Review – Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition

Mighty Magic Puzzle Clash

Overview

Developer Dotemu
Publisher Dotemu
Genre Puzzle, RPG
Platforms PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Switch, PC
Release Date July 20, 2023

Might & Magic is a classic franchise reaching back over three-and-a-half decades. With a bevy of spin-offs to bolster its 10 canonical titles, it should come as no surprise a puzzle-RPG hybrid managed to hit the shelves. Nearly 15 years after its initial release on Nintendo DS, the kind folks at Dotemu have done the work to bring Clash of Heroes to modern consoles with some improvements to boot. Is it worth your time?

Content Guide

Violence: There are animated battle charges but enemies just vanish into dust when they’re defeated.

Sexual Content: There are succubi but nothing sexual or suggestive is ever shown.

Drugs and Alcohol: There are multiple taverns where alcohol is implied but nothing is ever shown or alluded to.

Language/Crude Humor: The word “d***able” is used in the game.

Dark/Spiritual Content: The game features magic, necromancy, demons, and other standard fantasy creatures. There’s an evil sorcerer and demons trying to subvert human expectations throughout the otherwise lighthearted narrative.

Review

Despite my being an avid fan of classic fantasy and RPGs, I somehow missed the Might & Magic games. It’s not like our paths shouldn’t have crossed. I’m about the same age as the series and grew up playing computer games. Until the first release of Clash of Heroes on the DS in 2009, though, I’d never gotten my hands in that world. Despite that, the beautiful art and engaging gameplay of the puzzle RPG drew me in. With the release of the Definitive Edition, I had to go back and see how the game held up with some modernization. I’ve not been disappointed.

Set in the world of Ashan, the game follows the stories of five young protagonists after demons invade, killing several of the youths’ parents and scattering the children to various realms across the world. Players will take control of each character and play through their portion of the story in turn, engaging in puzzle battles and working to set the world right. The narrative is fairly rote fantasy with an ending that’s unlikely to surprise anyone, but the characters and their individual tales are fun and engaging.

From a puzzle standpoint, gameplay in Clash of Heroes feels great and works wonderfully to fit the game’s theme. Players are given a 10×6 grid as their portion of the battlefield. Units will spawn on the field and players will have three moves per turn to organize their units to prepare an attack or form a defensive wall. Normal units take 2-3 turns to attack where special soldiers in your armies can be bolstered by will take 4-5 turns to charge. When their preparation period is over, they unleash an attack on the column in their opponents’ field, typically trying to hit the back wall and damage your opponent’s health. Any enemy soldiers in the way will soak up some of that damage, so you’ll need to be mindful of how units are laid out. The campaign will also throw some unique challenge objectives in there on occasion to keep things spicy. The core gameplay loop is a blast. It can be fun to try out different special units, too, testing their abilities and earning them experience to level up with each battle.

For fans who just want to continue playing after the story wraps up, there are Quick Battle which lets you use a wide variety of characters with unique abilities to take on a foe, and Multiplayer, which lets you do the same against someone online. How long-lived these will be, I can’t say, but the consideration for fans to continue playing after the credits roll is a welcome one.

Clash of Heroes is a beautiful game. The team at Dotemu has done a fantastic job upping the game with gorgeous, vibrant hand-drawn sprites to replace the pixel-art ones from before, too. The cadence of the campaign does a great job spreading your journey across a variety of locales, giving us new themes to enjoy with each character. From forest to city to necropolis and beyond, the aesthetic begs you to drink it in with your eyes. It helps that enemies in each location have their own themes with similar aesthetics, too. In a game where you’re almost essentially following the same general arc for each character, the variety does a lot to keep players from disengaging. While I love the game’s look and feel, the review build I received did have a couple of minor nagging issues. The worst of these was some bizarre artifacting on screen in several places throughout the campaign.

For many fans, Clash of Heroes is a known quantity. The beautiful updated artwork makes the game feel fresh and, thanks to a fantastic core, the game is still fun and engaging after all these years. Newcomers will have a great time learning about the characters and their world. Who knows? This could even spur fans to try the numbered sequels with these characters (Heroes of Might & Magic V, for those of you interested). Whether you’re a fan of fantasy, RPG, or puzzle, Clash of Heroes will give you plenty to enjoy for a budget price. Everyone should definitely check this game out.

Review copy generously provided by Dotemu

The Bottom Line

 

The story of five young heroes saving their world is well-done if predictable, but the gameplay is addictive and the visuals are a treat you can enjoy without breaking the bank.

 

8

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Joe Morgan

Husband, gamer, software developer, animal lover. When he's not writing for GeeksUnderGrace, he's probably fishing or working on content with his wife for Coffee and Adventure, their YouTube channel

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