In late 1982 Mattel fashioned a generic fantasy barbarian with an even more generic name into a children's media goldmine. First came the toys. Then came the cartoon, with its horribly-limited animation. It got so big that in 1987 Dolph Lundgren starred in a live action Masters of the Universe movie. Glitchsoft's He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is better than at least one of those things.
Just in time for the 30th anniversary of He-Man and his cadre of muscle-bound heroes and villains, The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is a side-scrolling beat-em up that's biggest strength is not taking itself too seriously.
Take the premise: Skull-faced villain Skeletor designs a gaming app and invites He-Man over to play. Spoiler: It was a trap, designed to get the heroic dolt out of the way so the forces of evil can advance on Castle Grayskull. He-Man escapes and goes on a rampage, tearing through several real-Eternia locations as Skeletor tosses every resource at his disposal in the warrior's path.
At one point in the game, Skeletor makes reference to underestimating He-Man due to his limited animation. We're having fun here, kids.
In-between the shining moments of Skeletor dropping "fool", "buffoon" and "dolt" bombs we have a fairly capable side-scrolling hack-and-slash affair. The game is split up into bite-sized stages in which He-Man must destroy enemies, collect fan-service lore objects and gather coins used to upgrade powers and moves between battles. In a pinch he can summon the faithful Man-at-Arms for a screen-clearing blaster attack, or call on the fabled Power of Grayskull to bestow upon him the fabulous power of invulnerability.
The simple slashing of endless hordes of Hordak robots, skeletal minions and Snake Men is broken up by some massive boss fights and the odd run-from-the-big-baddie moments, but for the most part He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe is a heaping helping of mindless fun. Hey, it worked 30 years ago.
He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe — $.99 [iTunes]