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Hero Academy

I have been playing Hero Academy for the last five hours or so, and I must say it’s one of the best iOS games I have ever played on my iPod. If you have never heard of it, basically it’s a turn-based tactical game that takes elements of both Final Fantasy Tactics and Magic: the Gathering and smashes them together. Now, obviously, it is not as deep as either of those, but I am as impressed thus far with Hero Academy as I was playing Plants Vs Zombies for the first time.

Strategery up top, drawing "cards" down below.

In that screenshot, there’s a mage, two priests, a special move scroll, and a potion in the player’s “hand” at the bottom, and 18 more “cards” in the deck. Each turn, you have five actions to: place a dude, use an item, equip an item, move a dude, or attack.

An archer in range of a target at the beginning of your turn? Feel free to lay down some pain with five attacks in a row. Or drop a priest, move two squares, heal your dead knight, have the knight attack (which pushes the target back a square), and then move the knight away. Equipment can be placed to increase physical/magic damage resistance or increase your attack, the special scrolls makes your next attack cause triple damage, potions offer remote healing/rezzing, certain squares on the ground can increase damage to the crystals or just in general, each unit has its own unique properties, and so on and so forth. Since you have no control over the “hand” that you draw, each fight ends up playing differently, especially if you happen to draw your faction’s uber-unit.

Did I mention this game is F2P?

At the moment, you can only use the humans for free; it costs $0.99 to buy the dark elves, and the recently released dwarf faction costs $1.99. Each faction has completely unique units with their own special properties. The dwarf priest, for example, can put up shields but otherwise heals poorly. There is a lot of nonsense you can buy in the shop – 100 Taunts is $4.99, which I believe is the most worthless cash shop item in the history of ever – but none of it affects the game beyond the factions (but they certainly appear balanced so far).

Anyway, if you want to challenge me, feel free to search for Azuriel. I’m 2-0 thus far, and out of the 15 simultaneous games I have running, I suspect another 7 have given up.

Or, perhaps, they aren’t playing iOS games at 3:45am on a Friday night. Either/or.