I admit, I've never played a Might and Magic game before. I never had friends into the series, and thus I only knew about the series in passing through reading various websites and hearing about it at conventions. That being said, I went into Capybara Games with very little knowledge about the game, but as soon as I was handed the cartridge for Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, I immediately found myself thrown into a conflict of puzzling proportions.
"I found myself completely enamored with it."
Clash of Heroes is a spin-off from the regular Might and Magic series, sporting a really addictive battle system that involves colour matching. Each squadron the player has is marked by a colour, and the more unions the player creates during battle, the better chance the player has at slaying the enemy's lead unit. Players must line up three of the same units in order to either defend or attack. By placing three or more units horizontally, the units will create a barrier to defend from attacks, whereas placing the characters vertically places them in an attacking formation. The types of troops used determines how long it takes for the troop's attack to charge. For example, by using a hunter, it only takes one round to charge an attack, while using a medium sized unit like a deer takes three turns to charge an attack. Players can also fuse their smaller troops with medium sized units to create devastating attacks, or if units are of the same class, side by side, they can link together to create even stronger attacks.
The main focus of the battles is to destroy the main enemy unit, but this is no easy task. The leaders will often send enough reinforcements to clutter the board, and it is the player's job to remove as many units as they can so that they can target the leader. As the player's own units deplete, by clicking the right shoulder button they can send in reinforcements of their own as needed. Players receive three turns each round to create as many chains and unions as possible. There are also many different types of troops such as hunters, pixies, bears, deer, druids and many more. You are also limited to three regular types of units (such as hunters, pixies and bears) and two medium sized units (like deer and druids). Having smaller units fuse with a medium sized unit of the same colour fuse with a medium sized unit of the same colour strengthens the player's attacks. The more units the player fuses, the stronger they will become.
Not every battle is limited to just defeating the leader unit, however. There are numerous special battles where the victory condition differs depending on the situation. In one scenario, two loggers are cutting down a tree and are moving back and forth each turn. In another case, there are rescue missions that require the player to not attack the friendly unit on the top screen. However, this can be tricky, as the unit moves about the screen, changing positions each round. It is very easy to accidentally shoot that moving unit depending on the units created. Thankfully, each union has a certain amount of time that has to expire before they can attack so there is some hope that the guest unit will move out of the way.
I can easily say that Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes has one of the most unique and addictive battle systems I've ever encountered. I found myself completely enamored with it, constantly wanting to pick fights with people just so I could keep playing it. The game also offers a quick play mode and a multiplayer mode, though keep in mind, it is local only. Think of playing Clash of Heroes as a game of chess – it requires a lot of strategy, but the moves of the opposing side are always going to be unpredictable. Story-wise, players have five different campaigns to complete, each with their own special story to tell. Each hero has their own back story and specific goal that they are trying to accomplish, and each one of them comes with their own "hero attack" which can be used in combat as a quick way to clear enemies off the board.
It's a shame that there hasn't been a lot said about Capybara's unique RPG/puzzle hybrid Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. It's a game that seems to have gone under the mainstream radar, but after spending a few hours with the game, I have to say that Capybara's made a real winner with this title, as Clash of Heroes is one unique game experience that RPG and puzzle fans alike won't want to miss.