I, like many of you other on-the-go gamers, became addicted to Words With Friends, Hanging With Friends, and all the other turn-based word games. But I also soon became saturated by notifications because I was playing around 20 games at a time. Maybe it’s just me, but the point where games become a chore is approximately the point where they are no longer fun. Though these types of games are great on cell phones, I think that playing games with words might just be a bit too leapster learning for me. I wanted a turn-based game with more… action. And Hero Academy was just what I asked for.
After installing Hero Academy, you’re prompted to set up an account and then you’re ready for action. When you have to set up an account for anything app related, it is usually a turn off for me. Hero Academy would benefit from instant Game Center connectivity. This is one of the features I feel it is lacking the most. Regardless, I was fairly excited for this game so I sucked it up and submitted my email and was ready to go. There is a simple tutorial that covers basic gameplay but it all feels too conceptual. It doesn’t become real until you really get into a couple games. To start a game you can either choose a random opponent, find a friend through Facebook connect, or send a tweet to your followers and challenge them. Again, Game Center would be great here but Facebook Connect is a huge plus. Another feature I’d like to see is maybe a simplified AI mode where you could play against a computer and not have to wait for strangers or friends to take their turn.
There are two different races to choose from: council and dark elves. The council is your basic team, containing characters like knights, archers, wizards and ninjas (yeah… I kinda had a hard time wrapping my head around how a knight and a ninja decided to team up, but I digress). The dark elves team has similar characters but in evil elfish forms. It does cost 99 cents to unlock them, but you get the added bonus of making the game ad free. Each character has unique abilities and along with them advantages and disadvantages. Some characters have strong melee attacks, while others have long range capabilities; some can inflict splash damage, and others can heal units. Your goal is to attack your opponent’s jewels while at the same time protecting your own jewels (giggle). On each turn, you have five moves to do it. Your moves range from moving a unit, attacking, equipping power ups or swapping units. Once you finish your five turns you submit your move and impatiently await your opponent’s turn. At that point, any units or items that you’ve equipped from your hand are replaced as if they’re scrabble tiles.
Characters are highly animated from them moving to attacking or being attacked. There is also a chat option where you can have some back and forth with your opponent. Random geek out warning, but the chat has the best default font I’ve ever seen in an instant message medium. I’m not a font nazi (minus over the overuse of comic sans) but the font really compliments the game. So thank you, sir who chose the font. The developers are also great with communication through their message boards as well as frequent bug updates. During my short time with the game, I’ve received a game update as well as notifications as to when they will be conducting server maintenance.
Hero Academy is pretty much scrabble… for men. Testosterone filled turn-based combat delivered in a very elegant package. Unlike the tedious nature of word-based games, this game has me anxiously awaiting and planning my next move. Though there has been a couple of downsides, there really isn’t much more I can ask from a free game. So do yourself a favor: check it out and challenge JhonnyC if you dare.
Available on: iOS; Publisher: Robot Entertainment; Developer: Robot Entertainment; Players: 1 – 2; Released: January 11, 2012; Official Site
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.