Since it’s in the title that One Punch Man is a hero that nobody knows, allow me to introduce you. Known also as Saitama, he’s a superhero that has the power to defeat any enemy with, you guessed it, a single punch. Because of this extraordinary ability, he’s grown bored with fighting but still holds hope that one day he’ll find a worthy opponent. So how do you build a game around this premise? Well, the approach the developers took was to use the titular character sparingly.
Instead, you’ll create a hero from the ground up. You’ll decide what their face looks like, how their hair is styled, what clothes they wear, and even the sound of their voice. There’s not a lot of options to choose from initially, but over time you’ll be able to freshen up their look by purchasing items at the local clothing store in town, which has new threads coming in regularly.
Once you’ve completed the makeover, be prepared to fight a lot because there are plenty of villains, known as monsters, to take out. Almost every story mission involves a fight with a monster. A monster is destroying the town, fight them. A monster is attacking civilians, fight them. A monster stole a woman’s purse, fight them. Winning battles earns you ability points that you can use to improve your hero’s attributes, currency to purchase items, and if the Hero Association sanctioned the fight, you’ll receive credits that increase your Hero Rank.
The fights are in an arena-style setting and feature traditional mechanics. At your disposal is a punch attack, kick attack, throw, and block. You’ll also have a power move that dishes out a bit of damage when you fill a meter. It might sound simple, but there is some depth here. For example, hitting the block button at the right time will get you the drop on your opponent so you can chain together combos and bring the pain. You will also eventually unlock the ability to use weapons, which opens up an entirely new fighting style that you can select and become proficient in if you choose to.
A unique twist to the mechanics is other heroes showing up mid-fight to lend a hand. In some battles, when you’re throwing down fisticuffs, you’ll see a picture in picture image of a hero on their way to join in on the fight. Chaining combos together will speed up their arrival time, and once they’ve made their grand entrance, you’ll be able to swap them in and out freely. You might even recognise some of the heroes from the One Punch Man series, including Genos, Stinger, and Tank-Top Master.
Another unique aspect is that you’re not expected to win every single fight. Some monsters you’ll face are stronger than you, and so your mission is to survive the onslaught until a more powerful hero arrives. This is when Saitama tends to show up, and you get to experience his one-punch power. For a second or two.
When you need a break from all the fighting, you can roam the streets, search for items, redesign your living space, and complete side quests for civilians. However, this is the less satisfying side of One Punch Man. The side quests are bland and generally require you to run from one location for a handoff and back to the quest giver. There are also a few technical issues. The frame rate drops regularly, and characters tend to appear several seconds after you arrive at their location on the map.
One Punch Hero is a decent fighting game, but unfortunately, it’s not much more than that. The fighting can get a little repetitive after you get the hang of it, and there’s not much else that will keep you interested. While you may not get as bored as Saitama does with defeating enemies, you’ll wish the game packed a little more punch.