I never got around to playing Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes back when it originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2009, but now, with its revamped ‘definitive edition’ release fourteen years on, I can’t get enough of it. I’ve always been a fan of match-three puzzlers anyway, but the addition of RPG mechanics and an engrossing single player campaign here has ensured that Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition has kept me completely hooked in.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The action of Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes takes place on a vertical battlefield, with the player’s units attacking from the bottom and the enemy’s units from the top. Players take turns to move their units around, with each unit being represented by a different colour. If you match three of the same-coloured units together they activate, with a turn-counter put in place to determine when they’ll perform an action. This action is determined by the shape of the unit when the colours are matched together – if they’re horizontal, they’ll set up a defensive wall, but if they’re vertical, they’ll attack at the enemy. The goal is to clear enough of the enemy units so you have a clear pathway to attack your rival commander, so you’ll have to carefully coordinate your attacks and weaken your rival’s defences strategically before you’re able to damage the commander directly. But when you do wipe out the commander’s health? You win.
The core gameplay mechanics follow a simple setup that will be familiar to anyone who has played a match-three puzzler before, but there are some other factors in play that make this a lot more interesting. For one, the units are of varying strength and have different abilities, so whilst you can unleash an attack, you might not necessarily defeat an opponent’s units straight away. Alternatively, some units may have attacks that deal lasting damage or that can even bypass an enemy’s defences, so there’s a surprising amount of strategy to be found in the setup of your army. Of course, utilising their abilities is determined by their position on the battlefield, so you have to carefully position each unit on your turn in order to make the most of them – you can even straight up remove units if you prefer, which will weaken the number of units you have at your disposal, but also allows you to be more flexible in order to match up multiple colours at once.
“In many ways, it shares a lot of similarities with a typical RPG (and in some ways an RTS), but it feels streamlined enough so that it’s never overwhelming to the player, all whilst allowing them to shape their setup to best suit their playstyle.”
You’re also able to upgrade your units and unlock new ones as you progress, with a lot of depth found in Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes’ more RPG-driven mechanics. There are a lot of different elements of your army that you’re able to fine-tune, whether that’s when determining which special units to take into battle, which units to upgrade, or even how you spend your in-game cash to strengthen their capabilities. In many ways, it shares a lot of similarities with a typical RPG (and in some ways an RTS), but it feels streamlined enough so that it’s never overwhelming to the player, all whilst allowing them to shape their setup to best suit their playstyle.
It’s just a really fun and addictive experience, with each battle you win followed by that ‘one more go’… and another… and another, until you’ve eventually spent hours on end matching up colours. The whole experience is further strengthened by a story-driven single-player campaign that sees players working to build an army and form alliances in order to vanquish an evil threat that has struck the land of Ashan. It’ll easily take more than twenty-hours to see everything that Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes’ campaignhas to offer, with a whole node-based world to explore, plenty of characters to interact with, an abundance of side quests to complete, and, of course, a LOT of enemies to conquer. It’s meaty, but does enough in-between all of the battling to ensure that the core match-three mechanics never grow tiresome when playing.
Check out some screenshots down below:
And if you don’t fancy playing solo? You can jump into online multiplayer, with the option to face off in either one-versus-one or two-versus-two battles with varying commanders. Not only is this a fun way to experience Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes’ gameplay, but it also allows players to tinker with commanders and units that are not available in the main campaign, which is always cool to see. And if you don’t like playing with others? You can use them in solo quick battles, with the game actually ideal for quick blasts here and there when you fancy some strategic-puzzling action.
That being said, whilst I’ve had a ton of fun playing, I wouldn’t recommend playing the game if you’re not a fan of the match-three genre. Whilst Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes has plenty of tricks up its sleeve that ensures it’s more interesting and deeper than similar titles, it still plays like a puzzler where you’ve got to be creative and clever at… well… ‘matching three’ if you want to get the upper hand over your foe. If you haven’t enjoyed that sort of thing before, I don’t think you’ll be swayed by what Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes has to offer – even IF it is the most interesting and enjoyable match-three puzzler that I’ve played.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - Definitive Edition Review
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition adds a strategic twist to the match-three formula that makes it a blast to play. Whether battling through the meaty single player campaign, facing off against friends and strangers online, or having a quick battle alone, there’s plenty of fun to be had as you use your robust roster of units to dismantle your enemy’s defences.
It adds a deceptively deep amount of strategy to the otherwise straight-forward match-three formula, but in doing so offers one heck of a satisfying puzzle experience that’s easy to pick up and play, but very, VERY hard to put down.
Developer: Dotemu, Capybara Games
Publisher: Dotemu, Camera Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch