Hero Academy

from Robot Entertainment, originally released 10th January, 2012

★ 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!
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Hero Academy Review

Hero Academy is a turn-based strategy game with asynchronous gameplay, which means you can send your turn whenever you like, and your opponent does the same. A single game could take days, but most will only take about one day, because once you start playing it’s hard to put it down.

You can invite players from Facebook or Twitter, or leave it up to fate to find you a random player. Currently, there are two playable teams of characters, though only one is free with the initial download. Both teams have similar types of characters, but the effects differ.

In the Council, a team of classic knights, you’ll control a muscled brute who can push other characters backwards. You’ll also get an archer who is strongest at ranged attacks, a mage who can attack several enemies at once, a cleric who can heal your allies, and a ninja with the power to switch places with other allies. For two bucks, you can play as the Dark Elves, who have slightly more sinister effects.

Going medieval on him.

You’ll use these teams of characters to attack your opponent’s crystals. There are several available maps, each with one or two crystals. Once all of your opponent’s crystals are destroyed, victory is yours, but it’s never that simple.

Each turn consists of five actions. An action is anything that you do during your turn. For instance, if you summon your archer to the field, or attack an enemy mage, you’ve used one action. Each character has a certain range for movement or battle, so moving your characters across the field will often take up most of your actions. Some characters can move farther than others, but those characters often have fewer health points. You will need to familiarize yourself with the stats of your characters before moving, and you’ll learn the best strategies through a lot of practice.

You can also attach equipment to your characters to boost their stats. There are three types of equipment, which let you boost your attacks, defense, or magic resistance. You can also attach a one-time triple boost to a character’s attack, or launch a fireball onto the field to attack several characters. These items act like a deck of cards, with some attacks appearing more often than others. The more you play, the more you’ll see which items or characters are treasures.

Lightning the load.

Because Hero Academy is asynchronous, you can take your time making your moves. The game also has a back button, which will undo your actions so that you can try a different strategy. Unfortunately, this button undoes all your turn’s actions, not just the most recent, which means you may find yourself redoing several actions to correct just one. Still, the back button is essential for winning rounds. There are always several courses to take, and the time between turns allows you to figure out which one is the most effective.

If you choose to play Hero Academy without spending a dime, you’ll have to suffer through ads at the end of each turn, as well as in the main menu of the game. However, if you buy the Dark Elves team, the ads are removed. You can also purchase different colors for your team. Otherwise, you only get red and blue. Also, if you really want to stick it to your opponent after a particularly tough round, you can buy taunts to send to them.

The game’s developer, Robot Entertainment, is planning to release a new team for Hero Academy in an update, and we can’t wait to try it out. Even with only two teams at the moment, there are still multiple strategies that keep the game interesting. As a modern-day, mobile take on chess, Hero Academy is endlessly challenging with great online combat.