Jan 7, 2014
Hero Academy combines ever popular asynchronous multiplayer with tactical combat. Does it succeed?
Hero Academyâ€™s gameplay is simple and fun. The game begins with a randomly chosen battlefield. Some are basic grass squares, while others have different gimmicks that can be used to influence the battle.
Placing units is as simple as dragging and dropping them to a square. Some squares can boost hero stats if they walk onto it. Attacking enemies and healing allies is accomplished by tapping on a hero and then tapping on an enemy or allay as appropriate.
Of course the crux of Hero Academyâ€™s gameplay is how units are used together. Sorcerers for example can damage multiple opponents if they are adjacent to each other. They are great for hanging back and zapping a group of enemies after they have been goaded into attacking other heroes. Knights can soak up punishment and knock back enemies, which can be just perfect for setting them up for sorcerer spells, or bumping them back into hazards. Archers meanwhile can do immense damage from afar with their arrows. They work well for backing up sorcerers. Clerics are vital units as well, theyâ€™re the only units that can heal and revive other heroes, making them prime targets for enemies most of the time.
The gameplay is good stuff and quite strategic while remaining lightweight and fast, perfect for mobile devices. Hero Academyâ€™s matchmaking is fast and effective, always finding an enemy to fight. Facebook friends can also be used.
Of course the units above are only for the Council faction, the only one that is usable without paying money. Other factions have their own units and abilities. While this might seem frustrating, the teams are only $1 each and they are the only in app purchases in Hero Academy, besides a largely unneeded single player mode and pointless things, like avatars.
On the downslide though every paid for team is much more powerful than the Council. Whenever itâ€™s raising allies from dead enemies or just plain higher damage attacks, other teams have abilities the Council simply canâ€™t counter. The Council has absolutely no strengths. Playing Hero Academy pretty much requires money be spent on one of the other teams, which is unacceptable. Sure it isnâ€™t much money, but itâ€™s kind of a cop out.
Another potential problem is the randomness of the items given each turn. If the player needs more warriors on the field and is given nothing but buffs they are screwed. The same is true if nothing but sorcerers appear while a melee enemy is standing next to where warriors spawn. This can sometimes be annoying.
Hero Academy looks really good. Super sharp 2d sprites are the order of the day with flashy magic effects and snappy loading times adding to the fun.
Hero Academy is worth playing, despite the obvious push to buy a team. There is no other freemium stuff in HA and it offers some fun combat.