Hero Academy is the tiny screen version of an online multiplayer role playing game. There are really only two players: you and an opponent of your choosing. Actually, you can pick an opponent if you have someone’s ID or you can have the Hero Academy server chose a random player for you to do battle with.
There are two teams from which you can choose: Council (human) or Dark Elves. Each team has its own strengths and weaknesses, not to mention cool armor and avatars, but that is up to you to choose. The graphics lean toward the cartoon side and the characters are sporting a bobble-head look, but the look is clean and well done. Besides, the “taunt” dance is pretty funny when performed by team bobble-head.
You can purchase upgrades, as well. There are option packs for extra taunts, additional color options for your armor, character variety packs to unlock extra avatars, and an option to join up with the Dark Elves.
How does it work?
This game will take a little more effort to get the hang of than most of the garden variety iPhone/iPod Touch games because there are more details to manage. Just like its big brother MMO games, there are different player classes: fighter for hand-to-hand combat, cleric for healing, wizard for magical attacks and archer for ranged attack. The game also offers scrolls to increase damage, potions to heal, helmets and shields to improve your armor and swords to increase your damage when you attack.
The start of game play is a bit like Scrabble. You begin with a random set of characters, scrolls, potions, armor, etc., and you get to select what you play on the grid. You have the option to trade a piece by dropping it through the door it came from, but the new piece is also a random offering. Game play is turn-based, and each turn consists of five actions. You may place a character on the grid, move a character or use any of the other devices (scroll, potion, etc), but each action you take is counted toward your five allowed per turn.
On top of the fighting-your-opponents action, another aspect of game play is to destroy your opponent’s crystals. There are two large gemstones per team, and you can attack your opponent’s gems to destroy them and win the game. However, this works both ways, so protect your gems so they don’t get shattered.
Is it contagious?
Hero Academy is a great, short interval option to online gaming. The part that takes the longest is waiting for your opponent to make his/her move (work, school, time zone differences, etc.). This can be seen as a plus in that there is no great time pressure. The game is fun, but the random options are a bit annoying; when what you are really dying for is a cleric and the game is only handing out fighters and archers, it can get a bit frustrating. The taunts need to be used appropriately—it’s hard to justify the “in your face” dance when you just got your fighter killed, but that’s just me. Win or lose, your team, or what’s left of them, will do a dance for you (either the victory dance or a temper tantrum).
Hero Academy is a more light-hearted version of the online multiplayer battles out there, but it’s fun in its own right, so go forth and conquer.
Don’t put too much emphasis on protecting your crystals or attacking your opponent’s crystals. You will need to protect your players to keep going and attack your opponent’s players to keep them from killing you.
Power up your attacking forces as quickly as possible by using the scrolls and attack bonuses.
Get an archer and a healer on the board soon—you’re going to need them.
Don’t forget the bonus squares on the game grid—use them if possible.