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Has-Been Heroes Review – Has Been Enough

Has-Been Heroes Review – Has Been Enough


So, guess who played his first ever roguelike game? This guy! Guess who got so frustrated he hasn’t turned his Nintendo Switch on in over a fortnight? Yup, this guy! I got my hands on Has-Been Heroes and if I could reach into the Switch and strangle the game I would! Thinking about it as I’ve been planning my review has gotten my back up and I’m annoyed at myself, at the game and the people who made it! What did I ever do to them?!

Has-Been Heroes from Frozenbyte and published by GameTrust is fantasy based roguelike title, blending strategy and rpg elements. That sounds so good on paper (or computer screens), I mean come on! Who doesn’t love tactical fantasy games? Still, it was the trailer and the games visuals that caught my eye in the first place. I liked what it had to offer and I was keen to dip my toe into the roguelike genre. How naive I was! I was vastly unprepared for what was to come.

Has It Been Done Before?

The game’s story revolves around three heroes, two of whom are dragged out of retirement, on a quest to escort two young princesses to school. That’s it! That’s all there is! The story unfortunately doesn’t see much more development than that (I could be wrong here, I couldn’t finish the game). The game doesn’t take itself seriously (at least in terms of its narrative) and there’s a poor smattering of jokes and one-liners served up to tie it all together. I was disappointed. Has-Been Heroes could have gone into full pun overdrive and completely off the wall for the laugh but it never really goes anywhere, unfortunately.

Disappointing but not that frustrating… the frustration would follow though.

Visually the game pops with colour and some nice fighting animations. It certainly is in tone with the story. On the Switch handheld it had a nice gloss to it but it played a little easier while docked or at least I had convinced myself it did.

Rest In Permadeath

I’m the first to put my hands up here and say the game beat me and I am not ashamed. I’ll also be the first to jump to a challenge, I love to be tested and I hate to lose. While I’m probably not cut out for the roguelike genre, this wasn’t all down to my own lack of skill. I got the premise of gameplay. Utilising three characters and their skills to wittle down encroaching enemies, eliminating defense, reducing stamina and destroying health. Sure, it felt a little clunky at times but after the first few goes, I’d settled in to the three button controls. Attacking, swapping and attacking. Casting spells and engaging skills to push back and defeat the waves of skeletons.

Just when I thought I’d gotten the hang of it, I had my first boss encounter. It took a few a LOT of attempts to even get to this point and I figured I was going to lose to him the first few tries. I was correct in my assumption; I never beat the Bandana Skeleton boss. Frustrated, I put the game down and fired up some Link Between Worlds to play something else but I eventually returned. This time round I encountered a different boss (after a few more attempts to reach him); the Butterfly Skeleton. He went down like a… well… like an actual butterfly, they’re super weak. I had achieved the unachievable, I had mastered the game! Oh! Wait, no not quiet! The next stage and the first wave, an unstoppable army of skeletons ploughed through my heroes.

Back to square one but with some new items added to my arsenal. Hours later and I grew full of utter contempt for the game.

It wasn’t the permadeath element that was getting to me.

Rinse And Repeat

It was the sheer randomness of it all. I could play away and feel like the whole thing was going my way and die at the Bandana Skeleton. I’d be a few hits away from defeating him only to be overcome by the hordes of spawning skeletons. I could start a new game and barely cross two spaces on the stage before succumbing to the helter-skelter waves. It all got too much and I abandoned my quest after about 20 hours of play. I’m not going to cry about the game being too hard, or make excuses about clunky controls and mechanics.

I just couldn’t stand the repetitiveness or rather than erratic repetitiveness. Those 20 hours might not sound like a whole lot in the grand scheme of things but for what I had invested in the game I’d gotten very little in return. It felt like a waste.

I was done! I’ve had enough of Has-Been Heroes to know it’s not for me!