Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD is a deceptive game. It has a colorful, vivid animation style reminiscent of children’s cartoons, but its gameplay is deep and cerebral, and its narrative is surprisingly morbid and engrossing. The two seemingly clashing styles work surprisingly well together to create one of the more addicting puzzle-strategy games I’ve played since, well, the original Clash of Heroes on the Nintendo DS.
For those who’ve played the original on the DS, Clash of Heroes HD is essentially the same game with considerably more striking, gorgeous visuals. All the single units are beautifully animated, and the new environments pop in a way you wouldn’t have even imagined while playing it on the handheld console.
For those new to the game, Clash of Heroes HD is a tactical puzzle-RPG of sorts, in the vein of Puzzle Quest, except completely different, if that makes sense. There’s an overarching narrative that you experience while walking from point to point and battling enemies, except you don’t exactly “fight” enemies. When you engage in combat with said opponents, the game turns into an odd mix of chess, Bejeweled, and Advance Wars.
It’s quite difficult to explain on paper, so let me just say this: the gameplay is impressively deep and tough, and you’ll find yourself addicted to it for hours on end. I’d already played through the game twice before, yet I still found myself being caught up in the campaign for five straight hours like it was nothing.
As I mentioned, the narrative is one that’s actually somewhat engaging, especially for a puzzle game. It’s your typical “fantasy world on the brink of evil world domination so you must retrieve a legendary artifact to save the world” fare, but it’s presented in a way that’s refreshingly morose, and makes you care about the characters. The campaign is played via separate chapters wherein you control separate characters, only for all of them to converge in the final chapter. It works well, and does enough to make it so that you’re not fatigued by all the puzzle play, if that’s even possible.
Additionally, there’s a multiplayer mode this time around that’ll hold your interest for quite a bit as well. As is typical of most non-Call of Duty games these days, the multiplayer terrain is a bit sparse in terms of activity, but when you manage to find an adversary, it’s quite a satisfying battle of wits.
Ultimately, Clash of Heroes HD is the same excellent game that released on the Nintendo DS, except prettied up and given more exposure. I’m extremely glad for that; most people had written off the DS game purely based on the name and box art alone, and it pained me to see so many outlets not even give it the time of day, especially when I considered it to be one of the best games of 2009. Now that it’s had a wider release on consoles, it’s truly a beautiful thing to see it getting to more gamers. Highly recommended, and one of the best games on the PSN or XBLA at the moment.
- Title: Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD
- Platform Reviewed: PS3
- Developer: Capybara Games
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Release Date: April 12-13, 2011
- MSRP: $15/1200 MS Points
- Review Copy Info: A review code of this title was provided to DualShockers, Inc. by the publisher for the purpose of this review.