The award-winning Might & Magic game, released for Nintendo DS in 2009, has made its way over to the iTunes store.
When it comes to RPG titles, Might & Magic, with its first title hitting consoles in 1986, is one of those mainstays that helped define the genre in video games. The most recent title in the series — 2009's Clash of Heroes by Capybara Games (which you might know from Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP) turned the title into a turn-based puzzle game, with strategic colour matching.
It's a style of gameplay that works particularly well on touch-based devices.
Story-wise, it's about what you might expect from a fantasy RPG. There is evil threatening the world, and it's up to your band of intrepid heroes to lay the demon smackdown. As demons start to take over the world, they start popping up on the map; when you move to a position inhabited by demons, it's battle on.
The battlefield is divided into a grid; your forces on the bottom half and enemy forces on the top. To attack, you have to line up at least three troops of the same colour vertically; to damage your enemy, your attack has to hit the back wall, so it pays to line them up where there are gaps in your enemy's troops. Other strategies involve lining up troops horizontally to create a wall, or skipping moves in order to build up to a stronger attack.
It makes for an engrossing turn-based battle system supplemented by some lush, cartoon-style graphics. One caveat is that the screen size of the iPhone and iPod Touch is a little small for the battlefield, so it's hard to accurately tap your units. A pinch-zoom feature applies a fix, but then you can't see the entire field and will have to zoom back out again to access all your control buttons. It is, however, a minor irritation.
As you move through the world, with regions inhabited by various races — elves, humans, wizards and necromancers — you build on your armies, level up and progress through the storylines, which are quite dramatic and engrossing, a nice supplement to the gameplay. However, if the story is getting in your way, there is a battle mode that allows you to skip the talking and get right to the fighting.
And for the iOS version, a few new great features have been added: online multiplayer, where you can test your skills against other players; and cloud backup, so you never have to lose your game, even when switching devices.
Capybara and Ubisoft have done a very capable job of the port, and it's a worthwhile addition to your RPG stable.