It feels like we’re currently in a golden age of puzzle gaming, but this isn’t the first time that puzzle games have taken the world by storm. Back in the late noughties some genius developers realised that combining match three games with fantasy RPGs could lead to some seriously entertaining games. First came Puzzle Quest, but the game that stole my heart was Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. Even more people will get to try out this fantastic puzzler soon, because Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition is here on modern consoles.
The world of Ashan is under attack from a demonic otherworldly force, and it’s turning the five kingdoms against each other. With all the world leaders brutally murdered by this devilish foe, the only ones left to save the day are their young heirs. You’ll need to gather allies, legendary units and powerful artefacts from across the land if you want to win this war, so get ready for an epic fantasy adventure full of drama and battles.
Each combat encounter in Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes takes place across two halves of the screen, the top half belonging to the enemy and the bottom belonging to you. Both of these areas are filled with coloured units, and on your turn you can pick them up and drop them wherever you want. By lining up three identical units vertically you’ll activate them and a few turns later they’ll charge at the enemy, whereas lining them horizontally will turn them into a defensive wall.
Once a unit has charged up and is ready to attack, it’ll head straight upwards into the enemy forces. If it’s strong enough it’ll take down any walls and units in the way and reach the back of the army and deal damage to the enemy commander. Winning is (usually) as simple as dealing enough damage to reduce their HP to zero, but that’s easier said than done when the enemy is trying to do the same to you.
One way to get the edge over your opponents is to delete individual units to set off chains of matches and gain extra turns. You can also activate units of the same colour at the same time to set up a combo, which powers up the units enabling them to deal more damage. There are a lot of intricacies to this fantasy puzzle game, and you’ll need to keep them in mind if you want to deal some serious damage.
Another thing you’ll need to keep in mind are the differences between each of the units. You’ll start with simple archers that attack really quickly but don’t deal a ton of damage, but soon you’ll get hard hitting bears, soldiers, and even elite units. These special units are way more powerful than the rest of your army, with powerful special abilities like the deer that can jump over enemy walls, or the Treant that drains HP from the enemy and gives it to you. You’ll unlock all sorts of mythical creatures as you play, and can level them up to make them stronger too.
That’s right – Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes isn’t just about puzzle gameplay, it’s a full blown RPG. You’ll gain experience for your general and units after every battle, as well as resources to buy elite units and equipment that will add some interesting passive buffs to your team. The progression is really satisfying, and will ensure you stay interested for the entire lengthy campaign.
The story isn’t just made up of back to back battles either, there’s a world to explore, side quests, puzzles and boss fights packed into the twenty hour runtime. Separated into different chapters where you control different armies, there’s a wonderful amount of variety in this engaging puzzler.
Once you’re finally done with the main campaign, you can head into versus mode and take on bots, local friends or people across the globe. With a variety of different characters and units to use in this competitive mode it’s a blast taking on your friends, and it’s certainly a lot easier than online play was on the DS.
There’s not a whole lot to complain about in Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition, but calling it the definitive edition does feel a bit cheeky. The visual overhaul isn’t exactly jaw dropping, and the additional content is a single piece of non-story DLC. It’s a good job that the game was so good the first time around, and still feels fresh today.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition is a wonderful match three RPG that’s just as good in 2023 as it was in 2009. The army battles are thoughtful and engaging, and the campaign manages to change things up constantly throughout the twenty hour runtime. The Definitive Edition doesn’t add a whole lot of content, but if you missed it the first time around then this is your chance to play a classic that’s aged like a fine wine.
A fantastic puzzle RPG brought back for the modern era
Loads of interesting units to experiment with
Stays varied for the whole campaign
Lots of extra fun to be had in versus mode
Barely any extra content for the Definitive Edition
The story isn't always that engaging