First, a word about my credibility insofar as being qualified to say that Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is the best Xbox Live Gold free game. I haven’t downloaded many of the Xbox Live Gold free games, which rotate on the 1st and 16th of each month. I did download the first Xbox Live Gold free game, Fable 3, and boy, did it suck (why the hell would anyone want to shake hands with NPCs on a regular basis?). In fact, Fable 3 and Clash of Heroes are all I have downloaded since this Xbox Live Gold free game extravaganza started. Assassin’s Creed 2, Dead Rising 2 and Magic the Gathering don’t strike me as things that should take up space on my 360.
Now that my credibility has been established, it’s time for you to stop reading this piece of shit and download Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. Especially if you’re a fan of puzzle and strategy games. I double-dog dare you to download this game and tell me it sucks.
Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is a reinvented version of the Heroes of Might & Magic series on the PC. It was developed by Capybara Games (A.K.A., Humongous Damn Rat Games). When I first started playing Clash of Heroes, I was taken aback by how different it was from Heroes of Might & Magic. In the Heroes games, your goal is to kill all of your enemies in battle. In Clash of Heroes, you want to land hits on an “enemy line.” That’s right: your goal is to kill a clearly visible line on the screen.
“What the hell is this crap?” was my first thought. But once you buy into this neutered concept, Clash of Heroes becomes very fun and intense. “Intense” may not be how action nuts would describe a turn-based battle, but Might & Magic games put the pressure on you. The pressure in Clash of Heroes is quite a bit different than the pressure in the Heroes of Might & Magic games. In the latter, you must build up your base by finding resources on a map — the catch being that you can only travel so far each “day” of the game. Heroes of Might & Magic is all about getting the most out of your limited daily traveling while winning every turn-based battle you can. In contrast, Clash of Heroes has no base to build up, so resources are used to purchase more advanced troops (assuming they die in the first place). The distance you can travel in Clash of Heroes is, to my knowledge, contingent upon the story (the story sucks, by the way). Thus, Clash of Heroes is pretty much about battles.
The battles in Clash of Heroes are based on the puzzler concept of matching three similarly colored icons in a row (in this case, your troops). The catch is that you have to take into account the way your enemy’s troops are positioned so that you can land direct hits on the “enemy line” behind the troops. The different units you can take to battle all have their own advantages. Archers attack faster, deer can jump over enemy fortifications, and so on. As you get better at the puzzling during your turns, you look for ways to achieve attack and defense bonuses. The game explains all of these tactics and more in tutorials, which are short and sweet. For all the strategy involved, Clash of Heroes is easy to get into.
My only complaint involves something I normally don’t complain about in games: the loading. Clash of Heroes loads an awful lot, and the whole time I’m wondering why. In any case, you should download Clash of Heroes before Halo 3 becomes the next (and therefore only) free Xbox Live Gold game on Oct. 16. Don’t say I never gave you a friendly reminder and a lot of colons in a headline.
Edit: Something I forgot: I sometimes have trouble differentiating between the blues and greens in this game. Damn that.