Is this celebrated DS game an instant classic on iOS?
The original release of Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes on the Nintendo DS kept me glued to the system for hours. Clash of Heroes looks in screenshots to be a simple color matching adventure, but there is much more to this game than what may appear to be a traditional “match three” experience.
Clash of Heroes incorporates the character progression mechanics of traditional role playing games, and blends them with bejeweled-esque color matching gameplay. Puzzle Quest, another game of this type, treated the puzzle grid like a pool of resources for opposing players to draw from. Clash of Heroes is a more tactical game. Each player (or computer opponent) matches from their own grid of units. These units are distributed randomly into columns, and can be matched vertically to form attacks, or horizontally to form defensive walls. Each kind of unit has unique attributes, and many have special behaviors. Units need to charge over the course of a single or several turns, and the player must balance the power of long-charge attacks with the speed of weaker ones. Unit groups can be chained together or even fused to form more powerful attacks; there are so many options during a round of Clash of Heroes. Choosing which units to bring in to battle, and choosing how to use the units during battle make this a thought-provoking challenge.
The blending of puzzle and RPG has its downsides, though. The random element can become frustrating during battles, and it frequently feels as if victory has been stolen from the player because of several bad dice rolls. Clash of Heroes also has severe difficulty spikes (especially towards the end of the game), many of which can only be overcome by grinding for experience points.
iOS certainly seems like a fantastic place to port the puzzle RPG; the iPad’s responsive, high resolution screen should be ideal for a game already playable with touch control on the DS. While the mechanics and content of the game are retained, the beautiful artwork looks blurry in spots on retina enabled iPads. Also frustrating are the game’s controls. Selecting a character for deletion rarely works properly, and the unit selection menu is confusing to navigate. The advantages of migrating the game to iPad are presumably the retina display and responsive touch controls, and fumbling both of those has diminished the value of this release of Clash of Heroes.
Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes missed out on a major opportunity with its iPad release. An otherwise fantastic puzzle RPG with decent story, CoH on the iPad lacks the level of polish of the original Nintendo DS release. I have come down hard on the quality of this port, but if you can’t play CoH elsewhere don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy it.
Might and Magic Clash of Heroes is available for $4.99 as a Universal App