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PAX Prime 2015: ‘Antihero’ is ‘Hero Academy’ Meets 4X Strategy

The name Antihero is certainly ironic, as it draws immediate inspiration from Hero Academy (Free). I got a demo of the game on iPad at PAX Prime 2015, and it needs to be on your radar. The premise of the game is that you are commanding a team of Victorian rapscallions who are trying to defeat their opponent by getting 3 victory points on the mean streets of Victorian England. To do so, you can attain points by assassinating targets, by taking over a church with urchin units to gain a victory point that can be lost, or by buying a victory point if you have the currency to do so.

You earn coins in a battle by robbing buildings with your master thief, who also scouts our new locations. Coins can be used to buy new units, with costs for duplicate units increasing with each new one in play. Lanterns are another currency that can be generated, allowing you to buy various upgrades in your quest for victory, trying to fight off your opponents and bring wary of their potential sabotage. It’s a deep game with a lot to it, such as whether you should accept the free currency of charity in exchange for not being able to buy anything in your turn. Oh, and you will be able to play it asynchronously with online opponents.

The long-term plan for Antihero is for it to release on desktop first, not necessarily to avoid the mobile stigma but because beta-testing is easier on desktop platforms, and early access is an option for the game, before its finalized mobile release. There’s definitely work to go into the game’s experience in terms of making it clear what’s going on, and shoring up the AI opponents before the game is near ready, but this was immediately one of the more promising games I’ve played at PAX Prime this year.