PAX South: 'Has-Been Heroes' Is A Fantasy Rogue-Like With Princesses, Knights And Luchadors

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Three warriors on a noble quest, fighting monsters and gathering loot, all while navigating the King’s precious daughters through hazards to get them to…. school? Has-Been Heroes is a side-scrolling, rogue-like adventure that takes traditional fantasy tropes with a light sense of humor and turns it into the most action packed game I’ve seen so far at PAX South.

Has-Been Heroes is available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and the highly anticipated Nintendo Switch. I was able to try out the Switch version with the Nintendo Pro Controller. The rules of the game are simple: you need to complete eight zones, filled with skeletons and bosses, to get those princesses to school. Each zone is filled with secret loot and traps along with a variety of side-scrolling battles.

The overworld might be fun, but the real fun of Has-Been Heroes is in the encounter battles. In each battle are three lanes, each with a different hero. In the demo, I got to play as a Rogue with swift attacks, a knight that hit like a truck and a wizard who could stun baddies with his staff. There are eight heroes in total, including a luchador that wanted to be an anthropologist and a tiger man that looked way too much like Tigress from Kung Fu Panda.

You switch your heroes to different lanes so that you can combo their attacks together, dodge attacks or things I could never even think of. You need to time your attacks well because your attack meter needs time to recharge after unleashing your fury.

If your attacks aren’t strong enough to defeat foes, you’ll also have spells to aid your quest. Unlike a lot of rogue-like games in this genre, your spells are randomly generated each game. There are over 300 spells available, ranging from frost bolts, to lightning storms to tornadoes. In my demo, I had a spell that could shoot a lightning bolt that arced to all nearby enemies. It seemed pretty powerful.   

Thankfully, Has-Been Heroes doesn’t force you to use all of these attacks, spells and lane swaps in real time. The game pauses whenever you land an attack or press L, which allows you to plan out all your maneuvers before you end up wasting them. Switching between lanes can be done by pressing the X or Y buttons and you attack with A. You can use a spell by pressing R and selecting a spell on the list at the bottom by pressing R again. After the demo, I had the controls down, which is amazing since after playing Overwatch for a year I still can’t get Zarya’s ultimate to hit anything.

Has-Been Heroes has me really excited. It’s one of the many awesomely weird games I’ve seen at PAX South. Get ready to battle skeletons and escort princesses on March 28 for the price of $20.

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