Modern Review: Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes (DS)

wallpaper1-copy7Might And Magic, one of the classics of PC RPGs, was squeezed onto the DS’s two tiny screens in the form of a puzzle based RPG from Ubisoft. However, the switch from pure RPGing to more puzzle based gameplay doesn’t hurt the game at all and plays wonderfully to the DS’s strengths.

Set before the events of Heroes of Might & Magic V, Clash of Heroes sees several of the land of Ashan’s most powerful factions meeting to discuss spreading peace across the land. However, a portal opens letting out dark forces who would rather see Ashan plunged into chaos. In the resulting battle everyone at the gathering is killed save for five young heroes, Godric, Aidan, Anwen, Nadia and Fiona. It is now up to these five youngsters to overthrow the demon horde that that overrun Ashan.

Clash of Heroes is divided up into six parts, each focusing on one of the young heroes, as well as the game’s prelude which depicts the aforementioned gathering. Each hero has different armies at their disposal such as knights, elves wizards, necromancers and even demons. Each of the army types have different strengths and weaknesses as do the individual units. Units are broken up into three types, Core, which are your base units and are unlimited in number; Elite which are your heavy hitters; and Champions which, as the name suggests, are the most powerful of all your units. Each variation of these units has different powers and abilities. For example, Skeleton core units are weak but once killed their bones form a defensive wall. Another example is the Fire Stallion unit which takes a while to charge up but once it does it can leap over the enemy's defensive walls for extra damage to the units on the other side.

Each of your units is colour coded and matching units of the same colour is where a lot of the game’s strategy comes in. Three core units of the same colour need to be aligned vertically for them to go into attack formation. Lining up three units horizontally will create a defensive wall. Put three more behind the attacking units or wall and they will merge with the existing units to become more powerful. Elite and Champion units require two to four core units of the same colour to powered up. Add to this that you can find Artifacts that give you various abilities and that you have a Hero Meter that fills as you take and inflict damage to unleash a powerful spell, you can see just how much strategy is involved in each battle. Armies are laid out in a grid pattern on the DS’s two screens, the enemy at the top with the player’s army on the lower touch screen. All commands to your army are given via taps and swipes of the stylus making ordering units and navigating menus to equip artifacts very intuitive. The face buttons can be used, but they’re nowhere as easy to use as the stylus.

The game’s puzzle-battles range from very simple to DS-throwing difficulty. The game does a good job of teaching you the various rules and tactics of battle, but after the first chapter is done things become considerably tougher. Later chapters will see you needing to grind somewhat in order to defeat the tougher enemies while one chapter in particular has such a sudden and large difficulty spike it’s by far the toughest of the whole game and it only appears about halfway through. Battles aren’t just of the “kill all the enemies” variety either. Some see you having to position your army so that their attacks hit specific objects to open stronghold doors. Others task you with saving a civilian who has been captured by the enemy, the trick being that the civilian keeps moving and hitting them is an instant loss. There are also optional “puzzle battles” that require you to defeat enemies in a set number of moves with specified units. Boss battles take various forms but often it’s just your army against one very powerful beasty. Unfortunately these too have big difficulty spikes at times and can make the combat feel a bit cheap. While these instances aren’t common given the overall length of the gamer - which is around 10 to 12 hours -, they are frustrating and may put up a brick wall for some players.

If you can forgive a few seemingly insurmountable difficulty spikes and you enjoy a good tactical/ puzzle game than Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is worth checking out. Just try to refrain from putting your DS through a window.


Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes Gameplay Video

Last Updated ( 14 June 2013 )  

Joe Douglas

A lover of comics, sci-fi, fantasy and dusty old video games, Joe is a Sega man through and through. Combining his love of collecting and blue hedgehogs, Joe runs the site SonicCollectors on which he attempts to build a database of Sonic merch. He is tolerated by one cat, two dogs and his girlfriend.

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(Link to this comment) BritishSandvich 2013-06-10 13:17
I've always been debating whether or not I should get this game, but after reading this review and seeing the gameplay video, I think I'm now going to have to save up for it! :D

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