Colour-coded Retina magic
P UZZLE games by their very nature can be rather abstract, disconnected affairs, happy to deliver you compelling gameplay and little else. Might And Magic: Clash Of Heroes is one of the few that (alongside the likes of Puzzle Quest), uses the puzzle game as a literal metaphor for the battles that punctuate its tale of good versus evil.
Originally released on the Nintendo DS back in 2009, this long-awaited iOS release is based on the PS3 and Xbox 360 ports, boasting updated art that looks right at home on a Retina display.
Flitting between a roaming fantasy RPG and a puzzle game, Clash Of Heroes is an engrossing game with a rich set of mechanics that determine its action – battles are played between two opponents, the screen split vertically between the armies, each taking turns to move colour-coded units into configurations that allow them to attack or defend.
Line three units up vertically and they prepare for attack, with a unit-specific timer indicating when; line three horizontally and they form a defensive wall.
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Upon these basics there are also linked attacks, fusion attacks, and a wide array of varying units (such as archers, bears, druids etc) who all have different abilities. Bejewelled this is not.
The RPG side comes into play through its simple story of different races banding together to defeat an army of demons – the usual tropes of character progression and levelling-up, coupled with item and ability unlocks, make it a game of some depth, everything contributing to its nuanced and unique puzzle action.
As well as the engrossing campaign, multiplayer is included too, with online asynchronous action and the option for local play – sitting players opposite each other with the iPad hosting their duelling armies inbetween.
And it's on the iPad where this game shines most – smaller screens proving a touch too fiddly – allowing Clash Of Heroes' visuals to truly come alive, while its complex, strategic action has the space to breathe.
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