Has-Been Heroes has a unique charm, achieved by unexpectedly combining strategy with a twisted sense of humour. Refreshlingly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but don’t mistake that for an indication its for kids and beginners — if you’re not paying attention, you will be punished.
This combination of turn-based and RTS action takes place 20 years after a group of heroes has finished what they thought was their final mission. The valiant champions come of of retirement to attempt their most dangerous mission yet: escort the Kings’ daughters to school. There are more than just lollipop ladies to worry about on the way, though. The path is blocked of waves of enemies doing their best to make sure the princesses don’t make it to their destination on time.
It takes a little to get the hang of Has-Been Heroes, and while it’s not easy at first, it’s easy to learn. The game is lane-based; the idea, to kill or push back the waves of enemies as they come. You will have to juggle your heroes around the lanes as you go to best manage them, attempting to lower your enemies’ stamina before you attack. These basic ideas are coupled with procedurally-generated maps to offer up an outrageous amount of replay value.
I love the thought that I can keep playing without running out of things to collect. There are over 300 spells and 200 items to obtain in an estimated 300 hours of gameplay before statistically things start to repeat themselves. Amassing new spells and items is the main way you will raise your power to combat the increasingly difficult hordes of enemies. Combining spells from such a huge number will produce new strategies in almost every playthrough.
The difficulty curve ramps up pretty quick but in the early stages everything is obvious. After each attack you land the game will automatically pause and give you a chance to survey the field and devise a strategy. This means you have the option to play the game as slow or as fast as is comfortable. This is definitely a case of a game that’s easy to learn but difficult to master, especially when you consider that when you die you have to start over from the beginning of the game. This may sound tough, but it forces you to learn from your mistakes and improve with each new attempt.
This is the perfect game for the Nintendo Switch — especially if you have a daily commute to deal with. Has-Been Heroes comes out in March, not long after the launch of the Switch itself. With the slim line-up of titles on offer, it will be nice to have one that boasts countless hours of unique gameplay. It’s a simple game that becomes addictive very quickly, and one that I can easily see myself killing time with on the go.
Has-Been Heroes will be available in March on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 and PC.