Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD First Look At The Inevitable Re-purchase

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, the Nintendo DS strategy-RPG that went under-appreciated—and under-purchased—by too many last year, is getting a second chance on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in 2010. How's it looking?

Damn good, based on our hands-off preview of developer Capy's high-definition upgrade to Clash of Heroes. The game's hand animated characters and hand painted backgrounds alone, on par or better with the gorgeously rendered graphics seen in the developer's past PSN effort Critter Crunch, make double-dipping on another Clash of Heroes purchase easy to justify.

If you're new to Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, the HD port should be on your radar. The strategy-RPG features a deeply clever color-matching mechanic that offers a level of thoughtful puzzle enjoyment beyond, say, Puzzle Quest, but presents it in an equally attractive package.

And it looks so pretty that Capybara Games co-founder and president Nathan Vella's claims of shooting for Miyazaki-quality animation don't appear to be outrageously bold. The high-definition port of the DS version is packed with detail and tons of new animation, stuffing the screen with big, beautiful characters and a more helpful UI.

If a high-def coat of paint may isn't enough to convince the Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes fan to upgrade, some of the gameplay tweaks might. The game appears to move a little quicker than the portable original, with node-to-node movement speedier.

The console port also brings with it a two-on-two cooperative mode, putting two battlefields side-by-side, and offers online multiplayer versus modes. Vella says that Capy is also tweaking a few other Clash of Heroes quirks, with adjusted boss battle difficulty and better ability-modifying artifacts. Players can also revisit levels of the game after completing those chapters, a chance to max out your characters.

Capy's also adding a little "cheat sheet" button, giving players a quick glance at unit hit points, toughness levels and other important data during battles. What it won't be adding is an "undo" button, something some players (read: me) have asked about.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD is due to release on XBLA and PSN in "late summer." Capy wouldn't rule out eventual ports to WiiWare, PC or any platform beyond what publisher Ubisoft has already divulged, but it certainly didn't confirm anything either.