FIRST PLAY: Herodes (Switch)

Released May 11, 2023

It is the year 2197. Humanity has never been closer to immortality – there is no disease that can’t be cured, no virus that can’t be defeated. Until now. You will use cutting-edge technology to shrink yourself down and hunt down a new and mysterious virus that can’t be defeated by any other means. Find the source of the disease and destroy it in Herodes!

This First Play review is based on about one hour of game time across 4 different levels and many (many) deaths (but it’s still a good time).

  • MSRP: $4.99
  • Category: 2D pixel art shmup
  • No of Players: 1
  • Multiplayer: n/a
  • Publisher: QUByte Interactive
  • Developer: TecnoloGils
  • Played on: Nintendo Switch
  • Also on: n/a


Herodes’ visuals are 2D pixel-based, with very well crafted environments that make each level truly feel like a different part of the human body. The stage / environment design is actually very impressive, with multiple levels of parallax scrolling, and lots of attention to detail. Your ship and enemies are not quite as good looking and details as the environments, but are still competently designed and look good enough to not be distracting.

The only odd thing about the visual for your ship, is when you turn so you can fire in the opposite direction, but the engine flare continues coming out, even though your ship is moving in the opposite direction. This ends up looking strange and it would have been nice if the flame was more dynamic so that it changed based on the movement of your ship. A small detail but it takes away a bit from the immersiveness of the experience.


The audio in Herodes is generally competant, but nothing to write home about. The ship laser sounds are somewhat standard retro-game fare, but to its credit, not grating or annoying. The music is also similarly fine, and while it doesn’t stand out, it fits the action and doesn’t detract from the experience either.


The controls in Herodes are generally standard shmup (shoot em up) fare, with precise enough movement over your ship to dodge enemy bullets and navigate stages successfully. The actual gameplay, however, is more varied than some indie budget priced shooters, with each stage being assigned to a specific internal organ, and each organ has a different level of difficulty.

Your ship also has a dash/boost function, a bomb that slows enemies down into “bullet time”, and power ups to your ship’s weapons, in addition to the ability to power up other aspects of your ship between stages, like weapons, defense and health.

This ranges from standard levels where you just clear all the enemies, to a stage where you simply have to navigate through various obstacles successfully without dying (and try to shoot all the infections along the way without destroying the organ).

If you want to see some of my gameplay from Herodes, you can check out the video below:


Is Herodes fun to play? Well it’s a bit tough for me since I’m not a big shmup fan, but the interface is interesting, the environments are well designed and the gameplay is varied enough for a budget title that it was certainly fun in the time I spent with it.


In the end, Herodes is a budget-priced title, so your expectations should scale accordingly, and as a budget title it’s a very decent experience, with good looking environments, an interesting plot, multiple ship power ups and a robust level of challenge. For any retro shmup fans who don’t mind an interesting, more casual experience, you should definitely give this game a look.



  • VISUALS: 8
  • AUDIO: 7
  • FUN: 7

If you’re a Retro shmup fan – you should give it a try

If you don’t like shmups in general or retro-styled games you may want to pass on this

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