First and foremost, the most striking thing you’ll notice when you boot this up is how gorgeous the artwork is. The illustrator has painstakingly addressed every little detail of each piece and it shows. The world map looks just like a map from medieval times and a nice one, at that. It’s several screens tall and wide, so the player can freely pan around with a swipe. The background of the battle view has tiny blue waves that float back and forth and very stylish line art clouds and symbols that float through the sky. Definitely top-tier work.

The game itself consists of moving from location to location on the overworld map and then attacking enemy towers. This happens on a separate battle screen, upon which you’ll spend most of your time. As shown in the screenshots, you have a tower on the left and the AI opponent has a tower on the right. Each tower consists of an outer wall and an inner keep, each with a separate armor value. The end-game condition is destroying the opponent’s tower or building your own to a predefined height. I like having two different victory conditions and have won battles using both methods. Battle consists of the two combatants alternating cardplay, to damage the opponent’s tower or fortify their own. You are dealt a random assortment of 5 cards, at the beginning of the match, as is the opponent (although his are not visible). The card is played, the effects trigger, and then it is discarded and replaced with a new one. Each card has an arrow to indicate whether it is defensive or offensive, a resource cost, and the amount and type of damage or repair that does. Anyone that remembers the Arcomage mini-game from the Might and Magic series, will recognize this gameplay.

Some cards also provide Resource Points or Source Points; Resource Points are the cost to play the card and Source Points are the multiplier for when points are obtained. Each turn you get additional points added to your Resource Pools, which are then multiplied by your Source Points. There are three types of Resource Pools; Magic (blue), Spirit (green), and Material (red). They utilize a rock, paper, scissors mechanic, in which a certain color is more effective against the next one in line; Matter > Spirit > Magic > Matter (it wraps around to form a circle). This is important, because each tower section has an associated color, if you use the trump card for its color, you will do more damage. Terrain effects the outcome, as well.

All of the aforementioned factors are interrelated, and because the cards are dealt randomly, the battles can be quite interesting and even contain some tactical decision-making. There is some amount of strategy with how you move across the overworld map, as well, because different towers have different numbers of neighboring nodes. The game has a good number of Quests, which are the equivalent of an achievement system, there are ability upgrades that you purchase with experience points, you have a player rating and can upload your own icon art, a thorough explanation of each card, and even the instructions are beautiful.

As you can tell, I was impressed, partially due to the fact that it came out of nowhere and also because it is polished to almost to perfection. I say almost, because the story isn’t properly translated and I had some other minor quibbles. It may seem like I am gushing about this game, so I want to be perfectly clear; this is not Orions: Legend of Wizards level cardplay; the battles are more akin to Strongholds (which, surprisingly, I’m not really a fan of). It’s just a few simple variables, with no deck-building, no special abilities, and no card combos. I say this because the gameplay may not be for everyone, but for me, it was well worth the asking price and I look forward to playing through the entire campaign.

Update: Peer-To-Peer Multiplayer added, as well as, new music, sound effects, and animation.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon


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