Despite bearing the Might and Magic name, Clash of Heroes (CoH) succeeds as a stand-alone title, and does not demand knowledge of the franchise's rich history as a prerequisite for enjoying the game. In fact, given the liberties CoH takes, you might even consider the Might and Magic label to be something of a misnomer.
Clash of Heroes does at least take place in the Might and Magic universe, specifically the world of Ashan that was introduced in Heroes of Might and Magic V (to which CoH serves as a prequel) when Ubisoft rebooted the series. As the player you will assume the role of five different protagonists throughout the course of the game. After becoming separated following a devastating Demon attack (Demons being your main antagonists), each character sets out on predominantly solitary quests to seek answers and retribution.
Gameplay in Clash of Heroes is heavily combat-focused, offering a constant stream of puzzle-esque, turn-based battles. Said battles feature two sides (one per screen) of units laid out in a grid. Core units occupy one grid cell and can be used to either attack or defend, depending on how they are laid out. Same-coloured units placed in rows form defensive walls that block incoming attacks, while columns of units form an offensive group that will charge onto the opposing force's screen after a set charging period (measured in turns).
You have an infinite supply of Core units, but as you progress through the game you can also spend money earned in battle to buy a selection of extra powerful Elite and Champion units. These fill more than one grid cell and require different combinations of surrounding basic units to activate. Although you can set up which units you want your army to consist of, the actual units in any battle are chosen randomly both at the outset and anytime you or your opponent calls in reinforcements at the cost of an action.
Characters and units become more powerful as they gain experience by winning battles, but regardless of what state your army is in, the decisions you make on a turn-to-turn basis don't change very much. Your goal in most battles is to break through your enemy's defences and strike the edge of the opposite screen with your offensive units, lowering your opponent's health. With a limited number of units at your disposal, striking a balance between defensive walls and offensive groups is a key strategic decision.
Actually moving (or removing) units can be accomplished with either buttons or the touch screen, although the latter can occasionally feel a tad fiddly. With a limited number of these actions possible per turn (usually three), chaining together moves to create combos is always a good idea. Creating both a defensive wall and offensive group with the movement (or removal) of a single unit, for example, effectively nullifies the cost of both actions. Spotting possible combos isn't always easy, but sometimes it's essential for success.
The battle/puzzle mechanics are simple, but extremely addictive and rewarding.
The animé-inspired visual style is complemented with gorgeous pixel art and some lovely backdrops.
Background music is impressive, but the selection of battle music is somewhat limited.
The single player campaign is extensive, and local multiplayer rounds out the package nicely.
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Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is, despite its cutesy appearance, a surprisingly deep strategy-puzzle game. The lightweight RPG trappings serve as a charming backdrop for the core battle/puzzle mechanics, which are bound to have you enthralled in no time. The expansive single-player campaign is littered with different factions, unit types, rule changes, and other embellishments that will keep you hooked for hours and hours.
Turn Based RPG
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Only dabbled with this for about an hour...but it's FAR better than I could have ever imagined. The M&M series always looked a bit too 'stuffy' for my liking, but this DS version has really impressed me!
Hopefully the team gets another crack of the whip...
Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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