According to a Major Nelson blog post, “Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes” will be free to Xbox Gold members between October 1st and 15th, as part of the Microsoft’s Games With Gold program.
While “Clash of Heroes” is technically a prequel to “Heroes of Might and Magic V,” it doesn’t have all that much in common with Ubisoft’s wide-ranging medieval fantasy series.
The basic “Might and Magic” games were first-person role-playing games, while the popular “Heroes” off-shoots were more like strategy games. A third spin-off, “Dark Messiah of Might and Magic” was a first-person action game designed by Arkane Studios in 2006, before they hit pay dirt with “Dishonored.”
But, back to Capybara’s “Clash of Heroes”: it’s a turn-based strategy game combined with match-three puzzle mechanics and role-playing elements. Here an extremely basic example: lining up three or more Sylvan units will allow them to attack enemy forces a few turns later. It’s about planning and timing more than anything else, like a less random version of “Puzzle Quest.” You can kind of see how it works in this trailer:
“Clash of Heroes” actually started out as a DS game and was originally released in 2009. Eventually, Ubisoft ported it to every platform you can think of: Windows, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and iOS. A four-year-old puzzle game that you can get for $5 on your iPhone might not be a huge draw — especially considering Games With Gold’s tepid reception so far — but free is free, and “Clash of Heroes” is really good.
Other notables from Major Nelson’s blog: plenty of “Borderlands” and “Borderlands 2″ DLC is half off this week, “Zeno Clash” and “Zeno Clash II” are half off during the first week of October, and “FIFA 14,” “Pro Evolution Soccer 2014,” and “Diablo III” are all hitting Games on Demand on October 4.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter