Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (Nintendo DS)

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Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes (Nintendo DS)

Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Nintendo DS

Match-three gets grisly

Capybara’s take on Might & Magic feels quickly but deftly executed: an early study from a master of match-three. Like the studio’s Critter Crunch, Clash of Heroes twists the simple mechanic into surprising new forms. You role-play five children whose lives have been upturned by a demon incursion. Each commands a different army—elf, human, undead, demon and wizard—whose distinct strengths and personalities unfold as you align units of like color. Rows of three form protective walls; columns of three make attack formations. What feels casual and compulsive in Bejeweled is tense and tactical here: It takes foresight to outmaneuver your opponent, and the tides can change in the space of a turn. While the fusion of puzzle-solving and role-playing recalls Puzzle Quest, a more apt comparison would be Professor Layton. These realms and creatures are full of charm and brain-teasing conundrums, and Capybara’s pixel art is curiously expressive.