Ludicrously Stupid Fun
Did you say Rugby Football?
It's probably one of the simplest rugby games in existence. You single handily command a lone player who as to run the ball in from end of the pitch (erroneously called a “try zone” - more about the lack of rugby knowledge later.) However, instead of cheering with your teammates and getting ready to take a conversion, you carry on running through the “try zone” and onto another pitch and try and do the same thing again. All that stands in your way are an ever increasing number of defenders (of different speeds and sizes) who attempt to tackle you and literally pummel you in to the ground along with early era Batman clouds of smoke and bleeped out expletives.
That is literally the entire game.
To control your lone man (who you should be starting to feel sorry for) you just slide your finger over the screen enabling him to cut all kinds of angles to evade would be tacklers (or assaulters, depending on your legal outlook). There's no kicking, side stepping or hand offs, just trying to slide your player through the narrow gaps of the defenders. To that end, this is no easy game. At first you abide by the principle of “just hug the touchline” but given that you can't see where the defenders are spaced out on the pitch you only succeed by reacting to what's right in front of you. Fortunately, the makers have opted to create a wide pitch (probably the most rugby accurate part of the game) that gives you the opportunity to hunt for space and make some breaks.
Release Date: 22/11/2015
Available on: iOS, Android
There is one addition to the gameplay that is certainly a first for rugby games: the Matrix slow-mo. An energy bar at the top of the screen signifies how much of this special ability you have (it returns very quickly) and allows you to slow time down to help you squeeze past the enemy. Now, obviously we've all wanted that Matrix ability from time to time and it stands to reason that it would be useful in Rugby as well. Personally, it's not that useful. Once activated, the screen turns black (because everything goes black in slow motion obviously) and your man gets an extra half second to make a decision. But you succeed and fail on this game on the basis of learned skill and luck; there isn't really anything other than practice and a natural affinity with arcade games that will help you out.
Genetically Modified Grass
So we've already established that this isn't a normal rugby game. However, it's also a very weird looking rugby game. If I was to say, “What colour is grass?” you'd hurriedly try and think of how you were being duped/mocked. Ask the makers of Rugby Hero and the answer is simple: it's yellow (and sometimes brown). It doesn't matter to the game play, but it's not nice to look at.
Further bizarre additions to this game are the cheerleaders. Not only is it odd seeing cheerleaders at a rugby match but to have them standing behind you on the pitch, waving in unison as you start your dash to the try line, is really odd. In effort to incorporate some level of realism you can purchase national team's kits if you score enough points but who's really in this for that?
One final bizarre addition to this game. The ball: it's not a rugby ball. It's an American Football. Why does that matter? It doesn't, but it is really confusing, almost as if the game makers didn't know what rugby was and weren't allowed to look on google before they made it. In short, the look of Rugby Hero is pure arcade gaming that bears only the slightest resemblance to the game's title.
It looks odd, it makes no sense and it has cheerleaders. However, Rugby Hero is difficult and that makes it fun. Sure, the almost constant adverts are rather maddening and you sometimes feel like people who've never heard of rugby might come away thinking it's a weird version of American Football, but it's a solid little arcade game that gives a gamer a good challenge on the bus ride home.
Rugby Hero is developed by Reliance Games.