I’ve been playing Hero Academy for over a week now. Let’s analyze that statement. I’m playing an iOS game for a week! I normally play around with a game on the iPhone for a couple of days, maybe poking around for a few minutes here and there while waiting for my car to be serviced or standing around between classes. Hero Academy is a game that I’m religiously picking up each night and playing for a solid 30-40 minutes.
Hero Academy is a turn-based strategy game. You place your units on a grid and compete against another player for positioning. Positioning is really the key. Each unit has abilities that take some learning to utilize effectively. An archer is an amazing ranged unit that, if upgraded, can wreak havoc on a crystal (the objective you want to destroy to win) or soft units. However, fail to position her correctly and a Void Monk could mop her up and move back to the safety of his side.
Each turn you have a limited number of ‘moves’ (5) represented by that pizza pie of blue triangles in the bottom left. Summoning a unit, moving a unit, upgrading a unit, attacking, and healing each take a move. The best players are the ones who have mastered how to move in, kill, and retreat safely. I’m still noobing it up by going in guns blazing, leaving my units on the enemy’s side for them to be killed easily next turn.
There’s a lot more than meets the eye. Each unit has detailed stats, attack patterns, different move range, and utility. I was once wrecked by a guy who advanced one archer into a position on the board who could shoot any of my units that advanced. Another time I was destroyed by a fully upgraded Wizard that seemed to AOE everything on my side of the board for 4 moves. I’m still not sure how he pulled that off.
As each turn progresses, your items (on the bottom of the screen) are replenished as you use them — until you run out. Different items like ability scrolls, upgrades, and board-wide aoe attacks make for additional levels of strategy.
Hero Academy is easy to pick up and enjoy, but, as I’ve witnessed first hand, very hard to master. Since the game is turn based, it’s easy to start a game and pick up at any time. I have about twelve games going right now. I can play a turn with someone then jump into another match in seconds. I can play a turn before bed (or 50) and pick up in the morning. I’m not sure if there’s any turn etiquette for how long you wait, but I’ve been playing with others who seem to play at a reasonable pace. Besides, finding another game is instant so you can always have one going.
If you have an iOS device, check it out. It’s free (last I checked) with the option to buy something to remove the ads (I highly recommend it). The production quality is so high on this game compared to many other games I’ve tried in the past. I really have no idea how they manage to support the multiplayer so well. You can invite twitter or facebook friends to battle or find opponents randomly. The UI is slick, responsive, and I honestly can’t find anything wrong with the presentation.
My in-game name is Keen. If you want to stomp on me sometime, invite me to a match!