Developer: Aeria Mobile
Price: FREE
Version: 1.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

When is a card battle game not a card battle game? That’s a trick question, I’m sorry. They’re never not card battle games. However in the case of titles that attempt to play around with the genre’s pacing and focus, such as Immortalis, they can sometimes feel like something a little different. Of course “different” doesn’t always equate to “fun,” but in this case it does. At least after a little while.

Immortalis should immediately be familiar with most iOS CCG players as soon as they start it up. The interface and names are certainly different but many of the expected features such as cards with varying rarities and combination evolutions are still present. Undesirable cards can be sacrificed in order to level-up favorites, quests can be performed at the cost of stamina (which recharges in real time) to earn more experience and cash, special daily log in bonuses can be earned, and so on. The “different” kicks in once players begin to acclimate to the Immortal Battles. These one-on-one guild fights happen regularly and give players a chance to fight others for glory and goods.

I really came to enjoy Immortalis’ emphasis on community, although it took me a while to get into it. Granted my guild seems to be comprised of close to 20 people who didn’t play past the tutorial but simply having these options is great. Special eggs that are found on quests can be hatched for items and money, and guildies can jump in to help speed up the incubation time. It takes a village and all that.

I really like the Immortal Battles, though. Underneath all the flashy visuals and dueling 16-bit looking avatars it’s basically just spending magic points to attack with cards to do a set amount of damage, but the fact that everyone from both sides can participate simultaneously is great. Assuming they actually participate in the first place. It’s Immortalis’ biggest shortcoming, and one that’s ultimately unavoidable with fledgling online games: a lethargic player base. Some of it might have to do with the tutorial that doesn’t quite go into enough detail or the super-busy interface, but mostly I think it’s the randomness of guild memberships. Anyone looking to play for the long haul needs to search out an active guild on their own and hope they have enough room.

Since the majority of my guild mates don’t seem to play much, if at all, Immortalis almost feels more like a single player game with an internet connection requirement than an online one. That’s not to say it isn’t fun even without much peer participation but I could only imagine it becoming all the more formidable if the social interactions got a little more prolific.

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