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SummaryNot your average Might & Magic.
- Original, well thought out game play mechanics
- Fun, challenging boss fights
- Fantastic artwork
- Long campaign mode with lots of side quests
- Some genuinely funny moments
- Some battles feel a bit too influenced by luck
- Too easy to lose expensive units
- Music can get repetitive
- Not much to do outside the campaign
The Bottom LineTrouble has befallen the world of Ashan, with the Demon Hordes of Sheogh plotting a scheme of epic proportions, and... ok, do you really need to know all this? Let's sum it up this way: Bad mojo going down, get out there and stop it. You control five characters over the course of your journey, all of which have a vested interest in stopping the evil that threatens the land (interest of the you-killed-my-family variety), so this is a little off the beaten path of your typical "fight for honor and justice" RPG plot.
Regardless of how you feel about the storyline, you have to admit that Clash of Heroes is a truly unique game. The fusion of match-3 puzzle mechanics and tactical strategy is seamless and addictive. The game mechanics do create some contextually hilarious situations (you'll likely laugh out loud the first time you see some of your soldiers literally turn into walls), the strategic underpinnings of the battles in Clash of Heroes make up for it, and you'll see why the game designers chose to devise the system as they did.
As satisfying as the game play is, there's certainly room for improvement. Because your soldiers set up in completely random arrangements, you will probably feel that some of your encounters are more guided by lady luck's hand then your own. Sometimes you'll be able to set up formations with the greatest of ease, while in others you'll spend precious turns rearranging your units while your opponent rains attacks down on you.
Clash of Heroes main attraction is the campaign mode, which takes you through the above mentioned storyline. During the course of your journey, you'll acquire new types of unit, gain experience from battle and grow in power, find ancient artifacts to help augment your abilities, and get into some pretty unique boss encounters. In fact, the boss fights are the high point of the campaign, because they almost always take on a different formula from the usual "kill the enemy leader" battles. Sometimes, you'll have to hit specific targets behind ranks of soldiers in order to win, while other times you'll be faced with a giant, powerful monster that will move around the battlefield and launch punishing attacks.
My only complaint concerning the campaign centers around the more powerful units -- they're expensive, they take up a lot of room on the battlefield, and until you get them into a formation, they can be killed in one shot by any other unit in the game. It gets a bit frustrating to watch your expensive units go down so easily, to the point where you might reload a previous save and retry a battle you already won just to see if you can get through it again without losing so much money.
I should quickly mention the artwork -- despite the fact that Might and Magic is a western RPG series, the anime style used for this game fits very well. All of the cut scenes used in this game are terrific -- the composition, color scheme, and design of all the characters is dead-on.
There's even some humor injected into the narrative, which does a lot to add life to an otherwise typical high-fantasy narrative. During your travels, you'll encounter a drunken guardsman who insists on referring to you as "fancy boy" as well as an undead dragon and his warrior slayer that continue bickering in the afterlife.
The only other thing I can say against COH is the fact that once you're done with the campaign, you're done. There are single battles you can play to hone your skills, and you can jump onto the wi-fi and play against your friends, but the core of the game lies in the campaign. In its defense, the campaign will likely take you 20 hours or more to complete, which still makes COH longer than your average DS game.
Whether you like puzzle games, strategy games, or RPGs, Clash of Heroes is certainly worth a look. Addictive game play coupled with strong art direction and even some decent writing makes this a strong title regardless of how many people might actually pick it up. Just don't expect a traditional Might and Magic game, because Clash of Heroes is a very different creature indeed.