Hero Academy 2 review
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Hero Academy 2 review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on January 18th, 2018
Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: HEARTHSTONE ACADEMY
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Hero Academy 2’s inspirations are so clear that it can be a little hard to enjoy.

Developer: Robot Entertainment

Price: Free
Version: 1.30.1573
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar

Between the release of Hero Academy and its much awaited sequel, a ton of games have come out. Judging by the look of Hero Academy 2 though, it’s clear that Robot Entertainment was only really paying attention to one of them. Hero Academy 2 takes the same turn-based strategy of the first game and jams as much Hearthstone into it as possible, making for a game that is fun enough, but doesn’t really feel particularly special.

Crushing crystals

Hero Academy 2 is a competitive online multiplayer game where players use decks full of heroes, equipment, and spells against each other in an effort to destroy their opponent’s crystals. Players can summon their armies to the field of battle using mana, and then use their units’ action points to position them, attack enemy units, or deal damage to crystals.

The whole thing follows a setup that’s really similar to most collectible card games, but the field of play is where Hero Academy 2 sets itself apart. Units have to move within range of other units to attack them, certain units can move further distances and take more actions per turn, and some spells can affect certain areas of the battlefield and not others.

Collectible combatants

There are dynamics of Hero Academy 2’s battlefield system that make it unique, but in almost every other way imagineable, the game is doing its best Hearthstone impression. Armies are now distilled into cards, and decks of these armies can be fall into one of a few types, each of which has their own unique characteristics and hero powers that you can equip and use throughout the course of a battle.

Hero Academy 2 starts you out with the game’s basic cards, but you can grind out (or pay for) currency that allows you to open card packs, which even look shamelessly like the packs from Hearthstone. The only real way that Hero Academy 2 fails to resemble Hearthstone with its new card-based system is that the path to unlocking all of the game’s cards seems absurdly long and complicated. There are multiple currencies, single-player campaigns and challenges, missions that reset every eight hours, and all sorts of other hoops you need to jump through to get new cards, and not much of it feels particularly satisfying unless you pay.

Strategic stalemates

As easy as it is to see that Hero Academy 2 borrows directly from Hearthstone, it’s clear that this is for good reason. Hearthstone is a great game, and taking some of these ideas and plopping them into a Hero Academy game makes for a pretty good time. It’s fun to collect your armies, build new decks, and test your skills online against other people doing the same thing.

There is a limit to what this cribbing strategy can do, though. In fact, Hero Academy 2’s flaws feel blindingly obvious because the game is so easy to compare to Hearthstone. When stuck side-by-side, Hero Academy 2 feels slow and unwieldy, with most matches extending into overtime rounds that insert cards into each players hands to accelerate play. Combine this with the game’s extremely grind-heavy progression system, and playing Hero Academy 2 can feel quite a bit like spinning your tires when compared to other collectible multiplayer games.

The bottom line

The moment to moment action of Hero Academy 2 can be pretty enjoyable, but that’s mostly because of the aspects that the game borrows from Hearthstone. Outside of those common elements though, Hero Academy 2 can feel like a bit of a slog, and one only worth sticking with if you want to sink a ton of time (or money) into it.

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