App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Slitherine is a publisher of premium strategy games on iOS, so it may come as no surprise that their latest release--the turn-based World War II game Heroes of Normandie--offers up some some premium fun at a premium price. Despite a few rough edges, Heroes of Normandie is a great addition to any strategy enthusiast's game library.
Tiles of war
The first thing you should know about Heroes is that it is a video game version of a board game. As such, expect a lot of card-like units, board-like maps, and tons of dice rolls. That said, most of Heroes action plays more or less like a typical strategy video game with a solo campaign, multiplayer, custom map modes, and even a neat little roguelike mode.
In any given scenario, you'll be taking control of a relatively small band of either German or Allied units and using cover, cunning, power-ups, and tactics to complete your given objective, which can be anything from recovering documents to just plain eliminating your foes.
War has changed
Although much of the action in Heroes is pretty typical, there are a few key distinctions that make this game unique. For starters, every turn begins with you assigning orders to only some of your units, which becomes an important part of the strategy of the game.
Secondly, since Heroes was originally a board game, the game makes everything you do visible to your opponent (just as would be the case if you're playing across the table from someone). There are ways you can still trick your opponents though, including assigning "Bluff" or fake orders as well as activating an Ambush mode on units in cover to keep them from being targeted by enemy units.
Wacky War II
The most notable thing about Heroes is just how strange it is, both in design and tone. Not only are the board game mechanics a fun twist, but the game's story, characters, and art all depict a version of World War II full of cartoony and goofy characters. Even the animations of cards attacking, assaulting, etc. animate like cards in Hearthstone, which is a departure from the usually sterile presentation of a lot of Slitherine releases. It's strange, for sure, but kind of endearing despite its irreverence for such a serious war.
Killjoy was here
Heroes is a pretty compelling package, but it is unfortunately plagued with some issues that make its price point seem a little unjustified. There are problems with text everywhere, including misspelled words and placeholder text appearing instead of what's supposed to be there. Additionally, the multiplayer part of the game doesn't seem like it's always up and running as it should be. These aren't huge problems, but they are frustrating to encounter for a game that costs $15.
The bottom line
Heroes of Normandie is probably my favorite game that Slitherine has put out to date. It's not perfect, but that's part of what makes it interesting. If you don't mind putting up with some weird text, spotty multiplayer, and dense UI explanations buried in a wiki, you will find a deeply satisfying and weird strategy game here.