Hero Academy Review
Ok, one more turn and then I’m going to bed.
Since bringing your hit iOS game to other platforms is the cool thing to do these days, Robot Entertainment decided to bring their iOS game Hero Academy to PC’s via Steam. If you’ve played it on your Apple device already then you’ll be very familiar with the PC version as not much has changed, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a second look.
For those who haven’t played it, Hero Academy is a Turn-Based Strategy game where the goal is simple; kill the opposing player’s units or Crystal(s) to win. Each game plays through turns, where you get five moves to either add attackers to the grid, attack an enemy, or use one of the many power-ups in the game. After your five turns, you then wait for the other player to take their turn, back and forth until one team is defeated. It’s a very similar setup to Draw Something where you can have multiple games on the go, cycling through each of them turn by turn. I really liked this method with Draw Something and Robot Entertainment were smart to go this route as you always have a game to play, while also keeping it casual at the same time.
On the single player side, there are various challenges to complete against the CPU, with different challenges for each of the five teams in the game. These are a great way to get familiar with the game before you embark on the main part, the multiplayer. Most gamers will complete the challenges fairly quickly, so the multiplayer is the real reason that you’ll keep coming back for more.
Before we jump into the multiplayer, I wanted to talk about the price of the PC version because there are some differences between it and the iOS version to be aware of. Not only does it cost $5 to get the game on PC, compared to it being free on iOS, but the additional teams now cost $4.99 each, compared to $1.99 each on iOS. I understand that Robot Entertainment want to make even more money with it now on PC as well, but the pricing differences don’t sit too well with me. Why do the extra teams cost more on PC? Why isn’t the game Free To Play like on iOS? Something to keep in mind is that anything you buy on either platform will sync to the other, so if you do buy the game on PC, you should buy the additional teams for the lower price on iOS and let them sync to the PC version. Luckily that feature is available to save a little money.
To start a game you can find a random opponent, invite someone by their username, challenge your Steam friends or you can challenge anyone that follows you on twitter as well. At the start of each game your rack will fill up with attackers, items and power-ups, which you can then use in your five moves to populate the grid how you see fit. After each turn, your rack will refill from your supply, which includes a mix of items, power-ups and attackers. Once your supply has been drained, you’ll have to survive the rest of the game with what you have left in your rack and on the board. The items that you receive from your supply come out in a random order, but you can swap an item to see if something better will come out next, which is a nice little feature.
There are five teams to pick from in Hero Academy: The Council, Dark Elves, Dwarves, The Tribe and Team Fortress 2, who you can only get with the PC version, but they will sync to the iOS version as well. Each team has multiple unit types, including ranged, close-quarters, magic and healing. Each unit can move differently around the board and have access to the different power-ups, which can increase their attack power, armor and health, resurrect fallen allies, grant special attacks and more.
One of the best features in the entire game is that you can play out all five of your points in a turn, and then if you things didn’t go as well as you thought, you can reset the turn and play it all over again. You can do this as many times as you wish, as long as you don’t submit your turn to the other player. It’s great to be able to make a few moves, see how effective they are, then reset and try a different strategy. I wish more things in life had a reset button.
Since Hero Academy is available on both PC and iOS, it supports cross-platform play, so you can start a game on one version and switch over to the other and pick up where you left off. It’s really well designed and works flawlessly. Having multiple games on the go can cause Hero Academy to become quite addictive, and if you get caught up in it the next thing you know you’ll have 20 games waiting for your turn while you were making supper. It’s one of those games where I found myself saying “I’ll just play more one more turn”, only to end up playing 30 more turns before going to bed.
Hero Academy wasn’t something that I instantly fell in love with, but the PC version on a bigger screen and with mouse controls has definitely grown on me. While I have issues with the pricing differences between the iOS and PC versions, I still enjoyed the actual gameplay, but like most casual games I’m not sure how long it will last. Strategy fans, casual or not, should check out Hero Academy, but you might want to test out the free iOS version first if you can.