I've always had a soft spot for ambitious genre mash-ups, and Agate's Valthirian Arc: Hero School - released today - aims high, asking players to both manage a hero training facility and lead its students in real-time RPG combat. There's campus buildings to be placed, gear to be crafted, students to be nurtured and dragons to be slain all while balancing the books and even engaging in a little politics. If it didn't look so adorable, it'd be almost intimidating. Take a peek at the game in action in the launch trailer below, plus a (rather old) demo.
Originally Kickstarted under a clunkier title, Valthirian Arc reminds me a bit of charming shop sim/action-RPG hybrid Recettear. Similar in their high fantasy settings, but grounded by the horrors of finance. At the end of the day it's all about not going bankrupt, but you're constantly juggling goals. Break even while producing good enough students to handle every situation that crops up, ideally. That said, I'm not expecting the game to be all that difficult, given its gentle all-ages look, but it's nice to see another game blending wildly disparate elements.
Money and prestige aren't the only concerns in Valthirian Arc either. Agate promise a branching story with multiple endings. The hero academy sits at the intersection of five queendoms, and which monarchs you throw your lot in with is supposed to have some major effects down the road. Proof of the old adage that I just made up now - it's not the level fifty dragon that'll kill you, it's the politics. Plus, you can always name the school Hogwarts and only train wizards if you like, if you can't stand the wait until that rumoured and leaked Harry Potter RPG.