HeroSmash, inspired by the popular superhero franchise, is a 3D browser-based MMOPRG for teens as well as superhero or supervillain fans of all ages. In it, endless missions lead you into different adventure stories, and diversified PvP combat tests your mettle in solo or team battles. To be a hero or a villain, that’s your question.
Character customization is placed much emphasis to allow everyone to be a unique being in the game, which is displayed clearly in the character creation stage at start. Not only is the usual look and color with quite a few options, there is also diversified choices for equipment including mask, mark, armor, cape and so on. It starts well, and continues to be so, if not better, inside the game where avatars can be further personalized by items collected or purchased.
Entering the game, you are in a crowd, perhaps even blocked by other players to be invisible to yourself, in a new, strange world. Perhaps, you even look around, expecting the usual tutorial NPC to pop up showing you the basics. Surprisingly, there is nobody there to give you a warm welcome by showing you around. It’s lousy to just stand there, so you decide to figure out everything here yourself. Move around, excise attacking, try flying. Then, you notice the motionless figures with yellow exclamation above head – the Blue Wonder introduces H.A.L. droid, by which you can take missions or daily quests; Arctikiller and Dark Vengeance are really salesmen here promoting items bought for real money so as to get their power; and Dumoose introduces you into PvP combat.
Just start with the mission. Designed for teens, quests are like episodes of cartoons full of childlike innocent. You may help the leader of the Aquatian Race to investigate the exploration that disturbs and threatens their life, or invest the suspicious Corporal Building and foil Dr. Insecro’s plan to rob a bank. Many and varied, missions are also labeled with recommended levels for you to refer: you can thrust into a mission suitable for players at Lv. 10-15 which seems interesting, but you will soon realize the interesting task only means disastrous result for a Lv. 3 player.
You can be a super hero, but don’t have to be. It’s personal choice to battle evil or become evil, or be a half-blood. And there is great degree of flexibility how you would like to complete a mission. To stand side by heroes, you can prevent the bank robbery by killing the hooded; to gang with villains, you can also direct your gunpoint toward the armed guards. In a lot of mission, you are offered the good or bad choice – blue star (heroes) or red star (villains) – which doesn’t influence much of gameplay though. Besides, there are times when you are just in neutral position to confront common enemies of both sides, such as the King Zong released to invade the Earth killing civilians, heroes and villains.
Besides missions, you can also try the newly added PvP combat, which is rendered in four different modes as of now, listed as Power Defense, 3v3 Team Brawl, Battle Royale and 1v1 Duel. In Power Defense, you work with teammates to try to defeat opponents of rival team while absorbing more power from the power nodes by simply standing there. In 3v3 Team Brawl, all three members in your team need to try to stay alive and defeat opponents to gain points, more points acquired by killing rivals at or above your level, until one team wins by reaching 1000 points. Battle Royale is in fact a free-for-all match for you to compete against four other combatants, as all of you try to gain most scores by defeating each other. As to duel, you can either pick a particular opponent or enter a blind kill by the matching system, and try to be the only one standing.
HeroSmash is free-to-play, with optional subscription fee and micro-transaction choices. You can’t access to certain missions unless you are a paid VIP member, and you can’t possibly gain super powers, as stated by Arctikiller and Dark Vengeance once you firstly enter the world, if you don’t purchase the superhero T-shirt, Dark Vengeance package or certainly other items for real money. And in Smashdome where you select PvP mode, there are NPCs who can train you into powerful potential champion or boost your performance, only if you purchase enough Smash Coins, PvP gear, powers, token, etc.. Simply put, the path to power is lined with money-bought items.
Just as it allows players to be a half-blood, HeroSmash is a mixed good and bad of itself. It conjures up a superhero city where exciting and interesting missions and PvP take players into endless adventure. However, the reliance on cash shop to become a competitive hero/villain greatly hinders the true free-to-play experience. Moreover, while all its cartoony style, story-driven missions and simple gameplay are designed for kids, it’s not a pure pre-teen with the controversial villain-option and PvP contents.