Hero Academy Review
- Charming cartoonish visual style; easy to 'read' the field at a glance.
- Multiple concurrent matches; attempts to make up for the lack of 'locked in' gameplay.
- Two unique sets of heroes to master; more to come.
- No real competitive features; no stat tracking, leaderboards, or ranked matchmaking.
- Online-only gameplay; offline AI or local co-op not currently supported.
Hero Academy's bright and cheery appearance masks its otherwise brutal war-like gameplay, though the lack of competitive features can make its online-only play feel otherwise devoid of achievement.
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If you've spent any time gaming on the PC or even major consoles it's hard not to have come across Orcs Must Die, Robot Entertainment's third-person take on tower defense gameplay. Now iOS gamers can experience a taste of the developer's whimsical sense of fun thanks to their free-to-download tactical title, Hero Academy.
Part card game, part turn-based strategy, players pit themselves against opponents from around the world in asynchronous matches. As such you can take part in multiple games at any one time, though nominally you'd like to be paired up with someone who's waiting to immediately respond to each turn, helping you to finish a game in a reasonable time.
Each turn players are given five actions, be it to summon a creature or item from their hand and in to the game field; move a particular unit in to a new position; or make a direct action such as combat, healing or summoning ghouls from the corpses of the recently deceased. Anything used from your hand is randomly replaced from a limited stock of reinforcements. While one of the victory conditions is to destroy the opponent's crystals, you could also find yourself facing defeat if you treat your items and characters like so much fodder.
It's tempting to push out too many units on to the field and this would be a huge mistake - given the limited amount of moves per turn you'll need to make the most of anywhere from 1 to 3 units. Any more and you start to limit your options and leave units open to retaliation. Despite the small amount of units at any one time the game feels immensely dynamic, with players being able to counter almost any situation given patience and resourcefulness.
However, being free you'd expect limitations and you'd be right - firstly access to the second available race (Dark Elves) along with access to aesthetic changes such as avatars, team colors and 'taunts' requires a cash purchase. More worryingly though is the lack of stat tracking for matches, making victories and losses hollow or devoid of meaning in the long-run. Players can see their recent matches, but it's a far-cry from climbing a competitive ladder and being matched with equally skilled opponents.
Speaking of which, it's also odd that the game opts to utilize Facebook for matching up with friends instead of more readily available solutions such as Game Center. Hopefully the currently implemented accounts tied in to Robot Entertainment's website result in better competitive features in the future.
Ultimately what you get with Hero Academy is what you pay for - a game with stunningly simple and refined tactical gameplay that is otherwise crippled by a lack of solid competitive features and no form of offline AI-based gameplay to keep you playing while you wait. I need more opponents, so I heartily recommend giving this game a go while it remains free.
Description- Mobile Game of the Year winner (2013 D.I.C.E. Awards), featured in App Store’s Best of 2012, nominated for Best Handheld/Mobile Game (2013 Game Developer’s Choice Awards) and past features in App Store's What's Hot and Staff Favorite!
- "Bite size strategy you can't put down" - Touch Arcade, 4.5 Stars
- "It's a ridiculous amount of fun" - 148Apps, 5 Stars; Editor’s Choice
- "What’s important is that you download this ridiculously free app for your iOS device immediately" - Penny Arcade
- "The game looks great, and the diverse amount of units allow for some really creative play." - Nine Over Ten, 5 Stars
Test your skills in this lighthearted battle between friends -- from the makers of Age of Empires and Halo Wars!
Heroic teams have gathered to engage in friendly contests on the Academy playfields. Will your team emerge triumphant?
Enter a world of swords and magic, and challenge friends old and new to a contest of tactics and skill. From the human Council to the mysterious Dark Elves, every team needs a fearless captain to lead them to victory. Only those that leverage their team’s strengths and capitalize on their opponent’s weaknesses will protect their crystal and win the day. The Academy extends a warm welcome to all – whether they’re already heroes, or simply heroes in training!
• Highly accessible turn-based gameplay
• Easy to learn – jump right in and play!
• Play with friends or random opponents
• Colorful light-hearted graphics and sound
• Random playfields keeps battles fresh!
• Get started with the free Council team
• Expand your roster with additional teams!
• Customize your team
• Challenge your Facebook friends!
• Invite your Twitter followers to play!
• Chat with your opponents in-game
• Push notifications alert you to your turns
Follow us on Twitter @HeroAcademy, and visit our Facebook page at HeroAcademyApp!
**Note: Hero Academy is compatible with iPhone 3GS or newer models only.