One of the first iPhone game hits of 2012, Hero Academy, continues its roll with a new race and features on the way next week. Available Feb 22 as an in-app purchase for $1.99, the new Dwarven team ads another set of tactical options to bring to the game's chess-like battles. Judging by the description of the units, they favor hanging back to launch ranged and area-of-effect attacks. As with the Dark Elf expansion team, buying the Dwarves will turn off ads and include a basic pack of two avatars. Whether or not you drop the coin for the new Dwarves, an update coming at the same time will add support for Apple's Game Center with achievements and leaderboards for all players.
Here's the quick scoop on the Dwarves and their five team members direct from the developers:
The dwarves hail from distant fortresses of stone, seeking wealth and glory through victory at the Hero Academy. Dwarves are extremely crafty and gain improved bonuses from the playfield's premium squares. They are masters of area attacks.
- Paladin - The Paladin is a devout holy warrior who can heal and revive allies, healing herself in the process.
- Gunner - Ever the sporting gentleman, the Gunner is a shooter who deals high damage to a nearby enemy and does area-of-effect damage at range.
- Grenadier - Cranky and scarred, the Greandier can lob bombs over enemies for area-of-effect damage.
- Engineer - With her handy tools, the Engineer can shield a single ally or crystal. She also gets a higher bonus from premium squares.
- Annihilator - Wielding his shoulder-mounted rocket launcher, the Annihilator deals heavy damage with area-of-effect knockbacks. Direct hits weaken his enemies' physical defenses.
So far, balance between the free to play team, The Council (made up of humans), and the first premium team, the Dark Elves, has felt pretty evenly matched. Though players potentially may find early success with the Dwarves before their strengths and weakness are well known, I expect them to ultimately fit right in.
While I had a connection with the developers over at Robot Entertainment I also asked about the heavy drain on the battery many players, self included, felt like Hero Academy made. I was told that the team did a number of tests comparing extended use of Hero Academy to extended use of other popular iPhone games in response to the initial complaints. They found that it's pretty much on par with all the others, but continue to look for places where they can improve their battery consumption as part of the ongoing development work.