Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (iOS)
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a new iOS release from Ubisoft and Capybara Games. It’s available now as a $4.99 download from the App Store, with optional in-app purchases available to unlock content without having to play through the game’s single-player mode.
Clash of Heroes has actually been around for several years in one form or another — it first appeared as a Nintendo DS game in 2009, was later ported to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC as a downloadable game in 2011, and now it’s here in a Universal iOS app format. The iOS version is the same game as its console counterparts, but is $10 cheaper.
Clash of Heroes features a number of game modes, chief among which is a hefty single-player campaign that takes players through a lengthy role-playing game campaign that introduces the game mechanics, various factions and allows the player to practice their skills while enjoying the story and unlocking content for use in other modes. Supplementing this single-player mode is a full suite of “quick battle” options that allow one-off challenges against a computer-controlled opponent, “pass and play” gameplay on a single device, “face to face” gameplay (essentially the same thing, except the interface flips between turns, allowing the game to be played over a table — particularly good for iPad) and online asynchronous play via Game Center. The game also supports Game Center leaderboards and achievements, and connects with Ubisoft’s Uplay service, allowing players to earn rewards through in-game achievements.
The main component of Clash of Heroes, be it in the story-driven single-player mode or the various multiplayer modes, is two sides battling against each other using their collected armies. Battles take the form of a puzzle game with the two opponents taking turns to shift several units around in an attempt to make strategically advantageous combinations. Making a vertical stack of three identical units causes a countdown to begin and the units to attack when this expires, while lining them up horizontally often has special abilities of a more defensive nature. Each unit has its own particular specialization — some are good at dispatching defending forces, while others inflict a large amount of damage on the player character if they get through. The aim is to damage the enemy player by getting attacks through the defending forces and allowing them to cross a boundary line to inflict direct damage. The player character and their opponent also each have a special ability which gradually charges up with each turn, and the exact form that this takes depends on the character which has been selected.
Clash of Heroes is an excellent game with a wealth of content to keep players busy for a very long time, making it one of the best-value games on iOS. Even once the single-player campaign has been completed, players have the potential for long-term fun in the multiplayer modes, be they online or local. It is particularly pleasing to see local players with a single device catered to — a turn-based game such as this is ideal for friends in the same room to play together.
The only real criticisms of Clash of Heroes are that its mechanics are quite complicated and thus perhaps not as immediately engaging as similar titles such Puzzle Quest (which models its core mechanics on Bejeweled), and the fact that the app package is enormous, expanding to 2GB in size from its 500MB download once installed. Granted, it includes all the content of the HD console/PC versions, including high-resolution graphics, high-quality sound, animated video sequences and speech as well as variations on all the assets to make it a true Universal app, but 2GB is a lot of space to those who are using 8 or even 16GB devices.
Bloating issue aside, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is an extremely solid game that works well on the iOS format. The addition of well-implemented asynchronous and local multiplayer modes make this it clear this is not just a lazy port, and core gamers will be pleased to enjoy a title that offers a considerable degree more depth and satisfaction than many other puzzle games on the platform.
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An excellent game gets an excellent port.