With the recent rise of the battle royale and auto battler genres, it seems Ubisoft has decided that the best thing to do is combine the two to create something new. That is exactly what the studio has tried with Might & Magic: Chess Royale, an auto battler experience that pits you against 99 other players in a fast-paced arena contest that leaves only one player standing to take the crown.
For those who are new to this genre, an auto battler is a type of game where you have no control over the battle; you select your troops, assign any spells and decide on positioning, but once the fighting begins you have to sit back and hope that you've made the right call. When you start up Chess Royale, straight away you're dropped into your first battle experience, teaching you the basics that will be necessary to get you through the match. Mastering the otherwise basic controls is vital to success, as you have to ensure that you optimise your gold, plan the positioning of your troops, and combine the best synergies if you're going to be the best of the best. One thing to note with Might & Magic is that although it is classed as a battle royale, the only similarity it shares with other games in the genre is that you're pitted against 99 other players (like Tetris 99, which pulled a similar trick), however, the majority of gameplay features here are drawn from the auto battler genre and it runs with that theme throughout.
A key feature in Might & Magic is the swift fluidity of each battle, with a full round said to last no more than 10 minutes, and with each individual fight being over in under 60 seconds - this is a great thing for those in a hurry or those wanting to get through games quicker, however, it can also hinder the experience, as having very minimal time to prepare troops can often find you incapable of finding the perfect synergies or team setup, which in turn results in a loss of health, putting you on the back foot for the rest of the match.
Where this game shines, however, is in its simple to learn moves and controls; within a single battle we had worked out what to do, what works well and what doesn't, and how to best play each battle. You start with no units and four coins, and you can spend these coins on troops from the starting shop. The first fight will always be the riskiest; having a randomised shop can go one of two ways and you will be hoping that it favours you as this initial fight can determine the outcome of the rest of your game. Of course, there is the option to refresh the store, giving you the chance to get some better troops, however, this costs a gold piece and early on when gold is scarce you will want to optimise your purchases to improve your team as much as possible. When it comes to buying your troops there are a few features you will have to consider; the most expensive troop is not always the best and playing based on synergies can more often than not work out better than having a full team of super-powerful troops. It all depends on the style of play you are hoping to achieve and whether or not you can make this work with the troops you have available to you.
So what are the synergies? Well, this is where the game becomes a little more complex and requires you to truly assess each character and choice before buying your units. Within the game, you have 25 different troops composed of six classes and then a further six subclasses, with a total of 12 synergies available to you at any given time. Most synergies require you to have at least two troops of the same class/subclass on the board with some requiring four. Each synergy once completed will grant some form of bonus to the troops included and these can change the course of a game depending on the synergy. A good example of this is the 'Haven' synergy: this requires that you have four troops of this class on the field, but once this synergy is complete these troops will survive for an extra three seconds after death (this is one of our favourites because those extra seconds can be enough to turn the tide and hand you victory).
Might & Magic: Chess Royale is not without its flaws; at times the larger battles can become very chaotic and it's hard to see what is going on, making it hard to understand what is happening or how you lost a match. Also during battles, the timer will hit 0 and then proceed to take an additional 2 or 3 seconds before actually starting or ending a fight; this does not affect the actual playing of a game but it can be frustrating when you lose out on overall game time and have to rush your preparations.
Overall, Might & Magic: Chess Royale is a lot of fun and it offers a unique new take on the auto battler genre and with its fast-paced battles you can get through a lot in a short period of time.
Loading next content