Hero Smash

Common Sense Media says

Free, punny MMO lets kids be both superheroes and villains.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's a balance between positive and negative messages in this game as players can choose to be Super Heroes and work for the good guys, or Super Villains and work for the bad guys.

Positive role models

In-game character Mentors are both male and female and all skin tones, whether they are good guys or the bad guys, and all encourage kids to do well.

Ease of play

Everything is accomplished with mouse clicks in the game, and a tutorial walks players through the various user interface displays.

Violence

Like many MMOs, kids have to kill things to advance in this game. There is no blood or gore, however, and violence is represented by cartoon zaps of lightning, flames or smoke, but there are fanciful swords and knives as well as various guns, and the sound of gunfire and "whoosh" of magic. 

Sex

Although there are clothing like bikini tops that can be purchased for female characters, the characters are stylized in the manga Chibi-style with oversized heads and straight bodies and limbs with no details.

Language

Language is suitable for kids of ten on up with some mild "smack" talk with no swear words, although like all Artix games, there are very bad puns that may have to be explained. 

Consumerism

The game is monetized by subscriptions or micro-transactions but players only encounter it when they run across a premium item or quest that requires cash to unlock.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor safety issues: Kids under the age of 13 are automatically locked to the "kid-safe" server where only menu-chat is usable. For teens 13 and older, open chat servers have a default language filter that cannot be disabled and players can report inappropriate behavior.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hero Smash is a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) where kids create and customize their Super Heroes (or Villains). They take on missions that mostly require that they kill things with various powers and weapons. It is web-based, so there isn't any download or installation required or purchase of software. Parents also need to know that the game can be played for free but that it has paid components as well.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In HERO SMASH, kids start by rescuing someone from the evil Dr. Purple in the tutorial, but can decide to help either Heroes or Villains in any part of Super City as well as some more or less neutral missions (many of which require you to kill things).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Hero Smash allows quite a bit of free-form play as there are hundreds of different costume pieces kids can obtain as rewards by simply playing the game (some are amusing helms that resemble the creature they got them from). There is no advantage to playing either Hero or Villain and no real drawback to playing a mission or two for the other side, although kids do build up Good or Evil points.

Unlike many other MMOGs, characters aren't locked into a certain role, as kids can buy and equip any power and weapon they choose. Although buying a subscription opens up a great deal more content, kids playing the free game will also find a lot to do. Team play is as simple as several kids fighting a powerful monster at the same time as each player receives experience and items individually.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Internet safety. Why do we not share our real names and where we live with other kids we meet online? How do you know they are also kids?

  • Families can also talk about setting computer limits. How much time is too much? What is eye-strain and why do we need to rest our eyes or look at things from different distances?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:Free / $9.95 monthly / microtransaction
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Artix Entertainment
Release date:July 8, 2011
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
ESRB rating:NR for Not Rated (Mac, Windows)

This review of Hero Smash was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byCloudySkiesSOS December 23, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Not as good as it used to be.. very unsafe

I've been playing Herosmash for 2 years now. Once the chat and Non-Chat servers merged, many players have quit because older players have been bullying others. Children should not play this game because most players use bad language. I as a player have been directing new players around the game to ensure their safety. Players above age 17 have been stalking and bullying me, and I have even been told to kill myself. And I am 14. People in Herosmash are no longer aware that younger players play the game.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Educator and Parent Written byTheOriginalFive September 15, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Peer Pressures for Villainy.

Despite the plot of the game supposedly encouraging heroes, a section of the game's storyline involves the heroic Demolicious' defeat at the hands of the villain Luigi daVinci. This happened because of a glitch that was exploited by dishonest players during the decisive battle in the early stages of the game. (A player at the time of this review can no longer change the results of the battle.) Due to this, many players flocked to the villains' side, and a vicious cycle began. While the game obviously doesn't make wickedness an exemplary path, many players on the villains' side may encourage new players to join them as the playerbase of villains is much more powerful than that of the heroes. Parents can take the opportunity given by the events of the game to discuss peer pressure with their children, and how one can resist following the crowd if this is not what they wish to do. Otherwise, parents have to tell kids that villainy is not cool in the real world, despite what a virtual world may imply.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old July 27, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

awesome game!!!!

It is an awesome game!!! but, like 7 or 6 year olds might cry about when they lose a battle or somthing.but, besides that it's pretty much one of the best games i've played.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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