Strategy and Fantasy
Strategy-battle games are nothing new, but ones of the sort of quality displayed by Hero Academy – Robot Entertainment’s strategy-battler of a turn-based nature – are most certainly a rarity. Covering multiple platforms (iOS, PC, and formerly Android), this is a game that involves an adventure into a world steeped in a blend of fantasy and turn-based strategy. Utilise your own team of players on the game’s chess-like board where the only aim is to destroy the crystals of the opposition before they destroy yours. Rarely do you find a game of this style with such impressive presentation, and that’s before you even take into consideration the sublime multiplayer interface which allows for battles with friends as well as messages to be exchanged between fellow Hero Academy players.
Chess-Like In It's Gameplay
Hero Academy’s gameplay format is reminiscent of a game of chess in that the characters you control fight battles against their enemies on a grid-based battlefield. You face off against the opposing team on this tiled battleground in a multiplayer fashion, only battling against either players of the game, be these strangers you’re matched up with or with fellow friends that enjoy the game as much as you do.
As has been mentioned previously, the aim of every battle is to destroy the enemy’s crystal or crystals before they’re able to decimate yours. You do this by using a combination of moves from your units as well as using a variety of items afforded to you at the beginning of each round. Each round requires that you make five moves which can consist of manipulating and improving your various unit types or utilising items such as spells, health improvements, and also tiles that affect crystal properties or improve your attack potential.
This is a game that’s free to download, and for the most part you can progress just fine without spending your own money. The freemium model rears its head in the opportunity to buy superior teams that go beyond the abilities of the standard human team that you begin with. You can, for example, indulge in the Dark Elves team for a small sum. Additionally, you are able to purchase additional taunts/statements to send to your opponents during/after battles.
Thankfully, Robot Entertainment have ensured that their freemium approach offers no advantages that money can buy which allow you to completely dominate your opponents in an unfair fashion. The Dark Elves team is certainly more interesting to play with however, possessing unique abilities such as resurrecting (at least partially) deceased enemy units.
Perhaps one of the most impressive debut games for a developer ever made, Hero Academy offers up turn-based strategy with heaps of fantasy, magic, and unique style. The animation and illustration has echoes of many a tower defense game found at www.castletowerdefense.com including big mobile port Kingdom Rush, possessing a colourful cartoon style with fantastic detail displayed in each of the unit types and even in the design of each individual item.
Further increasing the entertainment potential and longevity of Hero Academy is the social functionality that it is built around. You can communicate with your fellow players during matches, or choose not to if you’re having a particularly bad day – the quality and integration of the communication is rivals the quality of Zynga’s Words With Friends. Combine this with an interface that allows you to begin and put on hold multiple games as well as fetch them back at a moment’s notice from a delightfully simple drop-down menu system, and you’ve got an absolute winner of a strategy-fantasy game on your hands.