|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Capybara Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Capybara Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
With all these various elements of strategy in play, you'll have plenty of great options to noodle with during combat. However, Capybara Games didn't merely settle for a strong foundation. The developer has created a myriad of incredibly entertaining scenarios and boss encounters that will push players to dig deep into their mental toolsets. Sometimes the focus isn't simply on defeating an enemy hero, but rather unlocking doors or freeing someone from a cage. Constantly being forced to use what you've learned in new and creative ways keeps the experience feeling fresh from start to finish.
In addition to story-driven objectives, you can pick up bounties, as well as take on puzzle challenges that require you to defeat your enemy in a single turn. Though these little extras are optional, most folks will likely find them a necessary means to leveling up their units in order to successfully take on the tougher challenges that lie ahead.
Clash of Heroes is one of the most exciting new games we've come across in recent years, but we must also issue these words of warning: It can be very tough at times. Things start out simple enough, and the mechanics are easy to understand. However, a level cap on units means you can't simply grind until you're powerful enough to overwhelm enemies, and the randomness of the battlefield can be both fun and frustrating. No quarter is shown here by the game makers, and each and every battle past the first campaign will be hard fought. This, of course, means that each and every victory feels incredibly satisfying. Players are forced to think outside the box, often making magic (or wit) more valuable than might, so to speak.
It doesn't hurt that Clash of Heroes is lovingly gift wrapped inside a beautiful presentation. The overworlds are varied nicely, with tons of gorgeous detail, though battlefields are, understandably, a bit plain. Conversation stills are both pretty to look at and highly functional in terms of understanding dialogue, and the character sprites are extremely well crafted.
We especially appreciated the game's aural complements. It's not often you enjoy or even notice hearing text scroll, but such minor details add to the game's high level of polish. Themes make an exciting backdrop to the story and battles, and there are many subtle additions that help fortify the adventure.
And that's really what Ubisoft and Capybara Games have given DS owners - a true adventure. The story isn't merely an excuse to play through endless battles; there's an intriguing tale being told, in spite of a few silly lines of dialogue here and there. At the heart of Clash of Heroes, though, is an incredibly refreshing take on already existing gameplay mechanics. The developers mix things up in playful, devilish ways, and they do it for 30+ hours. Tack on single and multi-card multiplayer, and folks are getting an amazing amount of bang for their buck here.
With that being said, this isn't necessarily a game for everyone. Clash of Heroes is inviting at first, but the challenge eventually ramps up to a seemingly brutal level of difficulty that will draw a line in the sand between casual players and diehard strategy fans. If you're of the latter group, then this latest entry into the Might and Magic lore is an absolute must-buy.
CCC Freelance Writer