App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Cards and elements and more cards, oh my! Elements: Broken Lands has found an interesting way to combine card collecting with a form of creature collecting. It also doesn’t look half bad, either. Best of all, the typical free-to-play energy mechanic only holds it back a little bit! That may have been sarcasm.
Evil corruption is spreading across the land as it tends to do in every single fantasy game ever. Players must fight back against evil by way of their own personal army in card form. Elements: Broken Lands is fairly straightforward for the most part: players adventure around various maps, pit their cards against their enemies’, collect cash, buy more cards, and flesh out their deck with rare finds and upgraded favorites. The combat is where things deviate from more typical CCGs. Instead of utilizing resources to summon monsters or simply trying to accrue the highest damage numbers, it’s more akin to Pokemon with a pre-selected “team” made up of various creatures and various elements.
I’ll admit I’m still rather partial to one particular card game’s illustrations but Elements has some good looking cards as well. The iconography also makes it incredibly easy to see what stage a given creature might be at in its evolution (yes, these can evolve, too), as well as if it’s carrying any equipment (i.e. fused with special stat boosting cards). The visual effects for some of the cards’ eliminations, depending on the elements involved, are also pretty cool. I’ve also become rather partial to the market that gives players the opportunity to buy, sell, and auction off their cards.
The only thing that really bugs me about Elements is its energy mechanic. As though I haven’t already made that apparent. I’m just not a fan of every single attack costing one bit of stamina. It’s nice not to have to save up a particular amount of juice to start a fight but running out in the middle of combat, especially with only one hit left to go, is a major drag. Being able to swap between any of the five possible cards on a given team would certainly help as it would allow players to take advantage of elemental weaknesses but instead they just have to wait for the lead card to be destroyed. It slows down everything and removes most of the strategy from the action. It boils down to putting the toughest cards in front and trying to outlast an opponent. I can’t say I find any of that particularly engaging.
Elements: Broken Lands is a good looking and competent CCG with a couple of missteps that keep it from greatness. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look, but it probably won’t stick with too many players for very long. At least not at the moment.