A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.