Friday, March 31, 2017

Has-Been Heroes Review (Nintendo Switch)

Written by Philip Rodriguez (Ipe Fosho)

Developer: Frozenbyte
Publisher: GameTrust
Genre: Action, Rougelike, Strategy
Price: $19.99
Also Available On: PS4, Xbox One and PC.

-This review may contain spoilers.-
*HBH – Has-Been Heroes
*PvZ – Plants vs. Zombies
*House of Pain – rapper
*Dark Souls – Another unforgiving game
*Super Mario Bros 3 - Awesome

I was provided a review copy of Has-Been Heroes for Nintendo Switch. The feeling of excitement where you’re ahead of the game before the general public - like broken street date. My only knowledge of the game is when Nintendo did the Treehouse demonstration in January. I said to myself, “Great, a mobile game for Switch” next game please. I did not even finish the presentation because it doesn’t seem interesting to me. Now that I played it, let’s find out if my outlook for this game has changed.

Has-Been Heroes is a roguelike strategic adventure from Forzenbyte. The developer of Trine series. You start the game with prologue that serves as tutorial. Your only character is the lone rogue waiting for the other has-been heroes to arrive. The tutorial shows you basic commands – attacking the enemy, stamina/life depletion, using skills/magic, lane and map movements. When prologue is done, you start a new game and the adventure begins. Well, it’s not really an adventure because your task is to guide two princesses to school. Yup, going to school is dangerous during medieval times. The three chaperones - warrior, monk and rogue are distinct. Warrior is good for the final kill, Monk is great for dealing with enemy stamina and Rogue has multiple combination attacks.

HBH* gameplay is uncommon. The game is brutal…..I kid you not. Similar to PvZ* (Plants vs. Zombies), enemies walk from right to left towards the defense. On the offense, there are three lanes to recognize for each heroes. These lanes correspond to a specific button mapped on your controller. The learning curve is tricky even after I completed prologue. It took me 2 hours to get comfortable. I actually deleted my save file and restarted from the beginning. Damn shame.

HBH difficulty is “Insane in the Membrane” [kudos to House of Pain*]. This is the Dark Souls* of a tower defense game; unforgiving, unkind and severe. Enemy AI difficulty is unbalanced most of the time. Boss battle is even cruel and cheap. You will die – a lot. It only takes one hero to be defeated and then you’ll start a new game. When the game is over, the heroes go to heaven meeting St. Peter (old man) and he collects the souls you earned during battle. These souls are then traded into items for in-game collection. New item appears randomly on the merchant’s store or treasure for use. Since the characters do not level up, you’ll have to watch your stamina/health and strategically place acquired item/skill on each hero. As for the map, it is laid out similar to Super Mario Bros 3*. You navigate using the right analog stick, and press R to move. The stage is random and the battleground is generic.

What I’m here to tell you that this isn’t a game for all gamers. Relentless difficulty, condensed tutorial, confusing controls makes Has-Been Heroes tough to recommend to mainstream. But despite all these cons I kept coming back to play the game. The challenge is intriguing. The more I play, the more I learn how to fight effectively.

Did my outlook for this game changed? The answer is, yes. I have never played something like this before, even on mobile. The gameplay is unique and fresh albeit repetitive. I want to see the next boss battle. I want that skill. I want that item. And most of all I want to take the two princesses to their school. Because education is important…….*drops mic*

Score: 3.5/5