One of the traditional RPG trademarks is the time-consuming process of leveling up your character. Most have in-depth character development, vast inventory systems, and extended periods of experience grinding. Half-Minute Hero takes these conventions and squeezes them into bite-sized chunks to provide a unique gaming experience.

It's a novel idea for sure, but that doesn't always translate into a solid game. Thankfully, Half-Minute Hero isn't just a gimmick; it's fun. Hero 30, the RPG experience, is definitely the most inspired. From the moment each quest starts, there's no time to spare. Most begin with a brief XP grind, accomplished by quickly wandering the overworld looking for a fight. Once it starts, you sit back and watch as your hero bumps into his enemy over and over until one of you is dead. You'll never interact with these fights unless you're using a healing item or holding circle to hurry the process. After a few of these "battles," you're probably running a bit low on the half-minute clock. This is when it's essential to duck into a nearby town, causing time to stop. You can take a quick breather, buy some healing items, and even pay the "Time Goddess" to reset the clock. Depending on the mission, you may need to obtain a specific item or enlist the help of an NPC to defeat the Evil Lord in the castle. It's usually pretty obvious, as townspeople will blatantly tell you what you need to's just a matter of getting it done on time.

Half-Minute Hero also has three other modes. Dark Lord 30 is essentially an RTS-lite, Princess 30 is a fast-paced shooter, and the Knight 30 segments play like escort missions. Out of these three additional modes, Princess 30 is easily the most entertaining.  Dark Lord and Knight still feature the half-minute gimmick, but it never feels as inspired as the Hero mode.

Half Minute Hero doesn't attempt to deliver a full RPG experience, but fans of the genre will appreciate its sense of humor and the developer’s obvious appreciation of the games it parodies.