Game of the Week: Clash of Heroes HD

Might is right.

"Do you know what, I don't think Michael Jackson choreographed these dances when he was seven months pregnant," Ellie said to me yesterday. So you'll forgive us, her poor back and her unwilling dance partner if the review of the Xbox 360 Kinect and PS3 versions of Ubisoft's Michael Jackson experience is delayed until next week.

In a way, the quality of the game itself is irrelevant. "At the end of the day, it's some of the best choreography set to some of the best pop songs in history," Ellie added. Johnny felt much the same about the Wii version last year.

With Jacko moonwalking into next week, there was little else to review; we passed the time catching up with the befuddling Patapon 3 and importing a copy of the intense but unsteady NASCAR 2011.

But we weren't casting around for a candidate. Game of the Week has seldom been easier to decide.

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes HD

The rule of Game of the Week is that new games should always win out over ports, remakes, reissues and remasters, no matter how classic the original. Ubisoft and Capybara gave me cause to reassess the wisdom of this rule - and break it - with this superb new version of a DS curiosity from last year.

Clash of Heroes blends RPG, turn-based strategy and a unit-stacking variation of a match-three puzzle game. It achieves this bizarre genre synthesis with a depth, poise and sophistication that makes Puzzle Quest and even Gyromancer look crude, while matching them for slot-machine gratification. It even has a fantasy storyline that's not completely terrible.

"Capybara has essentially created a beautiful, smiling offspring from the eternally virile Puzzle Quest and Advance Wars," wrote Kristan in this morning's Download Games Roundup, awarding Clash of Heroes HD a 9/10.

A bewitching clip from M&M: Clash of Heroes.

"As with either of those perennial classics, it's all about marshalling your units in the most effective way. But Clash Of Heroes does so with a breathtaking elegance... Such is the grace with which the game reveals its inner complexities, the hardest part is tearing yourself away from the bloody thing.

"With a depth and longevity that humbles most full-price releases - including five single-player campaigns and online multiplayer - Clash Of Heroes HD demands your immediate and undivided attention."

He didn't need to tell me. Gifted an early copy by Ubisoft, I'd already lost a sizeable portion of a week off work to this gem. Finely rebalanced in this new version, and graced with sumptuous hand-drawn artwork, Clash of Heroes is a ridiculously absorbing treat for the eyes and mind.

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