Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
See if any of this sounds familiar: Orions 2 is a dueling card game where players summon creatures and spells using a variety of "elements" (earth, air, fire, etc) in order to whittle opponents' hit points down to zero. Yep, Orions 2 is Magic: The Gathering minus the collecting aspect (a good thing), plus a few minor gameplay tweaks. At this point in iOS development, I have no idea why Wizards of the Coast has not released their own Magic game, but until they do Chillingo's Orion's 2 might just satisfy your fantasy card game playing jones.
There's a story behind the game, but it's generic to the point of being ultimately forgettable. Suffice it to say that both players are rival wizards trying to destroy each other. Nothing else is very important beyond that. Each player occupies one side of a grid, where creature cards can be played as a first line of defense against an opponent. One creature can be played per turn, and most creatures come with spells that can be played as well to modify stats or the rules in some way. There are also the requisite spell cards that can be played to turn the tables on an opponent. It's all very Magic-like, though the gameplay mechanics are simplified for the limited screen real estate of the iPhone.
In an odd twist, there is a strange civ-building component to Orions 2. Players begin on a large map of floating islands. Card battles ensue once a player travels to an unconquered island. Once the battle is won, players can begin building a variety of structures on their island, each of which modifies the strength, toughness or spells played during a duel. This is a unique twist, as it requires different strategies than are typical for the genre. I found it more of a nuisance than an enhancement to gameplay (I play games like this to duel, not build a civ), but that's more a matter of personal taste than anything else.
Enjoying Magic the Gathering isn't a requirement for playing Orions 2, but it sure doesn't hurt. There are many familiar elements here, and the ability to play against friends online ups the ante considerably as well. Still, it is mostly a retread of an already established game, but until that game makes an appearance on iOS, Orions 2 is a good substitute.