There are an amazing amount of iPhone Games, but most don't end up on my phone. Battleheart is the first new game (or app) to make it onto my phone in several months. One of my friends recommended it to me, and I have to say, it is the best iPhone Game I've played this year! (so far) (sample size is also 1). Without further ado:
Battleheart starts with a little intro on how to play and than its off to the first level with a knight and a healer. The game-play is fun and simple; drag a damage dealer to a monster to get them to attack, and drag a healer onto a party member to heal them. When a melee monster is hit with a melee attack he will change targets to whoever hit him. You can use this to keep them from killing off your magic users. Ranged attackers are uncontrollable, so should generally be taken down first.
After the first level you can use the tavern to hire more party members up to a maximum party size of four. As you go through the map, your characters gain gold and experience. The art is very nice, with everything including the monsters looking fairly cute. Each character also starts with a skill that you can activate by clicking on them and tapping the icon in the upper left corner of the screen.
Every 5 levels you can assign them a new skill at the Academy. The skill that the character starts with and the skill at level 25 are chosen for you but for every other skill point you can select one of two choices. Usually, but not always this is a trade off between damage or support. One of my favorite parts of the game is that once you make a skill choice, you are *NOT* stuck with it, you can change it at any time and without fee at the Academy. I cannot stress enough what a welcome change of pace this is from Blizzard's draconian skill policies of the past. (I'm looking at you Diablo II, World of Warcraft and all the imitators of both) Moving on.
The money you get can be used to hire new characters at the tavern, buy equipment at the merchant, or upgrade equipment at the armory. The armory is also where you equip your characters. Each character can equip a weapon, armor and two accessories. You can upgrade weapons or armor to the next best item of its class, but it is massively more expensive than buying it at the merchant or finding it after a map. (You always find one item after each map.) The only thing is the merchant sells a random mix of items that changes after every battle, so upgrades might be your best bet anyways.
The game has over 30 stages, in which monsters attack you in waves. These are for the most part easy, until you get to the last 8 or so which are a huge step up in difficulty. There are five boss fights, and these are anything but easy. First they are immune to any support skills, they have area of effect attacks in addition to a punishing close range attack, and they all repeatedly call regular monsters in to back them up.
There are also arena stages where you can fight to win rare items. In my experience this is a waste of time. If you are having trouble beating a stage, replaying a normal stage will get you gold, experience, and an item. An arena will only get you an item unless you clear it, and lasts much longer than a normal stage.
One thing I didn't like is that the later stages and the boss fights were very hectic. (The only thing that comes to mind as a comparison was raiding in World of Warcraft, except you are playing all ten characters yourself.) At times you need to be moving and using skills with all of your characters at the same time. And while I found that you can use multiple fingers to do this, my hand makes a better door than a window. I was a little frustrated with losing a stage due to not being able to input commands fast enough. A Balder's Gate style combat system (real time but with the ability to pause to enter commands) would have been nice.
No achievement system is in the game yet, but real vampire hunters don't do it for the points.
It took me about 12.5 hours to complete the game and almost all of it was enjoyable. For four out of the five bosses I had to grind some levels in order to beat them. Still, it is as I mentioned a lot of fun, and the large amount of characters give the game some replay. It only costs $2.99, but is a good price for the amount of time it entertains. Most console games are around 20-30 hours for 20 times the price.