Touchscreen turn-based strategy games are everywhere these days. We’d say they’re ten a penny, but that would be a lie because the majority of them are free-to-play.
It can be difficult to know which one to pick, but you shouldn’t have any trouble picking Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians from the crowd. For a start, it’s published by Ubisoft, who have an incredible record of bringing quality franchises to mobile.
For another thing, it’s a Might & Magic game, set a hundred years or so before the events of PC hit Might & Magic Heroes VI. Believe it or not, this epic IP has been going strong since 1986.
Whether you’re a longtime resident of Ashan or a callow newcomer, you could do with a good grounding in the ways of Elemental Guardians. That’s what we’re here for, so buckle in and get ready to level-up your strategy RPG skills.
Irrespective of the mode you’re playing, Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians puts you in charge of a squad of elemental creatures and tasks you with putting down your enemies, whether that be in wave-based PvE stages or PvP bouts in the Arena.
Each of your creatures in the field has a status bar hovering over their head, with their health indicated in green and their turn counter indicated in blue. Then the blue bar fills up, they can execute a move.
There’s also an array of skill buttons in the bottom-right. Holding a finger down on one of these brings up a box explaining what it does, while tapping on a skill button and then on a target unleashes that skill in a gout of deadly violence.
Your creatures each have an unlimited basic attack, but all of their remaining skills are on timers. Whenever you use one, you have to wait for a while before you can use it again. Skill icons gradually fill up with colour to let you know how many more turns you have to wait. Or, if seeing colors isn’t your thing, you can tap and hold to get the countdown in writing.
As well as skills, your creatures each have an elemental dimension. Arrows hovering over your targets’ heads tell you whether you have an elemental advantage or disadvantage over them. If the arrow is green, your attack will be extra powerful. If the arrow is red, your attack will be extra feeble. And if the arrow is yellow, your attack will inflict the exact average amount of damage.
You can also see status effects at a glance above each creature’s health bar. Blue means they’re enjoying a buff. Red means they’re labouring under a debuff.
Also, your avatar can pitch in with magical attacks whenever its magic meter fills up — keep an eye on the circular gauge on the left. The beauty of these attacks is that they don’t use up any of your creatures’ turns.
Those are the basic building blocks of the combat in Elemental Guardians. Here are some additional tips to help you hit the ground running.
- You’ll spend most of your time in PvE taking waves of enemies, and in these situations you should always focus your fire on individuals rather than dissipating it across multiple targets. In particular it’s wise to aim for healers, since they’re easy to kill and they regenerate their comrades while alive.
- There are some battles that aren’t worth seeing through, either because you know you’re going to win or you know you’re going to lose. For these situations, Elemental Guardians gives you a handy Auto button. Tapping the button hands the reins to the AI, and tapping the speed button makes the battle unfold up to three times faster. Naturally, you can seize back control at any time.
- Elemental Guardians starts you off in each round with a full complement of fully charged skills. You should use them straight away, since this will give you the greatest number of uses overall in the round, and it may even give you an instant edge. Use your noodle, though — certain rounds, like those containing boss battles, may call for a more patient approach.
Building the ultimate creature army
Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians starts you off with a mere Young Griffin, and whatever other random creatures you meet in your early moments with the game. From this modest beginning you’ll create an army of battle-hardened, souped up warriors from the dozens available.
Each creature has a rank and a level, which are the two simplest and most obvious indicators of their status. But there are two other ways of determining how they should be used in battle: Role and Element.
There are four different roles, broadly speaking. Attackers are good at hurting things, Defenders are good at taking damage and drawing fire, Support creatures are good at healing and providing buffs, and Saboteurs are good at inflicting debuffs on enemies.
A creature’s elemental affinity determines how likely they are to win against other creatures with different elemental affinities. It’s a bit like rock-paper-scissors, and it works like this: Fire > Earth > Air > Water > Fire.
A strong team not only contains creatures that are high ranking and levelled up, but also a good balance of different elemental affinities and roles.
It’s likely that certain creatures will suit your style of play more than others, and you can refine these favourites still further by assigning Glyphs to them to boost particular characteristics. You can also evolve them into more powerful forms.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the game’s complex system of enhancements, upgrades, and attributes.
While rank is a fairly powerful indicator of how tough an enemy is likely to be, it’s not everything. A 3-star creature at level 30 is likely to triumph over a 4-star creature at level 10, so make sure you pay attention to all of the information available. This matters most in the Arena, where you’ll meet opponents who seem weak only to discover that they’re as strong as oxen, and twice as unkind.
You can have up to three saved teams in Elemental Guardians, so it’s a good idea to have several super-powerful, highly evolved characters so that each of your squads has plenty of depth. Naturally you’ll want to have squads that skew towards certain attributes, such as attacking or healing.
It’s easy to overlook speed when choosing creatures to go in your squad, but this can be a hugely important attribute. A creature with a fast recharge may get the extra turn that makes the difference. You should also aim to include a creature that can remove debuffs, and a Defender who can draw fire away from the rest of your team.
Playing in AR
There are two ways to enjoy the spectacle of Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians’s AR. In the Arena, where you can watch full PvP battles in AR, or in the creature collection list, the Menagerie, which lets you view your creatures out in the real world and take photos.
You’ll also need a compatible device, a sufficient quantity of light, and a nice flat surface. Assuming you’ve got all of that, just enter either the Arena or the Menagerie and look for the cube icon in the top-right of the screen and give it a tap.
In the Arena, the slider on the left of the screen lets you change the scale of the arena itself. Once you’ve got it how you like it, tap Go to commence the battle, which will play out in the normal way except projected via your screen onto a surface in the real world. You can swing all the way around the action by getting up and moving around, and you can even tilt your device downwards to see a pit of hellish fire.
The gameplay is unaffected by this AR overhaul, but it’s certainly a neat and immersive way to view your battles and creatures.
Use these tips to your advantage by downloading Might & Magic: Elemental Guardians on Google Play now.