Celeste Dobropolski On December 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm

If you think Nintendo releases are the only thing out there for the DS besides RPG remakes and the Imagine series, think again.  As much as I can’t stand Ubisoft for plaguing game stores with their horrible misspellings of abominably asinine game content, I have to give them credit for their release of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes.  If you enjoy tactical RPGs and puzzles, you will be hardpressed to find fault in this game.  Now when I say puzzles, I don’t mean Sudoku or Poppit.  These battles will have you scratching your noggin and potentially throwing your DS at hard objects (though the latter is highly unrecommended.)  But believe me, this is a good thing.

When Ubisoft purchased the Might and Magic series, they gave it a reboot with brand new hardware.  The first game they launched was Heroes of Might and Magic V, which, ironically, did not serve as a story continuum to its 3DO predecessors.  That aside, Ubisoft managed to maintain a disjointed continuity, if you will, with their DS release of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes.  The story of this game serves as a prequel to the events in Heroes V, and despite being on a different platform and of a different genre, it works.  Clash of Heroes, while having a storyline that springs along and is interestingly woven, does not lend itself to entirely story driven gameplay as with many RPGs.  The puzzle-system that is in place for battles is deceivingly simple.

 This is one of those cases of "easy to learn, difficult to master."  Movement in the puzzle is limited to the last row of your troops.  You have three colors of troops, and, guess what: you get to match three or more of the same color!  Sound inane?  Hardly.  Creating a column of like colored combatants creates an attack, while a row creates a defensive barrier.  There are different types of troops with different abilities, such as archers, who get to attack first but have blunted attacks compared to swordsmen.  There are also special soldiers who take longer to charge, but have devastating results to the enemy team when deployed.  Add to these special troops special artifacts which are equipped prior to battle and offer perks such as the ability to continue the battle after biting the dust once.  These are all earned through winning battles along the main storyline, while winning subplot battles will gain one experience and wealth.  Learning subtleties of battle can prove to be more difficult than you might initially guess, and the process will consume a large chunk of gameplay.

I know it sounds like I shortchanged the story here, but one of the most compelling implementations the game has to offer is the rotating point-of-view between all of the game’s protagonists.  This serves true to the title of the game.  Just when you settle in to playing an elf from the woods and campaigning with a bevy of magical beings, you are thrust into the city life to fight as a prince with scores of armorclad knights.  It’s a tactic that not only keeps the story fresh, but the array of battle tactics varied, as well.  Not all battles are in line with the story, as I mentioned earlier.  Side battles such as bounties and tactical puzzles are useful in building up enough experience and money to win harder battles down the road.  You are also able to unlock characters to use in multiplayer mode.  This enables you to take on your buddies in local challenges.  No online mode is available, unfortunately.

Now I’m going to say mean things so I don’t sound totally enamored.  Okay, so it’s not really mean, but this game, while rated E and containing no offensive content, is not for kids.  The puzzles require extensive critical thinking of the brain rattling sort even for those adult-type gamers out there.  If you are thinking of purchasing this for your five-year-old son or sister, I’d have to tell you to just buy it for yourself, instead.  Be prepared to fail, and fail multiple times.  My biggest gripe with the game is its lack of direction for battle progression.  You will have instances of five possible battles, and nearly every single one of them will beat you so hard you might feel compelled to visit your mother for consolation.  That said, there are always ways to progress in the game, but the game itself does a poor job of hinting which battles you should attempt first before you waste twenty minutes on a pointless skirmish.

There’s not much more I can tell you about Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes without spoiling the fun of playing this title.  I will say that Ubisoft managed to resurrect Might and Magic using innovation while leaving what made the series dear to us.  Definitely run out and pick up this title if you enjoy tactical RPGs and challenging puzzles.


Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. Hard, hard, hard, hard, hard.


As cute and deceptive as an RPG can get. Beautiful hand-drawn pieces of art during cutscenes accompany stylishly simple 2D gameplay images.


No overwhelming voice work to worry about. The music, comprised of some original works and variations of existing Heroes of Might and Magic themes, is moving without reaching the point of annoyance.


I highly recommend this game to those who enjoy well-thought-out tactical RPGs or just critical thinking puzzles in general. This game will give you many hours of stimulating and enjoyable gameplay to take on the go. This is also a refreshing way to return to a series that had its history in non-portable form.

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