Clash of Cards review by AuRevoirSeptember 13th, 2018
Clash of Cards is a CCG game developed by several dedicated indie game developers that proudly boasts great artwork, non-pay-to-win gameplay, and its completely original and unique mechanics. The developers have decided not to apply the usual rules of popular franchises and took the huge risk of constructing their own. I have been a casual gamer of CCGs in the past few years, so when the game told me to completely ignore everything I know, I got a bit curious.
Upon opening the game for the first time, you are prompted to select between six races. Little to no explanation between them is provided, which I find displeasing since some races are actually dominant over the others.
A match starts with a Split phase which basically removes six random cards from each player’s deck. It will continue by establishing two 3-part turns containing Attack, Defense, and Fight phases. On PVE, the player will be the first one to place a card on the first Attack phase, followed by the AI’s turn on the Defense Phase. The Fight phase is where all effects are activated. It will switch to the next turn with the AI placing cards on the Attack phase, you on Defense phase, and a Fight phase to conclude the turns. This will go on until one of you loses all HP.
You are only allowed to use one card per turn and you can only play it during your Attack and Defense phases. This mechanic applies to all cards whether it’s a creature card, a spell card or just a buff card. There is no sacrifice mechanic when summoning creatures with high HP and damage; you can just place them right away. You also have no control over your card’s action during the Fight phase. You cannot select which cards your cards will target. They will only attack the target in front of them unless their specific effect allows them to target all cards on enemy’s field.
Aside from HP and stats, each card has certain attributes and effects that make combos possible, but you have to inspect each card since tooltips are not currently available. Also, the game has time limitations per round even during early levels, which does not really help new players like me. You will receive a warning when you’re about to lose time, and this happens even on PVE. It didn’t give me enough time to read through the effects of my cards nor my opponent’s cards. It would be fine if it just skipped my turn, but unfortunately the pop up mentioned that my timeout penalty is losing the match entirely. Upon further research, I have read that the game doesn’t really follow a timer mechanic during AI matches, and that these texts are just quite misleading, which I don’t think really help with the game’s lack of tutorials.
There are few sparsely populated resources for information regarding this game, which is surprising since it’s a lot more complex than I expected. The tutorial doesn’t help that much either. It finishes briefly without discussing most of the game’s essential systems.
Only being allowed to play one card per round and the lack of balance mechanisms when it comes to strong cards may conflict with participating in a fair fight most of the time. This problem applies to weapon and spell cards as well, so I often find myself stuck between the dilemma of buffing my current cards or getting outnumbered on next turn. I also find it disturbing that the developers considered luck as a ‘great balancing tool’ based on the game’s info on Steam, making it possible to lose over a weaker opponent.
I was provided with a deck of cards which was only good for the first 3 levels. Then difficulty goes up significantly and it’s quite jarring. I was completely devastated in one round when my last turn was a clear easy win. My last resort would be to grind for cards and make my deck stronger before I can continue. You can still try and win though; just play until you get good cards on your first draw. But I don’t think that it’s worth especially after fourth story mission, since losing a match doesn’t give you rewards and coins.
While grinding for cards is just fine, the game felt as if you’re either too weak or too strong during each level. I honestly did my best to learn the game in order to maximize on strategizing my runs towards victory. It did help, but not that much due to the game’s mechanics and the fact that I still relied on luck with the cards I would draw each round.
Clash of Cards needs a major balance rework. Although the unique game mechanics can work, its current pool of cards does not support fair play. The developers should also provide clear tutorials highlighting their unique rules, as there is no external resource through which to learn. The game has a lot of potential and it is clear that effort has been poured into the creation of the game. I don’t think its base price of 35USD is currently worth it. 5/10
– Every card has great, fully detailed artworks
– The game is not pay-to-win
– Dedicated and friendly developers
– An attempt for a unique gameplay
– Has potential
– The game’s mechanics are upsetting. Its balance is off.
– Will often have WTF moments with no clear explanation during each turn.
– Dialogue translation is not that polished.
– Acquiring cards can be quite grindy.
– Slow-paced development.
– Bugs are often present; even in the tutorial
Written by AuRevoir
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