Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
The Heroes of Might and Magic games were among my favourites growing up, with their big operatic scores and lovely turn-based strategising. They’re very simple things but beautifully presented and much calmer than their genre stablemates. Clash of Heroes [Steam page] is similarly pretty and calm. It lacks the kingdom management of HOMM but has a much more interesting combat system.
It’s a good job the combat system is good because the entire game is about duffing up baddies. Maps are a series of points, some containing battles or NPCs to chat to, and others containing little encounters or shops. The fights take the form of a strange and, to my knowledge, unique game that involves creating offensive and defensive combinations of units, stacked up in lines and rows. Simple to play but increasingly complex to master, it’s a delight, and its beautifully and clearly presented.
Clash of Heroes doesn’t feel at all intimidating. It sells the central mechanic of the tactical combat system by wrapping it in a simple story, with just enough sidequests and basic exploration to avoid a sense of being pushed from one battle into the next. Underneath the friendly exterior there’s a tough nut to crack. It might not be quite as approachable as Puzzle Quest, but it deserved to have a similar level of success and is much more appealing to anyone who wants a little more depth in their fantasy scraps.