Monday, April 9, 2012

Puzzling when I should be working

I know from the few minutes I spent with the demo months and months ago that actually purchasing Clash of Heroes would be a mistake. It hits such a well defined sweat spot of mechanics that I swoon over that it taking up residence on my hard would be a death sentence to anything and everything else that I should be playing. I know that the game is not for everyone, but it was too good for me to play when it came out. Now, during the briefest of slumps in the queue, during which I could have gotten work done on Diablo 2 or starting The Whitcher for the fourth time or practiced Street Fighter X Tekken, I have managed to purchase the full game. It is exciting and terrifying, because all I want to do is play this silly little puzzle game with quaint looking 2D sprites and RPG mechanics.

Puzzle Quest is the closest comparison I can make, but that game relied much more on luck than Clash of Heroes does. The developers swore up and down that the AI didn't cheat by looking ahead, but I was hit by matches dropping out of the sky so often that I find that hard to believe (I know it didn't cheat, the machine made its own luck by always looking for matches near the bottom of the screen, but still.) Clash of Heroes still has the luck factor, but there is more that the player can to do have an impact on things. The number of units can be restricted, and I found out quickly that rolling with everything is an easy way to get stuck with no matches to make. The biggest units take up four spaces and are quite difficult to get going, so I have gone with a more speed friendly army. It's just so enjoyable tweaking my little army that I can't stand it.

If I had to level a complaint it would be as the way losses and retreating are handled. You can walk away from any fight for the cost of some gold, but if you ride a battle out to the end and lose you can restart from just before the fight and lose nothing. This quite often leads to wasting time waiting to lose instead of wasting money retreating. An odd choice, but not a deal breaker.

I want to spend all sorts of time on Clash of Heroes, having spent real money on it, but Kingdoms of Amalur should be arriving in a day or two and Skull Girls comes out on Wednesday. I love the game, but once again it may be too good to spend time on.

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