App Reviewed on: iPad
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Battle Academy is a World War II-themed, multiplayer-focused, turn-based strategy game developed by Slitherine Software. In the game, players can take control of various military forces involved in a wide variety of combat scenarios based on real conflicts. Although the rather steep asking price of $20 may turn some players away immediately, Battle Academy is a truly rich and deep experience for anyone interested in diving into a complex war game.
Like many other turn-based strategy games, Battle Academy tasks players with meticulously maneuvering units around a field of battle in hopes of completing desired objectives. On top of this though, the game asks players to consider many, many granular options like the way a unit should face, what it should do upon spotting an enemy, how fast it should move, etc. all of which can make a significant outcome on the events in any given scenario. Combine this with a deep cast of historically accurate military units, the ability to summon artillery and other supports, and a variety of terrain types--complete with sets of pros and cons--and you've got what amounts to be one of the most complicated and sophisticated strategy games available on the iPad.
Although some may appreciate this attention to strategic detail, Battle Academy unfortunately falls short in adequately explaining how all of its own systems work. Aside from a short tutorial that essentially guides players through mind-numbingly simple encounters and small pop-up boxes of text that give a cursory overview of game mechanics, there is not a whole lot to help players understand things like where and when an APC can unload soldiers or which units can capture territories. This makes much of Battle Academy somewhat inaccessible to all but those who are dedicated to figuring it out.
In addition to being a sometimes confusing game, Battle Academy can also present some control issues. Because there are so many commands available for players to give, it can be hard to tap your way to the right instruction. Luckily, the game is also turn-based, making the correction of accidental maneuvers a relatively painless affair.
All in all, Battle Academy is a very compelling package with a few flaws that can make it difficult for some to get into. The pure volume of systems and mechanics are definitely worth appreciating, but it's just not a very user-friendly experience. For $20, that may be too much trouble for some; however, anyone willing to overlook these problems will find themselves playing one of the richest strategy experiences on the App Store.