The confusingly title-inverted Might and Magic Heroes VI will be with us very soon – I have review code right here, in fact – but also and already added to the endless and deathless M&M ranks is Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, a resolution-embiggened port of the turn-based strategy/RPG/match 3 oddity that first showed up on Nintendo’s DS pocket-toy. It’s on sale now, and there’s also a demo. I took some crazed/amazed/irritated/bemused notes as I played through the demo (not the full game, which I can’t speak for), which I’ve now removed all (or most, anyway) of the grammatical abuse and typos from for you below.
– Elves are mentioned within two seconds of the game starting. Yep, this is a fantasy game alright. Maybe we should rip off Old Man Murray and introduce a Start To Elf rating?
– This semi-animated and very long expository introduction is extremely tiresome. If I’d bought this on DS I’d be pretty annoyed by how much battery had been wasted before I’d even started playing.
– Oh, they’ve won me back at Necromancers. I love a bit of necromancy.
– And only now do we get to whatever the actual threat to all this wibbling lore actually is. And it’s the cutest demon I’ve ever seen.
– Nope, can’t stand any more of this intro, skipped.
– And we’re in. It looks slightly like Bastion, but less distinctive, more soft-focused. Better than grimdark, I guess.
– I’m still not playing. Child-like characters are still talking. STOP TALKING.
– Why does every character look like a child in fancy dress? Even the bearded men?
– OK, this is odd. You don’t have any freedom of movement as such, and can only move via ‘nodes’, arbitrary circular markings on the ground. feels really limiting, and reveals the handheld roots somewhat.
– That’s quite sweet – it shows a Tom and Jerry style fight cloud when enemies rush at you, before you drop into the fight proper.
– It’s a row of my eleves against a row of demonic dogs. Only there’s no direct fighting between them – instead I have to form my units into stacks of the same colour; when 3 are put into vertical lines, that becomes an Attack at the end of my turn. This isn’t how fighting usually works, is it? Maybe that’s why I got a bit bullied at school. If I’d hung around with people wearing the same colour clothes as me, everything would have been fine.
– You can also arrange them into defensive walls by forming horizontal rather than vertical groups of 3.
– So depending on where your attacks are positioned, they’ll either neutralise enemy units/attacks or take hit points off the off-screen enemy leader, who you need to defeat to win the battle.
– So it’s sort of Match 3 with Elves, then. There’s even an option to remove units of colours you don’t want in order to help form matching colours. This is a deeply odd game – clever and bold in a way, but the arbitrary nature of the colour matching clashes with the turn-based strategy part of my brain. IT FEELS SO WRONG.
– And also an annoying one, between the Nintendian bleeps whenever you do anything and the seemingly endless exposition and achingly dramatic music.
– Oh no, another cutscene. I can’t bear it. Time to hammer Escape to try and skip and… oh, it’s crashed.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is out now – you can buy it or download its demo via Steam.