App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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It often feels like licensed mobile games only exist to make money. Rather than making an enjoyable game, much of the development centres around how to best implement loot boxes, in-game currencies, and various other forms of microtransaction.
In many ways, F1 Trading Card Game 2018 follows the same pattern. It not so subtlety encourages the player to spend real-world money for digital cards, and a rather shallow gameplay experience doesn’t do the game any favours.
Make the collect-a-thon easier by spending money
The game takes everything about a real trading card games and makes it digital instead. There are hundreds of cards to collect that fall under a different category, whether it be racetracks, drivers or cars. But it’s very difficult to collect all of these trading card without, well, trading. You can add friends and request to trade their duplicates for yours.
It does a pretty good job of simulating the experience of collecting trading cards. You might find yourself browsing through friends collecting in the hope that they’ll be willing to trade so you can complete a set. But of course, the game also simulates this through purchasing packs of cards, essentially acting as loot boxes. The game heavily incentivises you to buy more packs just as regular real-world trading card games do. However, you don’t have the same satisfying feeling of having a tangible collection in your possession, it’s all virtually stored within the app.
More family hatchback than F1 racing
Every card has a rarity rating which plays into the actual gameplay. You make a deck of 12 cards out of your collection to compete against other real-world players. Both players have F1 cars racing around a track. Every so often you both will be given a choice to pick one out of three cards you have in your deck. If that card has the higher rarity, then the faster you will travel.
Although, there are a few other factors that mean that you still have a chance at winning even if your opponent has loads of high rarity cards. Each card also has a benefit when played in certain stages of the race track. If you approach a hard right turn for example and choose a card that has a bonus in that, then you might have a shot at progressing further even if your opponent has a slightly higher rarity. Also, the game puts limits on your deck so you cannot just fill it with high rarity cards. You need to have a variety of different rarity to make up the 12 card requirement.
Despite this, there was times when I felt like I had zero chance of winning just because the other player had good cards to use. Much of the game is simply luck of the draw, hoping you will get good cards at the right times. It makes for a boring and bland gameplay experience, that you even end up considering buying a pack of cards in the hope that it will make the game more interesting, giving in to exactly what the game wants you to do.
F1 Trading Card Game 2018 does an adequate job of transferring the trading card game to a digital format. But you do not get the same rewarding tactility with this as you do a real collectable card game. The actual game itself feels unfair, unengaging and more concerned with pushing you to the shop section of the app to input your card details. Do yourself a favour and don’t bother making a pit stop on the App Store for this game.