Game Review

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

A classic DS mash-up is born

Mixing the heavy plot and masses of dialogue from an RPG with the instant gratification of a puzzle game might seem an odd choice, but Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes pulls it off with aplomb.

Reminiscent of classic DS puzzler Meteos, Clash of Heroes offers a stylus-sliding take on the match-three genre. Each puzzle is a battle against enemy forces, with theirs on the top screen and yours below: by sliding units in and out of place, you can form attacks with vertical trios and defensive walls with horizontal lines. Naturally each unit has its own strengths and special abilities, making this far more than your standard gem-matching game. There are more depths than the scope of this review can ably explain, with combos, link attacks, super walls and more all creating a satisfying puzzle platter.

Once you’ve got your head around the puzzle mechanics, the game starts to have some fun with them. Usually you win by depleting your enemy’s HP, but one mission sees you attacking two moving targets trying to saw down a sacred tree, and another asks you to take down a boss whilst avoiding a hostage. There’s always something different thrown into the mix, and it’s done so well you rarely feel overwhelmed, though there is a range of tutorials available to brush up on the game’s finer points. As with all great RPGs, there's a lot of tactical thinking required to find the perfect balance between attack and defence, asking you to do much more than match three and sit back.

The puzzle mechanics are undoubtedly excellent, but the RPG side of things is no slouch either. Winning battles nets you experience points that naturally improve your statistics as well as the strength of your units, making clever man-management the order of the day as you have to select and train your army from the available fighters. With archers, bears, druids, deer and more, there’s no shortage of unique units available and finding the right balance to suit your playstyle is as much a puzzle as anything you’ll encounter on the battlefield.

If you get bored of taking on the lengthy campaign mode, there’s a quick battle option as well as local multiplayer, including single card download play. Whilst the addition of online multiplayer would have been the icing on the cake, being able to play with only one cartridge is a boon and one that should help rope your friends into some friendly might and magicking.

In screenshots Clash of Heroes looks like your standard 16-bit styled RPG, and that’s a fair assessment. The sprites are undeniably cutesy and there’s some nice animation flourishes, though oddly you never see the backs of any heads. The battlefields are sparse but units move well and, crucially, everything is clear and easy to focus on in the midst of battle. Some suitably militaristic music booms along in the background and there are the usual thuds and thwacks when units clash, but it’s safe to say you won’t be rushing out to find the game’s soundtrack CD any time soon.

Conclusion

The real beauty of Clash of Heroes is it manages to feel like a good RPG and a great puzzler simultaneously. There’s enough value in both sides of the coin to please fans of either genre, and quick play mode thrives on the “one more go” puzzle philosophy. Although the dialogue and storyline carry very few surprises, the strength of the combat glosses over any fluffed lines. There’s no finer puzzle RPG on the market, making this a must-have for anyone who likes a bit of plot with their puzzles.

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User Comments (24)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#1

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Yeah, this is getting rip roaring reviews of around 9/10 from reputeable reviewers such as yoursleves. Reads like a ds classic and one of the best games on the ds. I'm not into rpgs (even though I am into puzzles) so this puzzle rpg isn't for me; though I'm very tempted.

Great review btw, thanks

3230ru

#2

3230ru said:

every time reading about this game I was wondering how exactly they mixed those genres. now I know. thanx!

ReZon

#3

ReZon said:

This is one of the best games on the DS, and easily the best DS game of 2009 (NA) in my opinion.

motang

#5

motang said:

I been contemplating about this one, but after reading this review I want to play it. Will be picking this up soon.

suburban_sensei

#7

suburban_sensei said:

I know of a few podcasts that were talking about how wonderful this game is. People on the podcast that weren't even huge DS fans, so that says something about the quality of the game. I think I see a purchase in the near future ;).

moomoo

#8

moomoo said:

I loved this game. Everyone, buy it! It deserves every great score it gets.

WolfRamHeart

#9

WolfRamHeart said:

Brilliant review Prosody. This game is excellent. It is one of my all-time favorite DS games and I urge everyone out there to pick up a copy.

CanisWolfred

#11

CanisWolfred said:

Yeah, I've been interested in this one for quite some time. I can never find it in stores, though.

Rerun

#12

Rerun said:

Good game. I'm just saving up to buy this. I already pre-ordered Infinite Space. I wonder if they'd sell this on discount though.

axelay80

#13

axelay80 said:

I agree with ReZon. This was definitely the best DS game of 2009. Capy (the developers) have flawlessly created an rpg-puzzle hybrid that, with just a few simple rules and the randomness of troop placement, becomes insanely addicting in an instant.

MERG

#14

MERG said:

Perfect timing for this review...not! I was just out shopping for a game last night and saw this...but went for Fire Emblem - Shadow Dragon. Oh well...next time.

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#16

JonWahlgren said:

I'm sadly a little bogged down for DS games, but this one is definitely on my radar now. I love Critter Crunch so I'll play pretty much any puzzle-type game Capybara whips up.

Mikarlo

#17

Mikarlo said:

Woo-Whoo! :D

I was finally able to snag me a copy of this little gem last Thursday. But, like Panda above me, I just can't get to it right now as I've got several other games going...plus FFXIII in less than 2 days! But it is definitely on top of the DS pile.

It looks really good and I'm looking forward to when I can get the time to really get into M&M:CoH!

dcoughler

#18

dcoughler said:

I purchased it after reading the review, and I have zero regrets, other than I didn't buy it sooner! Unfortunately, I've got a lot of DS games on my plate right now (Zelda:PHG and Zelda:ST, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario 64 DS), plus Pokemon SS/HG comes out on Sunday! Between work and a 4-month old, game time is scarce! ;-)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#21

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I actually went ahead and purchased this and:

1. One of the best games I have ever played and I have played prob a couple of hundred.
2. Prob the best match 3 game by far. I really like match 3 games as well.
3. Doesn't matter if you're not into RPGs or Puzzle games - essential purchase.

Broodstar

#22

Broodstar said:

I don't like match 3 games, as i didn't liked Puzzle Quest.

But this is different, this game makes sense, all the formations and combos have a sense: they really are offensive and defensive battle formations, not just some colored thingies that needs to be united...
While you puzzle your army on the battlefield you'll end up creating real strategies: protect where the enemy is going to attack and attack where the enemy is weak :)

I was skeptical when i bought this game, and I've ended playing only Might and Magic (i've put aside FF IV, GTA, etc.).
Great game, a must have on DS

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