Written by Daikon

Indie Tsushin 2023 August issueThis article was featured in our 2023 August issue. Check out more articles and interviews in the full issue.

Title screen of 7DAYS HEROES

The movies that I watched as a child about going on grand adventures, like E.T. and the Goonies, really stuck with me throughout the years. Even when I watch them again now as an adult, they still ignite my childlike wonder at the world. I of course have never witnessed anything supernatural like from these movies, but I do have some experience going on adventures. I grew up building secret bases in the woods, journeying to neighboring towns, and making lifelong friends. These old movies still have that power to transport me back to my childhood. And playing games, naturally, has that same effect on me.

Screenshot of 7DAYS HEROES of reaching out towards the screen in a cutscene

"The people who were invaded by nanomachines lost their minds, and reverted to their natural wild instincts."

7DAYS HEROES by Akira Abe, a solo developer making games under the name studioBBQ, is an action-platformer that tells the story of three children and their pet dog, all of them in possession of special abilities. They face down hordes of zombies in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by nanomachines. They must help and support each other as they escape from the research facility where they were raised and search for the truth behind the zombie outbreak.

Screenshot of a campfire glowing in a dark and creepy forest with the four kids standing nearby.

The lighting effects in this game look beautiful and haunting.

The game uses 2D pixel art with chibified characters set in a large, expressive world. The character designs are cute, lovable, and easily distinguishable. I enjoyed watching them leap and bound through the post-apocalyptic yet colorful world. There are more than 30 stages, and players can use a wide variety of play styles by mixing and matching item loadouts and character skills. During play, the characters move in a very bouncy and expressive way, and the controls feel smooth and comfortable. The music also left a strong impression, creating an atmosphere that was both tense and heartrending. It captures the tension of the characters fighting together against unimaginable odds.

Screenshot of 7DAYS HEROES of the four kids climbing up a huge stairway on the side of a pyramid.

The non-active players bounce alongside the player up the stairs. It's pretty funny to watch.

One distinctive feature of the game is the way your non-active party members are programmed to try and keep up with the player. The player is always in control of one of four characters, and the other three are essentially bots that follow simple instructions such as following the player or waiting in place. The player must guide all of the characters through the stages, swapping between them as needed to use their unique abilities, and aim to reach the goal with everyone in tow. This can be quite challenging at times as guiding all four characters at once through various obstacles can be tricky. But these challenges are the essence of the game, and the player will want to see the full party reach the next area together.

Screenshot of 7DAYS HEROES of a huge blue bear holding a scythe standing in front of the children in a laboratory.

"BLUE KUMA: Killer Stuffed Toy Machine"

Let's take another look at the story.

The main characters are children with superhuman powers who grew up in a laboratory. There, an AI brain called MAI researches humans and collects data on the children. The main characters were raised to think of MAI as their mother. The inciting incident is of MAI going berserk, and our four main leads must escape from the lab and confront their new reality.

Screenshot of 7DAYS HEROES of a purple egg-shaped object with a pouting face. It is surrounded by yellow orbs of nanomachines.

"MAI released the incomplete nanomachines to collect data on humanity in order to quickly complete its research."

The story of 7DAYS HEROES is as exciting as other movies and comics about superhuman children going on grand adventures. However, these children are destined to confront and overcome the hardships of the world from which they had been shielded. In these circumstances, even if you had something like psychic powers to defeat your enemies, you would probably be weighed down by anxiety and fear over what you may find waiting ahead of you.

Screenshot of final stage select of the game with all four characters sitting around a campfire. The title reads 'LAST DAYS'

Preparing for the final showdown...

And so 7DAYS HEROES is not just a story about superhuman children, but more importantly, of their friendship. Your friends can be a powerful help, and sometimes a hindrance. For this reason, the player must swap between them to compensate for the children's incomplete mastery over their own powers. There is a sense of dread over what the children will learn about the hidden truth of their world. The anxiety that the characters feel as they approach their goal is a huge obstacle that they must overcome, and so must encourage each other and work together until the very end.

Screenshot of 7DAYS HEROES of an enormous golden phoenix flying across the screen over a rail bridge.

Fighting the Phoenix on a train!!

I have no magical powers. I don't have any special abilities like these kids. I've never met a zombie, either. But I can understand the feeling of cherishing your friends, and it's something I have always cherished. I think the appeal of this game is that by facing difficulties together as this plucky group of children, you can reexperience that feeling even as an adult.

Get 7DAYS HEROES on Steam and iOS (coming soon). Follow Akira Abe on Twitter @bbq_studio. And you can watch us play 7DAYS HEROES on stream!