Blue Manchu Games has announced a release date for its upcoming debut title, Card Hunter, which looks to mix the worlds of collectible card gaming with board gaming to create an experience that’s easy to play, but comes with limitless possibilities. The free-to-play browser game was created in collaboration with Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering.
Kingdom and Dragons combines city building with role-playing games in an attempt to create a unique and enjoyable experience, and it succeeds. Players start in a mostly empty kingdom with an unnamed swordsman at their disposal. The game introduces players to the city by guiding them through the process of unlocking and building structures. When it’s time to fight, players are sent out with their swordsman, ready to take on multiple waves of various enemies. There’s not much of a tutorial that goes along with combat. The game explains the mechanics and a few tricks, but most players will be left to fend for themselves. Fortunately, the combat in the early stages is simple enough for players to learn the system, rather than panic for their lives.
Once players begin to get the hang of the game, they’re given numerous ways to customize their characters’ skills and accessories. As players’ cities gain access to gold mines and other money-gathering resources, they’re able to earn gold, one of the in-game currencies. Gold is most frequently used to power up characters and purchase items from the in-game shop. As players progress through Kingdom and Dragon’s numerous levels, they’ll be given the opportunity to add to their characters’ skill lists. Most of combat is based around moving with the on-screen directional pad, attacking with one button, and using skills with various other buttons. There’s a bit of trial-and-error that goes along with using skills, as the game doesn’t have a simple way of labeling buttons, but this is not a serious issue. (more…)
Battlestone is Zynga’s first venture into the realm of action RPGs. Battlestone starts off with a brief tutorial that goes over the controls of the game. The core gameplay loops are simple: get to the end of the level, accomplish the set goal, and destroy enemies along the way. It’s a theme that’s not entirely original, but Battlestone executes it just as well as any other mobile game. The controls are a simple matter of tapping where the character should move, swiping enemies to attack them, and pressing various on-screen buttons to perform numerous tasks. Battlestone’s gameplay is simple, but it can be a lot of fun.
The tutorial also introduces players to the large amount of work that takes place outside the battlefield. Using gems and coins earned from playing (or via in-app purchase), players can buy new characters or power up the ones they already own. If players get a hold of duplicate or other unwanted characters, they can fuse them with others, allowing characters to become stronger quicker. Players are also encouraged to sign into their Zynga account and join guilds, groups of other players who can assist each other. There are a few other ways players interact with each other, but the biggest is a player vs. player duel feature, where a player can fight another player’s character and earn potentially large rewards.
There are a ton of rewards and items to collect in Battlestone. The top of the menu screen shows off various in-game currencies and collectibles. Gems and coins are used to purchase in-game goods, potions are consumed to go on quests, and stars and trophies mark single and multiplayer progress. Multiplayer is a tad thin, and comes down to guild interaction and duels, but single player features a lot of content that will challenge many players. Single player is built around a series of quests. Each quest has its own goal and completing enough quests will unlock a boss stage. If the boss is defeated, a new map is opened and the process starts over. It’s a simple process, but the game’s difficulty will challenge players of all skill levels.
Battlestone’s monetization comes through purchasing coins and gems. Both currencies can be obtained in-game, but neither comes frequently. Gems can be used to purchase nearly every item, so a lack of gems is always noticeable. The bundles for each of these currencies ranges from $0.99 to $99.99. Players will generally need to spend at least $19.99 to get any real value from their bundles, especially with gems. Players who don’t spend much money on gems will still have many items available for purchase, but they’re also likely to miss out on buying new characters. If a player unlocks a character solely through purchasing gems, it’ll cost about $9.99. Many players may not enjoy spending $10 to unlock a random character, possibly hurting appeal to the core audience.
Overall, Battlestone is an excellent action RPG that will likely appeal to core gamers looking for a bit of action on their mobile devices. The controls work very well, and the gameplay is able to appear to both casual and experienced gamers. The array of character management options might feel a tad overwhelming for casual players, but the tutorial does an excellent job explaining how it works. The high price of in-game currency will likely turn off many players, but those who do spend will be able to get a good bang for their buck.
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A simple role-playing game with a ton of depth and strategy.
Order & Chaos Duels is the third entry in Gameloft’s Order & Chaos series, which has to date included a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game known as Order & Chaos Online and a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game known as Heroes of Order & Chaos. The Order & Chaos series bears a strong resemblance to Blizzard’s popular Warcraft series in terms of both art style and gameplay, and Order & Chaos Duels continues this trend. While Order & Chaos Online resembles World of Warcraft and Heroes of Order & Chaos is heavily inspired by the popular Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients (and its immensely popular recent counterparts Dota 2 and League of Legends), Order & Chaos Duels sounds very much like Blizzard’s recently-announced Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Gameloft is well-known for putting out mobile titles that provide similar experiences to well-established franchises on PC and console, but in the case of Order & Chaos Duels, it has actually beaten Blizzard to the punch by getting its game onto the market first.
Order & Chaos Duels is a card battle game, but it doesn’t follow the usual barely-interactive mold set by popular mobile games such as Rage of Bahamut and Confrontation. Instead, its gameplay is more akin to titles such as Shadow Era from Wulven Game Studios — a game which proved popular enough on mobile to spawn a physical version.
In an individual Order & Chaos Duels battle, two players face off against each other and draw cards into their hand. Each card has a mana cost to play — if the player doesn’t have enough mana to play a card, they can’t play one, but conversely if they have enough mana they may play more than one. A single card per turn may be sacrificed to add a single point to the user’s maximum mana, which replenishes fully at the start of the next turn. Some of the player characters also have special abilities that allow them to temporarily gain additional mana. (more…)
Transformers Legends is a card-battle game, much like the previous licensed titles that Mobage has put out such as the rather poor Marvel: War of Heroes. Transformers Legends fares slightly better in the interactivity stakes than past entries in the card-battle genre, but not by much; at heart, it’s still a rather tedious, immensely repetitive experience almost totally devoid of any real sense of strategy, narrative or indeed excitement.
Like most card-battle games, Transformers Legends is split into two distinct components: a single-player “mission” mode in which the player repeatedly taps on a button to gain experience and new cards, and a multiplayer PvP mode in which the player taps on a “fight” button and hopes that their cards have higher numbers on than their opponent’s. To its credit, Transformers Legends does flesh both of these modes out slightly more than normal — the “mission” mode occasionally features rhythmic tapping on the screen to “defend” against attacks and the PvP mode’s cards do feature special abilities that automatically come into play at the appropriate time — but for the most part this game is very much business as usual. Acquire cards, upgrade them by fusing them with “trash” cards, complete missions to level up until energy runs out, fight other players until “battle cubes” run out, end session, repeat later in the day.
Foxli Rush is a new Facebook game from NGames. It’s available now in open beta on Facebook, and is currently advertising heavily in the social network’s sidebar module.
Foxli Rush is a simple combination of citybuilder and role-playing game, in which players take on the role of either the male FoxLi or his female counterpart Peach, who is pretty much the same sprite but pink instead of red. Players must help train FoxLi or Peach by sending them on expeditions, equipping them with items, building an army for them and constructing buildings in their home town that help to power them up and provide them with income.
The flow of the game in its early stages is very heavily directed by quests, most of which hold the player’s hand a little too enthusiastically, initially pointing out every single button they need to click on and even where to place new buildings. As the player progresses, the game does start to relax a little, but the quest system is still a little stifling, railroading the player down a single path for far too long rather than allowing them to discover things for themselves — or even to present them with a choice of things to do at any one time.
Dungeon Hunter 4 is a new iOS release from Gameloft, set to release later this week. It will be a free download from the App Store, with additional in-app purchases. An Android version will likely follow in the near future.
The previous game in the Dungeon Hunter franchise, Dungeon Hunter 3, ruffled a few feathers when it was released for two reasons: firstly, it represented a shift from the “pay once, play forever” model of the previous two Dungeon Hunter games to the fashionable freemium model, and secondly it abandoned the series’ Diablo-style action RPG exploration-heavy gameplay in favor of multiplayer arena-based battles with little to no exploration. Despite the backlash from fans of the series, Dungeon Hunter 3 wasn’t a fundamentally bad game; it just wasn’t a Dungeon Hunter game.
Now Dungeon Hunter 4 seeks to address at least some of the issues fans had with the previous game. The freemium model still remains, much to the chagrin of those who disliked it in Dungeon Hunter 3, but the focus has returned to a narrative-led, exploration-heavy experience rather than cooperative multiplayer arena battles — though the latter are still present for those who enjoy them.
As the title suggests, Tekken Card Tournament is a digital collectible card game based on Namco’s popular and long-running fighting game series Tekken. Players make use of decks of virtual cards themed after characters from the Tekken franchise, and then take the fight to either computer- or human-controlled opponents in live online turn-based one-on-one battles.
The fighting gameplay in Tekken Card Tournament makes use of a “rock, paper, scissors” system whereby each player may pick one of three actions on each turn. Choosing to “Focus” allows you to draw a card into your hand, up to a limit of five. Choosing “Strike” allows you to attack with all the cards in your hand and also destroys the first (oldest) card in your opponent’s hand if they choose to Focus. Choosing “Block,” meanwhile, blocks the first two cards from an opponent’s hand if they choose to “Strike,” but otherwise has no effect. The challenge of the game primarily consists of determining what the opponent is likely to do next based on the cards they have in their hand — except under special circumstances, both players’ hands are visible to one another — and then taking the optimum course of action. Play is kept pacy thanks to a time limit for each turn and a mechanic which obliterates both players’ hands completely if they both block for more than two turns in succession.
Knight Storm is a medieval-themed role-playing game in which players take on the role of a new knight who has come into ownership of his own castle. Through a combination of going on adventures and engaging in jousts against rival knights, players must prove themselves and become a strong ruler of their own personal kingdom.
The game is split into several distinct components, each of which are introduced to the player through an initial tutorial, beginning with jousting. Jousting allows players to compete against either computer- or player-controlled opponents in mounted combat for various rewards. Engaging in a joust is relatively straightforward — both players pick “sigils” to apply to their combat, and these are then compared. Certain “tactics” beat other tactics and provide a bonus to the winning player; if tactics are tied, then the elemental affinity of the sigil is used to determine bonuses instead. If there is still no clear winner, the combatants use their base stats. Once the joust proper begins, the two combatants charge at each other. The player must drag the tip of their lance into a target area on the screen in order to inflict maximum damage. When the two knights clash, damage is inflicted according to the combination of stats, bonuses from the sigils and the accuracy of the attacking player. If either knight’s health bar is reduced to zero, they are knocked off their horse and lose the joust.
Dragon Eternity is a new iPad-only iOS release from Game Insight. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Dragon Eternity for iPad is actually an adaptation of Game Insight’s Web game of the same name, and includes cross-platform play with the browser-based incarnation of the game. There are some restrictions on the iPad version of the game, however: players may only level up to 30, may not play “mini-games” that are required to complete certain quests — these objectives may be skipped for free on iPad — and may not engage in the game’s “sea battles” system. These restrictions are apparently temporary, so presumably the full functionality of the Web version will be implemented into the game in due course.
Dragon Eternity is a massively-multiplayer role-playing game in which players take on the role of a custom character and direct them through a series of largely combat-focused quests. Rather than attempting to emulate the 3D perspective of computer-based MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft and the numerous free-to-play offerings on the market, Dragon Eternity instead adopts a top-down view from which the player sees an overview of a complete area, and is able to interact with the inhabitants — friendly or otherwise — by tapping on them. This method of presentation removes a lot of the immersion factor inherent in being able to actually wander around and explore the world freely, but it is an eminently more sensible method of control for a touchscreen-based game. It also eliminates the large amounts of “travelling time” found in more traditional MMORPGs.
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