Video games have an opportunity to introduce new gameplay and principles. If done right, they can make for amazing and memorable experiences. Many years ago, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes was introduced on the Nintendo DS. This adaptation of the turn-based fantasy game series Might & Magic had an incredible impression on players. Now, in 2023, Dotemu has brought the DS classic back to life in the form of Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition. This remaster of the unique RPG once again bedazzles with its unique approach to gameplay with refreshing visuals and a captivating story.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition was first released on the Nintendo DS in 2011. It is based on the long-running fantasy franchise Might & Magic, and its spinoff, Heroes of Might and Magic. After a rich history on PCs, Capybara Games took their own take on the franchise with Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes.
The original release put Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes puts players into a magical realm of Ashan. A special band of warriors inhabits these lands, bringing peace to their respective kingdoms. A sinister reptilian demon bursts through the skies and shatters the peace, bringing death and destruction across the land. Only these heroes have a hope of stopping the incoming darkness.
Once Upon a Time
The gameplay for Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes was unique in that the overall execution combined various gameplay types. The game featured RPG elements, turn-based elements, and match 3 gameplay to make for a unique style of combat and engagement. On the DS, the dual screen interfaced well with the unique gameplay mechanics.
The 2011 game was lauded for being an original and new concept. The gameplay was remarkably set apart from its predecessors but was executed so well, it was impossible not to be impressed. Even Edge Magazine said, “Even if the DNA of its forebears is barely apparent, such a bold, brilliant transformation certainly involves something a little like magic.” In 2023, those same great qualities can be said in this definite release.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition brings that unique gameplay to the present, providing an exciting gameplay loop for those willing to learn it. The same combat and interface returns with a few adjustments to fight the Nintendo Switch.
Adventuring in Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition puts players on a gameboard-like environment, moving from place to place.Players adventure to different areas, retrieving resources and gold to construct units. Occasionally, players are ambushed by monsters or encounter opportunities for secondary quests. Sharp animation and illustration accompany the movement and the story, which includes voiced narration at times.
Might, magic, and video games
The gameplay starts off slowly but quickly ramps up over time. Each combat scenario features rows of units. Each unit has their own abilities in attacking enemies and raising defenses. Beyond the rows of enemies is a barrier; attacking this is the key to victory. Bringing the barrier points down to zero secures a victory.
To initiate attacks, players organize units to the corresponding color. Placing rows of 3 units of the same color vertically prepares for an attack. Placing certain units horizontally builds a defensive wall while Elite Units can be used to blast through the opposition. An MP gauge builds over time to unleash a powerful spell as well.
Battles build slowly but steadily. A few rows of grunts turn into hordes of monsters and demons. In a cosmic way, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition begins to become something of a tactical puzzler that meets eclectic titles like Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine.
Some battles are slow and others are fast-paced. Some are a piece of cake and others need multiple runs to achieve victory. Leveling up and balancing units is essential for victory, especially as the demons grow stronger. Battles don’t become so incredibly difficult that there’s no path forward, but they do feature meticulous and intricate puzzles to solve. Placing a unit in the wrong place can be disastrous.
Mind over Matter
The gameplay that shined brightly in 2009 is back again and easily becomes another knockout for the gaming scene. There are many thoughts that go into each turn. Finding an empty row is more important than engaging the enemy, but engaging an enemy might prevent them from taking down HP. It’s a careful balancing act of offense and defense; coupled with a strong sound presentation, the gameplay is a winner and unlike anything else out there.
If there’s any gripes or setbacks to the gameplay, it would be the learning curve. Playing takes some getting used to and some ma have to replay the tutorial several times. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition is by no means an incredibly challenging game, but it is something that does require a fair bit of learning.
I originally thought Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition played something like Tetris but I was sorely wrong the more I played. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is not inaccessible, but it isn’t picked up and played right away either.
Very Magic, Much Might
An additional setback is progression. The game is divided into multiple zones, each featuring one hero. Players can spend many hours in one zone, competing quests before ridding the specific land of demons. However, upon moving to the next zone, players are in role of a new character, and XP and equipment do not carry over. In a way, it’s starting over again. If one thinks of each zone in the game as its own unique adventure, it makes the jarring move easier to accept.
Dotemu did a fantastic job updating the game for modern audiences. The entire 20+ hour campaign is here with gorgeous visuals and presentation. The controls feel remarkably responsive and after the tutorials, the game is sharp in delivering a unique adventure.
With multiple zones to explore, players can lose many hours to the campaign. The included DLC even lets you take control of the bad guys, something rarely seen these days. Finally, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition does feature online and offline PvP multiplayer for those that really want to test their might.
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition wins the battle
Triumphantly, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition is one of the most exciting releases in 2023 and another fine example of Dotemu polishing a gem for modern audiences. It’s unique gameplay takes getting sued to but is otherwise a blast once players sink their teeth into it. With a rousing presentation and unique gameplay, there is plenty of magic to be enjoyed in Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes – Definitive Edition.