Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - Definitive Edition Review

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - Definitive Edition by developers Dotemu and Capybara Games and publishers Dotemu and Gamera GamesSony PlayStation 4 review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - Definitive Edition a rerelease of a surprisingly deep match-three style puzzle game that released over a decade ago. This hybrid RPG / puzzle title is every bit as engrossing now as it was then, even if this release doesn’t really do a whole lot to improve upon the original.

I actually reviewed this title back in 2012 when I played it on PlayStation 3, and honestly my opinion of the game was quite high then, and it remains the same today. Now, I haven’t actually touched this game in over a decade. I played it all of the way through, getting all of the trophies back when it first released. I was hooked. However, having taken a decade off from it, I found there were things I still remembered, like how stacking three in a row vertically causes an attack, the basic storyline and types of heroes that make up the game. There were absolutely things I had forgotten too, like how the special units worked and the best way to build defenses (three horizontally).

Now, I love the match / puzzle genre and adding RPG elements just makes it that much more addicting for me - I am still playing Marvel Puzzle Quest nearly a decade after I started, and enjoyed Puzzle Quest both when I first played it on PSP and later on the Switch. For those reasons, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - Definitive Edition is really my jam, despite the somewhat generic archetypes and storyline. The game starts simply enough, talking about an artefact of great power and some notable families coming together when an ambush strikes and splits them up, forcing the younger bucks in the families to step up and try to stop the villainy at play. None of it is particularly new, but it sets the table and is all framed up nicely enough with pleasant graphics and music – if somewhat redundant sound effects. The visuals have a nice hand-drawn style to them, though I know it’s a somewhat debated topic in the community as some people feel the original game’s art direction was better. I like both and don’t see it as dramatically different (but better than what was on DS before, which was more pixelated).

The meat and potatoes here is in the actual gameplay. Match-three doesn’t sound like much initially, but there’s a significant amount of depth in how the game itself plays. Your forces occupy one half of the screen, your opponent is on the other. There are regular units that can be matched three in a row horizontally, which creates a wall at the front of your army. Vertical columns of three creates an attack that launches towards your opponent’s side of the screen. Attacks might hit walls and fizzle out, or strike less resilient units who haven’t formed walls / attacks yet – or they might pass all of the way through and strike the opposing general, chipping away at their hit points.

This as the core foundation of gameplay receives a lot of wrinkles that make it even more engrossing. There are special units like dragons and spellcasters that can do massive amounts of damage, but are expensive to purchase and often require more matches and longer waits before their attacks fire. You can drop four green archers behind a green dragon and unleash a very powerful two column attack… but doing this could take five or six rounds to complete. In that time, your opponent might go with a weaker but faster couple of units who kill your dragon if it’s not properly protected. On top of that there are spells, equipment items and levels that can be acquired that raise character stats and attempt to tilt the balance in your favor.

There is a lot of creativity (and challenge) baked into other aspects of the game. What I described is the typical fight. But there’s often stages where you win by completing a specific objective, such as hitting the two soldiers moving back and forth with a massive saw as they attempt to cut a tree down. You need to hit them to win, not the empty space behind them to weaken a general. Boss fights are challenging – sometimes even frustrating. They have massive attacks and often move around on the screen, forcing you to change your presumptions and often forcing you to pivot from your usual tactics.

This single player campaign is pretty meaty to begin with, but there are several cool multiplayer options available for those who want to try their hand at taking on another sentient player with an even playing field. This is nice as the original game’s online modes have been disabled for some time now. Admittedly, some of these are more fun than others in my mind (I am not a fan of the 2 vs 2 mode). Another nicety (as the ‘Definitive Edition’ denotes), all of the earlier DLC is included here as well.

The RPG elements in Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes - Definitive Edition are not incredibly deep, but there are enough progression elements to keep things interesting, even if the story itself doesn’t do a whole lot of the heavy lifting on that front. The deep, strategic puzzle gameplay is the real star of the show, and despite some rough moments where the difficulty spiked suddenly, I greatly enjoyed experiencing this title all over again.

Score: 8 / 10