I am so bad at Hero Academy that I’m almost surprised I haven’t yet been arrested for some of my performances. At least if I was in jail I’d have time to get my head around the buffs and debuffs on offer – and work out how to attack the enemy crystals without leaving my invaders stranded.
I am slowly getting better, though, and that’s partly because of the Challenges that were apparently added a while back, during the ten month period in which I lost my iPhone and didn’t get around to buying a new one.
Challenges are amazing. They’re a brutally hard series of tutorials, in essence, except they’re fun in the exact way that tutorials aren’t, and they also manage to drive their lessons straight into your brain. They’re broken down by team type, and each one gives you a little scenario to master within five turns: kill everyone, knock out the crystal, it’s pretty simple stuff – in principle.
While the challenges are steadily teaching me a fair amount about the different units and items, what I’ve really been learning is that I tend to approach the game all wrong. Hero Academy’s a battlefield, but it’s also a laboratory, and its asynchronous nature means you can take your time with each move, trying out a bunch of scenarios, messing around with this choice or that choice, and only hitting submit when you’ve maximised each round’s potential and really done a number on your opponent.
As I write this, I realise how obvious it sounds – but it wasn’t obvious to me for about three months – time in which I’d get a turn and panic, trying out the first thing that came to mind and then stabbing the submit button in shame. I guess tutorials are often concerned with pointing out the most basic things about a game – at least with Hero Academy’s challenges, even the simple stuff is entertaining.