Developer: Zynga
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.21
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

WarOfTheFallen-4I must admit, I don’t get why so many of these card and simulation games on the App Store are so popular. Why waste time playing some of these titles with barely any interactivity when something with actual depth could be played? Well, with Zynga’s War of the Fallen, I decided to dig in to this genre and see what the actual deal was.

The story involves something with evil and ‘shardbreakers’, y’know, standard fantasy card game stuff. But ultimately it’s about forming attack and defense decks of 5 cards each from 3 different races (I chose the Corrupted as my focus, because who wouldn’t want to control an army of demons and the undead?), with attack decks used to attack the computer and online opponents. Cards have different skills that can help tilt the scales in one’s favor when battling other players. Opponents on quests aren’t really so interesting, as the deck just cycles through cards as the player taps, doing a fixed amount of damage based on the current card’s attack stat.

WarOfTheFallen-5The production values are at least a lot better than Rage of Bahamut – there’s a lot of good-looking hand-painted art here, and there is a sense of humor throughout the game. Leveling up and evolving cards is intuitive, and fun to do, especially as new card evolutions bring new art. While trying to optimize a deck based on a card’s cost and its stats can be tricky due to only getting to view and sort by one stat at a time, the interface is usually quite intuitive, though somewhat deep.

Now, the problem I see with a game like this is that there’s not really much of a game here. Defeating human opponents seems based a lot more on just having better stats than them, rather than anything with skill or strategy. Defeating the computer is literally just tapping on the screen until the energy bar runs out, or a refill potion gets used. As well, the game uses a lot of negative reinforcement to get players to come back along with energy refilling, particularly the loss of money and glory, the game’s ranking system. So coming back again and again is really recommended.

Still, I suppose I finally realize the appeal of this kind of game: it’s about the building up of one’s deck and cards, instead of the ‘game’ itself. Still, there are ways to do even something like this that’s not totally offensive (read: pretty much anything Hothead Games releases nowadays) and something like War of the Fallen where there’s at least a little bit of joy in the procedure. Yes, this is a Zynga game I’m complimenting for not being the absolute downfall of society! Still, considering that ‘actual’ card games like Ascension and the like feature actual gameplay, the rise of something like this just feels lacking, though I certainly had some enjoyable times with this.

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