It figures. No sooner do I admit to being a closet Xbox 360 addict than a title truly worthy of Wii appears. No More Heroes is in the same instant a glitched out celebration of gaming past and a cleverly different vision for its future. It takes big pixeled icons and cell shaded characters and an 8-bit soundtrack and a deceptively deep wiimote control scheme and somehow emerges with genius. It’s a genius that makes all those disparate elements into a cohesive whole and uses them to blow knowing kisses to those of us who’ve grown up loving videogames. What could fit Wii better? (As champion for what gaming once was and should be again.)
NMH evokes many of the same past perfect memories as Super Paper Mario but, where SPM comes off shiny and polished, NMH continually flies out of left field with its pants around its pixelated ankles, building up macho archetype after macho archetype only to hilariously pull the rug out from under every last one of them (just try recharging your sword). And ultimately it’s walking that fine line between self mockery and serious challenge that gives the game a charm that’s truly special. Well, that and the fact that its lo-fi/hi-fi presentation makes nearly any glitch, accidental or not, seem winkingly intentional.
A friend put it this way: “No More Heroes is a videogame love letter to Jason Ellis.” That pretty much says it. I was in love the moment I got my first phone call. See if you aren’t.
The game is sold out all over Manhattan (I know, I hunted mine down). Clearly, Ubisoft didn’t expect demand for such an offbeat title to be so big. But that’s the hunger of a massive installed base that’s been trudging through shovelware for months. Time will tell how successful NMH is, but its early sales serve as a reminder to developers that Wii is where it’s at. Strawberry on a shortcake!