In a World where children dream of growing up to become adventurers, their needs are catered to by a set of academies dedicated to providing guidance and teaching for the budding explorers. As a student of Particus Academy, you will learn the ups and downs of dungeon spelunking, with each quest solved and monster slain a step towards graduation.
It is with this premise that developer Zerodiv (and publisher Accquire) introduces to us to Class of Heroes for the PSP. Initially created as a Spiritual Successor to the Japan-only Xth subseries of the Wizardry franchise (To the point of using all of the same character races), the modest success of the first game resulted in three sequels, two (later three) ports and a spinoff.
- Class of Heroes (Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono.) - 2008 (Japan)/2009 (US), PSP | 2018 (Japan), Nintendo Switch
- Class of Heroes 2 (Ken to Mahou to Gakuen. Mono 2) - 2009 (Japan)/2010 (US), PSP
- Class of Heroes 2G (Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. 2G) - 2010, PlayStation 3
- Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. 3 - 2010, PSP
- Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. 3D - 2011, Nintendo 3DS
- Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. Final ~Tenyuusei wa Ohime-sama!~ - 2011, PSP
- Shin Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono.: Toki no Gakuen - 2012, PSP
- Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. Anniversary Edition - 2018, Switch
- Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono 2 Remaster - 2022, Switch, Play Station 4
- Adventure Academia: The Fractured Continent (Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Kuesuto) — 2022, Switch, Play Station 4, PC
Atlus took a chance on localizing the first game, which ultimately flopped. However, it garnered a cult following among fans of the genre, causing minor localization outfit Gaijinworks to use Kickstarter to fund their efforts to localize the second game. The successful kickstarter saw a limited physical release of the PSP edition as well as digital releases of both the PSP and PS3 editions. A kickstarter for the third game ended in failure, and with the collapse of GaijinWorks the finished-but-unreleased localizations of 3 and 3g were lost to time.
The franchise appears to be undergoing a resurgence as of late; In 2018, a remake of the first title for the Nintendo Switch, titled "Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Mono. Anniversary Edition" was released in Japan. In 2022, a remake of Class of Heroes 2 was announced for Switch and Playstation 4, alongside a new Strategy RPG spinoff titled "Adventure Academia: The Fractured Continent" (Ken to Mahou to Gakuen Kuesuto) which was announced for Switch, Playstation 4... and Steam, complete with a fully English storefront page and trailer.
This series provides examples of:
- Academy of Adventure: Several of them across the series.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The stores, oh so much. To give you an idea, the campus store ditches the "We buy your stuff at 50%". For most early game items you'll be lucky if you can get more than 10 coins.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. Want a Diablos (devil-folk) Paladin (required alignment: good)? You can make one.
- Breath Weapon: Diablos and Bahamun have this as a racial ability.
- Cat Girl: The Felpurs. They can be both male or female though.
- Combination Attack
- Cute Monster Girl: Female monsters will invariably be this. Some of the playable/NPC races count, too.
- Dark Is Not Evil /Light Is Not Good: In the first two games, nothing will stop you from making a Good Diablos, nor an Evil Celestia.
- Dungeon Crawling
- Fantastic Racism: A gameplay element in the first two games - if two races who are distrustful of one another end up in the same team (e.g. Elves Versus Dwarves), their stats will be negatively affected. Conversely, if the two races like each other, they get a bonus to their stats. Certain items and using Gambits can negate this eventually.
- Final Death Mode: As in Wizardry, this game's spiritual ancestor, there are three stages of death: normal death, turned to ash, and "Lost". It costs thrice as much to bring a character back from ashes, but if that fails...well, let's hope you had removed that character's equipment beforehand!
- Fire-Forged Friends: As you use up Gambits your students will grow closer to each other (possibly even overcoming Fantastic Racism!) and will earn stat bonuses when on the same party.
- Item Crafting: A major source of equipment in this game is item crafting. You can buy from the campus store, but weapon and armor prices tend to be exorbitant. It's cheaper, especially if you have your own alchemist, to create your equipment from the stuff the monsters drop or base components which you can buy.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Both humans and Felpurs, in different ways. Humans are the standard "neither great nor terrible in any stat", while the Felpier excel in Vitality and Agility, which are useful for all classes, at the expense of the extremely specialized Luck stat that mostly benefits thieves.
- Job System: While at first limited to Common Character Classes such as Warrior, Mage, Thief and so on, 3 introduced a large number of esoteric anime trope-esque classes including Maniac, Idol, Doctor, Little Brother/Sister, Butler/Maid and so forth. In addition, 2 introduced Race-specific classes like Gunner for Humans and Fallen Angel for Celestia.
- Karma Meter: A watered down version exists in the first two games. Characters can be set as Good, Neutral, or Evil on creation, but may slide in and out of those alignments depending on their party members.
- Money for Nothing: Largely averted. Money is hard to come by in the beginning, and various items tend to lean on the expensive side. Later, when you party is completely pimped out, you can trade money for experience by donating it at the infirmary.
- Nintendo Hard: Atlus refuses to localize games that can't reduce the player to a shivering, disheartened wreck. The tradition continues.
- Palette Swap: Many, many of the monsters. Crosses over with Underground Monkey
- Power of Friendship: If your team likes each other, they will get stat boosts.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Bahamun. They are said to be arrogant, don't get along well with most races, and are best suited to melee majors.
- Relationship Values: The longer a team works together, the more they will grow to trust one another. This becomes harder to do the higher the level of the characters in question, though.
- Save Scumming: And how. There are two popular tactics that utilize save scumming. The first is to save before a pair of crossed swords (which initiate a battle with a chest as a reward) or a treasure chest. After either beating the enemies or opening the chest, you can save, reload, and the swords/chest will be there again to farm. The second tactic involves saving before donating to the infirmary for EXP to insure a character you want to change the major of gets the stat increases they need to do so.
- Shout-Out: In the English version of Class of Heroes 2, one of the random messages that shows up when you attack an enemy will sometimes be "(name) attacks the enemy like an ATAC for (number) damage!"
- Spiritual Successor: To the Wizardry series as noted in the main blurb.
- Standard Fantasy Races:
- Our Humans Are Different - Humans
- Our Elves Are Different - Elves
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same - Averted! Just like in Wizardry Xth, Co H Dwarves are closer to being Beast Men, with furry bodies and canine traits.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes/Erdgeists basically exist only on the astral plane, and need to possess a physical shell in order to interact with the material world. The result ends up resembling a Ridiculously Human robot person.
- Our Fairies Are Different - Fairies in this series stand at two feet tall and resemble human children, effectively making them Hobbits with wings.
- Hobbits - Khulaz
- Cat People - Felpurs
- Our Dragons Are Different - Bahamun are a Cute Monster People version.
- Our Demons Are Different - Diablos
- Our Angels Are Different - Celestia
- Squishy Wizard: Erdgeists tend to make very good wizards and summoners, but because they don't have corporeal bodies, their HP are among the lowest of the ten races.
- Video Game Caring Potential: You'll grow attached to the characters you create, it's hard to see one die and fail to revive.
- Writing Around Trademarks: The Khulaz race is an Expy of the Hobbit race from Wizardry Xth. As Zerodiv could not afford to pay the asking price for the Hobbit name from the Japanese licensors of The Lord of the Rings, they instead renamed them "Khulaz" as a corruption of the Hobbit/Halfling race's equivalent from Japanese pen and paper RPG Sword World, the Grassrunners.