Developer: Mobage, Inc
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Mobage tosses another free-to-play proverbial log on the proverbial fire by way of Hellfire. Yessir, role playing, card collecting, and skeeball. Three great tastes that taste great together. Wait, what?

I’ve seen my fair share of bizarre combinations but goodness. App Store descriptions and screen shots don’t do much to prepare players for the weirdness contained within. Much of the typical Mobage attributes are present and accounted for: card collecting, leveling up, evolution, and absolutely gorgeous artwork. The main difference here is that every card can be placed into one of three slots belonging to one of three elemental things that look like boulders. Each cards’ attack power is added into a given boulder’s damage while the health of all nine add to a general health pool that determines how much damage can be sustained in each fight. And then there are the fights themselves, which place a number of enemies of various elements across the screen. In order to dispatch them players will have to hurl their magic rocks, with swiping speed and direction determining distance and trajectory respectively.

As I’ve mentioned, Hellfire possesses the typical allure of card gathering, upgrading, and evolving. However the addition of a vaguely skill-based interactive element adds a surprising amount of entertainment to the formula. So not only is tracking down d evolving new cards – to see how awesome they become – addicting, actually finding those cards can be rather fun, too.

I ran into the occasional issue with accuracy – specifically an incorrectly registered swipe speed – that led to some misses and some damage that could’ve easily been avoided, however. It hasn’t been a big enough deal to wreck my fun of course. Heck, some of the cards’ evolved forms were more disappointing than a rare miss.

Diving head-first into Hellfire was a rather shocking experience, both because of the weird amalgamation of themes and the fact that they somehow manage to come together so well. I know, I probably wouldn’t believe me either but it’s true. A skeeball CCG. Who knew?

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