Clash of Heroes is a sublime mixture of RPG, strategy game and - surprisingly - a match-three puzzler. Its gorgeous, colourful art style invites you into a deep world reminiscent of classic Japanese RPGs like Rogue Galaxy and Dragon Quest VIII, and its challenging battle system keeps you there for hours. We're talking 15-20 easily. This is, for all intents and purposes, a console-scale game on iPad. Oh, and it's £2.99.
The story is classic fantasy fare. In a Tolkien-inspired world, a war between demons and decent folk (Elves, Knights and the like) erupts after a special sword is swiped by a power-hungry ne'er-do-well who looks a little like Satan from the South Park Movie. Playing as a selection of heroes, it's your job to retrieve the blade and save the world. You do that via, er, a series of smart match-three puzzle battles...
Fighting in Clash of Heroes is turn-based. You get a handful of moves to form attacking or defensive units, with the aim of inflicting damage on your enemy's end-zone. Placing three units in a horizontal row creates a defensive wall to absorb attacks, while placing three vertically forms an offensive group that charges or fires on your opponent. From these basic rules you get special units, and you can link or combine attack/defence to make your actions even stronger.
Sounds complicated - it really isn't, and the language used to explain the battle system is both clear and extremely informative. Too many games try to hurl everything at you right at the start - Clash of Heroes lets you get comfortable with its battling at a steady pace, and never punishes you for early mistakes. Even the interface is wonderfully clean, so you'll never find yourself tapping through endless menus to find out basic information.
There are a few problems - the game struggles on original iPads, even those running iOS5+, sometimes the level navigation isn't very clear (you simply can't work out where to go), and the story occasionally waffles longer than it should; but these are small complaints.
There's multiplayer too, letting you battle with friends, and you can win exclusive artefacts for your characters by doing so. It's the cherry on top of an already generous helping of charming adventure gaming. Many iOS titles struggle to justify their asking price on the App Store - even the 69p cheapies - but Might & Magic Clash of Heroes is an absolute bargain.
A wonderful, engaging and ambitious fantasy adventure that combines the best of classic RPGs and smart, match-three puzzle gaming. Essential.
- Looks beautiful, even on original iPads
- Masses of game to explore
- Smart turn-based battle system
- Occasional crashes