Frozenbyte’s Has Been Heroes is a lane-switching, turn-based action platformer which sees you rotate between three ageing heroes. Too over-the-hill for the exciting, interesting, accomplishing adventures the games prologue boasts, the Crown has charged our team the with the more pensioner befitting tedium of handling the school run, ergo, taking the royal kids to school.
If it sounds dull and repetitive, it very much is. What is difficult to ascertain is whether the game is being deliberately obtuse or if I’m simply bad at it.
Has Been Heroes strengths lie in it’s challenge. It loves throwing enemies at you and as you navigate the world map collecting potions and skills from various traders and doing battle, the game forces you to think practically about the direction you take, making each turn a risk. Another positive is the animation. It’s cartoony and fun, with quirky sound effects and heroes have nostalgic Age of Empires style murmurs.
The turn based action can be rewarding if not infuriating. There is repetition of Freemium quality on display here and success lies in the ability to adequately combine spells and rotational attacks; lining up hero moves one after the other to deliver devastating blows to the evil skeletal horde.
As a roguelike when one of your heroes die, the game is over, which is quite annoying and again feels Freemium and arcade, but it adds to HBH’s challenge so maybe there’s something here for Dark Souls fans. The music too after a while begins to grate playing the same thing over and over again.
There are some good ideas in Has Been Heroes, but the steep learning curve and it’s sometimes pointless difficulty make it an experience you don’t want to repeat. The spoils you do take from each run, if any are generally underwhelming and don’t satisfy the amount of time you end up chugging away at it.
It can take hours to even manage to get to a boss and when you do, it’s very easy to have no idea what you’re up against and you can be overrun in no time, undoing what could have been a solid 30 minutes of lead up. Character augmentation does a little to make you feel better about wasting your life on Has Been Heroes, but only just.
All in all, the few good bits of sparkle can’t cover the fact that Has Been Heroes just isn’t really all that fun.
Has Been Heroes is available on Switch, PS4, XBox and PC.