A Matter of Heist Urgency

by FLACRabbit

Episode 1 of Anastasia the Power Pony

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Action-packed superhero silliness, February 12, 2023
by Lance Cirone (Backwater, Vermont)

A Matter of Heist Urgency has an intriguing genre mash-up of being a heist and a brawler, and one where everyone's a horse. Some ponies, some llamas, some work as pirates while others are knights and superheroes. After some brief detective work to figure out who stole your city's crown jewels, you're off to a desert island to fight a scurvy crew of llamas.

The game's got a nice style with separate "parts," each headlined with some sequenced jazz music. You have a few fights to get through before the end, and the first pits you (and your partner) against a team of three. It introduces the battle mechanics well, where you're discouraged from using the same move against an enemy more than once. RNG determines whether your attacks hit and if you dodge the enemy, but it was generally skewed in my favor, so it felt fair.

There's a scene midway through that convinced me to give this game 4 stars instead of 3. It really impressed me, and it seems to be added in response to earlier reviewer feedback, so I want to highlight it here. Please play the game before reading this part! (Spoiler - click to show)It's a flashback to Anastasia's past as a rainbow factory worker, and how it got sabotaged by a llama. We also learn about her friend's death? I assumed that's what it was. The music score here is astounding, being perfectly timed with the text, growing in intensity as it goes on, and even having some beeping in time with the rainbow meter's explosion. It adds more backstory, it's fun to follow along with, and it's a great attention-grabber after the first battle.

For the pirate battle, there's action set pieces you can take advantage of (with a little thinking) to get rid of certain enemies, guaranteed. Running around the ship, solving puzzles before the llamas could catch up to me, was a surprisingly fast-paced and intense experience. Eventually, I just chose to fight them head-on. The third battle is done in choice format, but has some nice descriptions and visuals. Each one feels dynamic and serves a purpose, so it prevents the game from getting repetitive.

I think the short, punchy nature of this game works in its favor. The wild premise and bite-sized battles make it an easy choice to just jump into and enjoy. In that way, it's like the IF equivalent of a Saturday morning cartoon. The IFDB page and in-game header say that Heist Urgency is the first in a series, and I'd easily play a sequel to this.

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