Best Games - Might and Magic Clash of Heroes
During the reign of the nintendo DS a cavalcade of excellent games poured out of development studios and onto that small, two screened console. Many of them were overlooked, or had one or two weeks of notoriety before the next release from Level-5 or Capcom or Nintendo themselves launched, completely eclipsing any smaller releases.
Might and Magic is a name that can catch the attention of long time PC gamers, but outside of that small audience, the name really doesn’t count for much. Add to that, the fact that Clash of Heroes is only very tangentially related to the rest of the Might and Magic series. This game was doomed to obscurity from the jump. That’s an incredible shame, because Clash of Heroes might be one of the finest strategy games made in the last several years.
The meat of Clash of Heroes is matching three, or more, like items to create some effect. This lead a lot of review outlets to classify it as a puzzle game. This assessment could not be more wrong. There is nothing puzzle game about it. In Clash of Heroes you will match 3, but the game is not a match 3 game. That is just the mechanism by which you mete out your moves.
Three in a row vertically is an attack move and three in a row horizontally builds a defensive wall. Defence enacts as soon as you play it, but attack will take a different amount of turns to charge up depending on the type of attack and units involved. The real game is looking for holes in your opponent's defence while shoring up your own, using very limited resources. When you find yourself looking to set up attacks and counters 2 or 3 turns from now, anticipating moves your opponent will make, you notice how deviously clever and simple a strategy game Clash of Heroes really is. It has more in common with othello than bejewelled.
There is one mechanic that completely cements Clash of Heroes as a strategy game. Rather than being completely formulaic like chess, Clash of Heroes contains one random element. The placement of pieces on the board is completely unknown when you start the game. After pieces are removed from the board you are able to replenish them by hitting the reinforce button. The new pieces slide in behind your existing ranks only semi-randomly. The game will never create a match three on it’s own. Only the player can do that, either by moving or removing a piece. When the new reinforcements enter the board, you can be absolutely sure of the places they won’t be. Depending on the way the board is already set up, a lot of the time that also means that you will know where they will end up too. This lets you start planning new moves. If you added elements of a deck building card game to chess, Clash of Heroes would be the result.
When you pile on the variety of unique units, the cutesy but solid art, and the serviceable and sometimes grin inducing story, you end up with a game that didn’t receive the attention it deserved. It is currently available on every platform you can touch or plug a controller into, so maybe someday it will be recognized as the true classic it is.
Might and Magic Clash of Heroes is one of the best games.