Puzzle Quest was the first game to successfully merge the puzzle and role-playing genres, but it always felt like a first-generation effort. The level of thought and polish wasn’t there, but the gameplay was so addictive that it was worth it anyway. Now, though, we’re starting to see the next iteration of the puzzle RPG, and, at least in the case of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, it’s very good.
Developed by Capybara Games, Clash of Heroes feels a lot like their previous effort, Critter Crunch for the iPhone and PSN. You move around creatures from column to column, creating chains and combos. The depth here, though, is in the RPG system. Creatures level up and have special abilities, and that’s important, because you’re fighting an enemy that’s doing the same thing. Units trigger and attack your opponent’s lines, attempting to break through and damage the player. Each race has its own special active and passive abilities, within each race players can choose what units to use.
The gameplay doesn’t get monotonous, as the campaign switches from race to race for each chapter. Battle puzzles are brain teasers that also help you recognize combos better, and boss battles often have special requirements, like hitting a special boss unit or protecting a unit of your own.
The graphics are solid enough, and they aren’t the focus of a puzzle game so the simple legibility works nicely. The sound does get a bit repetitive, but only a few puzzles and RPGs with such replay value have managed to overcome that obstacle.
This is one of those games you rarely hear about, but those who play it absolutely love it. Be one of those who play it. You won’t regret the decision.
Pros: Intriguing battle system, solid difficulty curve
Cons: Multiplayer’s great, but few will get their hands on this