With a background that includes games such as the Age of Empires franchise and Halo Wars when part of Ensemble Studios, now independent US start up Robot Entertainment has big boots to fill.

It's just announced Hero Academy a turn-based freemium tactics game for iOS that has asynchronous multiplayer elements that are reminiscent of Zynga's Words With Friends.

Check mates

The head-to-head game takes place on a grid onto which you deploy and move five different character classes - fighter, shooter, caster, support, and super units - casting spells and using items to defeat your turf.

Each turn gives you the opportunity to make five moves and a taut, which is then submitted to the server for your opponent's response. This means you can battle friends across multiple games. There's also an in-built chat system for additional sociability.

In terms of business model, the game launches with two teams - the noble Council and nefarious Dark Elves - while additional teams, avatars and add-ons will be available via in-app purchase.

Hero Academy will be out before the end of 2011 for iPhone.

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