bugs do very little to improve proceedings. My Little Hero’s greatest charm is its air of sweet innocence, perhaps, but in truth this adventure is primitive rather than childlike.