Browsing the Play Store the other day, an icon leapt off the screen. “Is that Heroes of Might and Magic,” I thought, seeing the lion from the classic Heroes of Might and Magic 2 box art.
Instead, what I found was a shameless rip-off of the ’90s classic, where classic strategy and management was replaced with mindless pay-to-win drivel.
The game’s called Heroes & Magic. It’s made by TINYSOFT, a developer whose history has been primarily creating roulette and slot machine games for mobile. Someone on staff is clearly a fan of the old Heroes franchise however, because the way the game is advertised it looks like a straight up replacement for HOMM3:
What you actually get when you fire up the game is this:
The battlefield looks like a 4:3 image has been squished and stretched to fit into a phone’s aspect ratio. The actual combat plays well enough to the classic HOMM formula, and it at least retains the turn-based combat. Unit stacks have different speeds, with the first turn going to whoever has the fastest unit (and the attacker getting first dibs if there’s a tie).
You have a range of defensive, offensive and utility spells, with maximum mana determined by the individual stats of your hero. Each of the units come from various houses ripped straight from HOMM: Necropolis, Castle, Fortress, Dungeon, Stronghold, and so on.
You battle until one army is left standing, and if you win, you get a bunch of XP, maybe a chest, some gems, and the chance to move up a leaderboard.
So instead of actually being a turn-based strategy game with base management, hero development and a map with enemies, resources and pathways to negotiate – or anything that might resemble the screenshots of the game advertised on the Play Store – you’re just playing a series of PvP battles against enemy heroes where loot boxes determine the winner.
And when I mean loot boxes, I’m not kidding. The only way you can grow your army, or get different army types, is by unlocking them through chests that are tied to timers:
Naturally, there’s options for spending up to $150 on garbage microtransactions if you want to go down this insane bastardisation of a classic franchise:
So yeah, if you see something that looks like Heroes of Might and Magic floating around the Play Store or App Store, don’t be fooled. It’s a shameless pay-to-win knock off of a franchise that deserves much, much better than this. Ubisoft has an official spiritual successor to the franchise in Might & Magic Heroes: Era of Chaos, but that game doesn’t play anything like the classic HOMM games. Still, it’s the closest you can get after Ubi’s HD re-release of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 was pulled from sale.
Surely, someone somewhere can do better. Stop bastardising a great franchise with this pay-to-win garbage, thanks.