Article written by Gamoc.
Published on 20/09/2012 at 01:00 PM.
Hero Academy is yet another iOS game that’s also available on PC. However, unlike the majority of those other iOS games this one is actually pretty good. Whether or not it’s good enough to recommend considering the steep price on PC is another matter entirely, but we’ll get to that later on.
Essentially, the game is an asymmetrical 1v1 turn-based strategy title, that’s colourful and filled with character. It is easy to pick up and jump into yet, if you’re willing to look deeper into its workings, you’ll find an in-depth strategy that provides the means for some impressively tactical combat.
Your aim is to either destroy the enemy’s crystals or defeat all of their units (by depleting their HP and standing a unit on their square afterwards). There are multiple crystals on the mirrored 5×9 rectangular grid, each one contributing to its team’s crystal health. Once that crystal health is depleted (ie, all of that team’s crystals destroyed), the team loses.
Down the left side you can see matches awaiting your move, matches you are waiting for and completed matches.
Whilst you wait for your next move in that game, you can go and do something else, or take your move in another game. Hero Academy is built in such a way that you can have many games going at the same time and it will tell you when your turn is ready. You can even go and browse the internet and a pop-up will come up from your system tray letting you know the game is ready for you. As simple as this feature is, I quite like it. I have it running in the background right now, even as I write this review.
Of course, the offshoot to this feature is that you’re not sat there at the game waiting. I’ve been playing since Friday and am yet to finish a match simply because my opponents keep leaving, presumably to do something silly like eat or sleep. It’s a double-edged sword; if you want to finish a game in one sitting you’d better hope you’re playing against someone that feels the same way. Thankfully, the game lets you invite friends from Steam and Twitter, though not Facebook, despite the iOS version offering the feature.
Graphically, Hero Academy has a colourful art style that’s full of cartoony character. It’s not going to impress as far as graphical capability goes but that isn’t really important or expected. The TF2 team in particular (which comes with the Steam version of the game) is genuinely entertaining, with each unit looking just as unhinged as you might expect.
The game doesn’t go into full screen, though for a game that is meant to be in the background whilst you do other things that perhaps isn’t necessary. It’s also in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is a bit strange but, again, not really a big problem.
Some of levels feature environmental hazards that you can activate to damage enemy units.
Even the £11.99 bundle available via Steam that comes with all the teams doesn’t lessen the sting too much, nor do the 35 in-game avatars or the Hero Academy hat for use in TF2. Quite frankly, it’s far too expensive, especially in comparison to the iOS version. There’s no reason I would want to pay so much more to play an iOS game on my PC and it just comes off as feeling like a cash grab.
- Easy to pick up for newcomers.
- Tactical enough to please those who really look into it.
- The background/multiple games at a time nature is quite nice.
- Graphics, especially the units, have a lot of character.
- Far too expensive relative to the iOS prices.
- Additional teams are far too expensive even ignoring the mobile version’s prices.
- People often just wander off mid game, often resulting in matches lasting for a long time.
Hero Academy isn’t a bad game and it’s one of the better (if not the best) iOS ports to come to PC. It’s just so difficult to recommend when the price is so inflated compared to the iOS version. It feels extortionate and it makes me want to recommend not buying it to try and reinforce that it’s not at all okay to try and extort money from customers in such a way. If you’ve got an iOS device, play it on that instead – you could buy two additional teams if you really wanted to and still have paid £1 less than you would for the PC version.
If you’re really sure you’ll enjoy the game, you might be alright with paying £4 to play it on your PC, and that’s fine. Personally, I wouldn’t be okay with that price, since you’re essentially paying £4 for the TF2 team, a bunch of avatars and a hat in Team Fortress 2.