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Ah, the power of diminished expectations...
Has-Been Heroes, from the folks at FrozenByte (in conjunction with GameStop!), was generally received as a disappointment at the launch of the Switch (although it is multiplatform). Too difficult, too punishing, too opaque, etc.
But the game has seemingly built up a cult audience, and FrozenByte has released several patches to improve (or at least smooth out) the game. Always being open to joining a new cult, I recently picked it up when it hit $10 (from its original $20) at GameStop.
I've gotta say, it's absolutely trounced my diminished expectations! I'm not exactly sure about the genre. It's kind of a lane-based game, like the original Plants Vs. Zombies or Grand Kingdom on the PS4. Is that what a MOBA is? I dunno. But it plays like a tactical board game. And it really IS tactical. I despise most turn-based RPGs because they require no brainpower or strategy whatsoever, but if you don't pay attention while playing Has-Been Heroes, it will absolutely kick your ass. Explaining the mechanics would just be confusing, but I'll just say that winning each battle requires careful deployment of your three heroes and their cooldown-limited moves and specials. The game automatically pauses after each move, but you can play it in a more real-time fashion and even fast-forward time, if you want. The battles and treasure chests and shops are all wrapped up in a fast-moving meta-board game, where you guide your party around a randomly generated map.
Did someone say RANDOMLY GENERATED? Yup, it's a Roguelike! So every game plays out a bit differently. It's difficult, but manageable, once you understand the rules. When you die, you can trace back to the bad decisions which led to your untimely demise. Overall, the roguelike flavoring works very well for this game. It feels pretty fresh. To me, at least.
I've already beaten the game for the first time, but, similarly to The Binding of Isaac, every time you play, new elements are unlocked - New Heroes, Spells, Items, Enemies, Environments, etc. And it feels like I've only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.
Each adventure is a bit too long to call it a pick-up-and-play game, but it definitely seems like a good game to buy digitally on the Switch. (There are no performance problems to speak of, either.)
So, yeah. Has-Been Heroes! I would recommend it for fans of challenging, engaging tactical games. And roguelikes.
I mean, when you think about it, it's not like there are any other engaging tactical games on the Switch to completely overshadow it, right? Right?!
I've always wanted to get this to support FrozenByte's Nintendo support (and because it looks pretty fun, obviously), but I felt like I had too much other stuff going on to be able to give this the appropriate attention. Sadly, my situation isn't exactly better now, so it will probably be a while before I do get it, but one day. One day. It's great reading the impressions; maybe they'll help that day come sooner.
@Anand No, it's a time thing. Despite my backlog I keep buying games that I come across, and I have less and less time to play videogames these days. When it comes to a game like this, which seems to have a good amount of content, I feel kind of bad about getting it if I can't fully appreciate it before jumping onto the next big release or whatever. Because I will do that. I suppose I'm the real problem here.
i picked up the physical version of this a while back as well. i would buy more games like this if more were available physically. i find myself buying fewer and fewer digital games lately. all that said, i still have not played it yet. maybe soon. maybe not.
@Brandon It seems like the price of the media is a detriment to physical releases of smaller indie games. That said, one can pick up Has-Been Heroes for less than the $10 surcharge which often gets added to physical indie games!
Do you ever order stuff from Limited Run Games, btw?
@r_hjort It has a lot of replay value, but more in a "play a bit every day in between sessions of other games" kind of way. It's not really the kind of game you'd want to marathon to 100% completion. In fact, I'll probably pick it up digitally when it goes on sale.
I paid the full $20 for HBH and was happy to do so. I guess Gamestop published the game themselves? Anyway, I don't order from Limited Run Games. I like the idea, but rarely shop online. I like walking into stores and looking at product. I'm part of a dying breed, it seems.
@Brandon You really are! Even though I rarely leave my house to buy things these days, the impending death of retail stores also makes me sad. That said, most of my purchases are probably ordered online for local pickup. So I might be a smaller part of the problem.
But, yeah. Gamestop published this, I believe. Along with Deformers and that Song of the Deep game from Insomniac. A rocky start, to say the least!
@Anand That makes it sound even more appealing to me, but also a bit more complicated since I'm the kind of guy who wants my games in physical form if possible. I'm gonna wear out my Switch's card slot in no time.
I have now beaten it four times (unlocking more stuff each time). Yesterday's successful run was a real nailbiter. The final boss summoned flaming rock dudes, all of my guys were on their last legs, in terms of defense, and my thief had only a sliver of health. I had to use water spells to extinguish the fire and/or nail the timing before he attacked or he would've died instantly. Super tense!