Hero Academy is a cross-platform strategy board game which looks and feels quite a lot like chess and is addictive as hell!
There are two versions of Hero Academy; one for the iOS platform and one on PC. The iOS version was released back in January of this year and was one of the games raved about for 15 minutes and then moved on from, much like Words with Friends or DrawSomething. It has now had a new breathe of life blown into it with the release of the PC version on Steam with a new team, the Team Fortress 2 team, added. To add a cherry to the proverbial cake, if you buy the PC version, you get access the Team Fortress 2 team on your iOS devices. Robot Entertainment have also announced that an Android version is on its way but when, they can’t say.
The game itself I can only describe as Magic: The Gathering (or another strategy card game) mixed with the likes of chess. You start the game with 6 random pieces from your team whether that be units/heroes, power-ups, spells or gear. There are currently five different teams you can choose from but three of them are DLC: The Council, TF2 Team, Dwarves (DLC), Dark Elves (DLC) and The Tribe (DLC). Each team has different amounts of different pieces, each with different play styles so it really comes down to how you play the game. You start each round with 5 moves, every time you place a unit on the board, move a unit, attack with a unit, cast a spell or attach gear/power-up to a unit it uses up 1 move. You then take it in turns with your opponent trying to either wipe out out the opposing teams units or destroy the crystals on their side of the board.
Every game will spawn a different board and each board holds different amounts of gems, power-ups and interactive objects. The power-ups are squares on the board that will give the unit standing on them a different power-up which will be: Increased damage, increased health or increased armour. There aren’t always interactive objects but these could be either: a teleportation pad which will allow the unit standing on it to move to the joint teleportation pad on the other side of the board or a train pad which will send a train running down the map, knocking any unit in its path out of the way and causing damage to them.
There are also single-player challenges for each team which help train the player in certain aspects of the game. These will help the player get to know a team more and what works and does not work helping them get the advantage on certain other teams. These are definitely worth taking a look at!
What makes this game so addictive is that you can pick up and play whenever you want and then stop just as easily. As it is turn based, a lot of the game is based on waiting for your opponent to take a turn. Because of this, I found myself creating game after game with a random opponent. This was fine when I was sitting there, playing for a few hours but then when I came around to playing the next day, I was inundated with games to take my turn on!
Overall, Hero Academy has kept me coming back for more and when the Android version is released, it will be hard to get me away from it. I love the strategic style to it - I was never that great at chess but with less pieces but more variables such as power-ups, Robot Entertainment have found the right balance. Its turn-based system allows for easy jump-in and jump-out playstyle and keeps me returning to take my turns regularly. If you like light-hearted strategic games, this is a must have!