Hero Academy

8.0 Overall Score

Easy to approach, bite-sized strategy gameplay that gets surprisingly deep. Lots of new options with the TF2 team

More expensive than the iOS version!

So Hero Academy, right? Some of you have probably heard of the Robot Entertainment title. Apparently it’s pretty good. I write this while looking at the seven games running on my screen and decrying the abilities of the dark elves. Because seriously.

For those of you who are unaware, Hero Academy is an asynchronous strategy game. Two teams face off on a 9×5 board to try and destroy each other’s teams and/or crystals. Your team is doled out in hands of 5, and you have five actions each round to use to attempt to crush your opponent. Moving, attacking, using items, buffing, and deploying units all spend these points, which means strategy entails clever maneuvers over swarming a foe. The game works on Steam and iDevices just like Words With Friends or any number of similar games. You start a match with people from all over the internet, some friends, some not, and take turns every minute, hour, day, etc. Start a bunch of games and there’s pretty much always a turn ready to go. As of this writing I think I’m running twelve.

The Steam release of the game moves this to your monitor, with cross-platform play, a new map, and a Team Fortress 2 team to field in honor of the Valvery that goes along with Steam. I spent my review time on the PC with this team across a variety of maps and matchups. Let’s face it, if you’re intrigued by this you already know Hero Academy. What you’ll want to hear about are the changes.

The TF2 team, being a bunch of guys with guns, is a team with a very heavy focus on ranged attacks. The standout here is the sniper, who can hit a unit from across the map and gets an enormous damage bonus at the beginning of the round, forcing players to maneuver out of up to two lanes each turn. The healer can buff units for more damage. The engineer can buff everyone’s damage considerably. And one of the three consumable items sets a bad guy up for a 1-shot kill extremely quickly.

In terms of balance it seems like the new team fits in well, though they may have some trouble with the dark elves. I haven’t played enough to know if this is intentional, but I often found myself 10 hp or so from Koing one of those units, and that alone cost me several games.

In terms of negatives the only problems I found with Hero Academy were a smattering of release-day bugs and other such nonsense that kept it from going live on Steam immediately. While I didn’t hit any crash of doom bugs, the Steam version has no resolution or window adjustment, and was prone to odd slowdowns despite its identical look and function to the iPhone title. Beyond my desire to put the game into a natural resolution (running 1080p on my display the window stays at a really awkward height) nothing overly bothered me about the game.

The remaining question is pricing. The Steam copy of this game is priced at $4.99. It was my hope that Hero Academy remained a free title (as with their iOS app), or simply cost what the TF2 team would (additional hero teams cost $1.99 in the iOS app).

I like Hero Academy. Quite a bit. And the gleeful madness of the TF2 crew seems like a solid addition to the game. Is the Steam version a must buy? Well, it’ll keep your phone charged while you play during the day, and it’s harder to fumble commands with a mouse (though that still inexplicably happens often due to a weird boxing issue with some of the sprites), but beyond that the only real value here is the new hero team.

A copy of Hero Academy for Steam was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by

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