Has-Been Heroes

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Has-Been Heroes Game Poster Image
Very difficult adventure has frustrating, random gameplay.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Although light on story, there's still a message that no person is ever past their prime, is always capable of doing good deeds.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The heroes, despite no longer being legends of old, still try to hold on to heroic qualities of their pasts.

Ease of Play

Controls never feel natural, game design is confusing, pure luck is more important than skill, difficulty combined with permadeath is completely unforgiving.


Violence is persistent, with players using variety of medieval weapons, magical spells to take on hordes of monsters, creatures nonstop. Damage shown with flashes of light, hit counters, defeated characters falling over, disappearing. Some weapons show bits of blood on them.


Lots of silly jokes, but nothing offensive. Occasional use of "damned."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Has-Been Heroes is a downloadable rogue-like fantasy-action game. Players control three heroes fighting nonstop through hordes of skeletons, monsters, and other creatures while trying to protect the king's princesses. The game, though light on story, features themes of teamwork and heroism even over time. There's plenty of violence but very little blood. The high difficulty, unforgiving permadeath penalty, and awkward controls can make playing frustrating for some gamers.

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What's it about?

In HAS-BEEN HEROES, players journey forth as the Band of Epic Heroes, a group of legendary adventurers who, in their heyday, overcame every obstacle, defeated every foe, and tackled every quest they came in contact with, all in the name of their king. Of course, that was then, and this is now. These days, the intrepid crew of former legends is reduced to glorified babysitters, escorting the King's daughters to school. But even this seemingly mundane task is no cakewalk. It turns out that dark forces are gathering to threaten the kingdom once again, and that includes taking the princesses captive to bend the king to their will. Now it's up to these heroes of old to take up arms and test their mettle, saving their kingdom and proving once and for all that they're anything but has-beens.

Is it any good?

While there's something to be said about "growing old gracefully," there's nothing graceful about these aged adventurers in their confusing, convoluted last hurrah. The game is a jack of all trades but a master of none. It tries to combine the lane defense of a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) with the nonstop action of an endless runner. Toss in the procedural randomness of a rogue-like dungeon crawler and the tactics of a turn-based strategy, and you start to get what the developers had in mind. The problem is, none of these pieces come together in any coherent manner. Instead, the whole thing is a jumbled mess.

One of the fun things about games, especially difficult games, is the feeling you get when you overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. You feel like you've learned something and improved your overall skills. The problem here is that too much of the game is based on luck instead of skill. One minute you might breeze through a few rooms before facing down a wave of foes that easily overpower you in the next. You might luck out and find some cool items to use, but you have no idea who's best suited to use it. Worst of all, you might stumble into a boss fight you never got a chance to prepare for. And since defeat equals permadeath, you'll end up having to start the whole thing over again … and again … and again. Plus, since each instance is randomly generated, you don't even get a chance to learn from your mistake, assuming you even made one to begin with. Has-Been Heroes isn't so much a challenge but rather a string of bad luck.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in gaming. Does the cartoonish style and fantasy nature of games like Has-Been Heroes make the violence more acceptable? Does it have less of an impact without the gore?

  • Talk about age and what growing older means. What are some of the responsibilities we face as we grow older? Do you think a person is ever "too old" for adventure and making the most out of life?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love challenges

Themes & Topics

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