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Summoner Wars is Getting a Price Overhaul, Along with a New Expansion

Posted by Rob Rich on August 2nd, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

One of Playdek's most popular iOS card games, Summoner Wars, is going through a few changes this Monday (8/5).

The most immediately noticeable difference will be the price; or rather the inclusion of one. Playdek is removing the freemium model and making the base game $0.99, with online play available right out of the box, so to speak. A "Lore" menu is also being added so that players can look up background and strategy information, and a new AI opponent is being included for those more interested in solo play.

The expansion will be available through an in-app purchase of $2.99 and includes two new armies: the Benders (pyromancers) and the Mountain Vargath (goatmen). The former focuses on controlling the actions of their rivals, while the latter is all about brute strength.

Both factions and new base game features will be available on Monday.

Rivals At War: 2084 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 25th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: STILL A TAD RAW
Hothead has refined their interesting CCG formula even further, but Rivals At War: 2084 still retains a few of the series' problems.
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Rivals for Catan Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on July 2nd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: FEELS LIKE WORK
There's a good card game here, it's just buried under a ridiculously unfriendly interface.
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Star Trek Rivals Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on May 17th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: SET PHASERS TO TRASH-TALK
Star Trek Rivals is a card game many have seen before, but it's still a heck of a lot of fun regardless.
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Transformers: Legends Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 30th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE
Despite the focus on giant transforming robots, this online CCG isn't all that exciting.
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Tekken Card Tournament Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 4th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: SUCKER PUNCH
It's tragically funny when a concept that shouldn't work actually does, but ends up not being any fun thanks to a punishing IAP economy.
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Elements: Broken Lands Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on April 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: NOT QUITE
It looks good and sports some clever ideas, but there's very little strategy to this CCG.
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Order & Chaos Duels Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 21st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: ANGRY CARDS
Order & Chaos Duels is a beautiful and fun strategic card game at its core, but the solo campaign is horribly unbalanced.
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Pantheon the Legends Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jordan Minor on January 29th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: TROY TOY
Pantheon the Legends is heavy on cards but light on real gameplay.
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Immortalis Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on January 24th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PUTS THE "I" IN "TEAM"
Immortalis does a few things differently and the rest pretty much the same, but none of that gets in the way of having a good time.
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Penny Arcade the Game: Gamers vs. Evil Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on December 24th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: NATURAL TWENTY
So, how does Penny Arcade's second iOS game hold up? Exceptionally well, I'd say.
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Fluxx Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on December 18th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: FLATT
This digital rendition of an absurd party card game is missing some of the magic, but it's still a pretty good time.
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Solitaire Kingdom Supreme Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on December 10th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SUPREMELY SUPERB
Apparently combining familiar classics with loads of unlockables and all sorts of wacky and interesting modifications is just funkitron's "thing."
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Solitaire Gets Crazy in Popcap's Solitaire Blitz

Posted by Rob Rich on October 25th, 2012

I profess I tend to spend a decent amount of time playing virtual solitaire these days, mostly thanks to some ridiculously early commutes. So it’s a game I’m quite familiar with, although I haven’t come anywhere close to mastering it. Why is this significant? Because Popcap is bringing their popular Facebook adaptation, Solitaire Blitz to iOS and I’m expecting to have a grand old time with it.

The rules of Solitaire Blitz are both familiar and totally new. Players still have to empty their cards into piles by following a particular sequence, but suits and linear progression don’t matter anymore. A King can be tossed on a Queen, to be followed by another Queen, then a Jack. Or it could go 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, Ace. But while this might sound like the challenge has been sucked out of the classic solo card game, the fact of the matter is it still makes for an intense game. Mostly thanks to the never pausing 60-second time limit and slots (up to four) for placing cards that have to be unlocked.

It makes for some rather frantic card shuffling as you attempt to spot anything and everything that can get tossed on a pile, attempt to plan ahead to avoid getting stuck, and search out any cards featuring a key icon that will unlock those essential extra card slots. All of this while the clock keeps ticking down. No specifics have been given regarding price yet but we can all look forward to one of the most intense games of solitaire ever this November.

Fantasica Review

Posted by Rob Rich on September 3rd, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Developer: Mobage
Price: FREE
Version: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Playtime Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Mobage has developed a bit of a “thing” for freemium collectible card games lately. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that there are a lot of them floating around now and it can be difficult to figure out which ones to stick with. Of course everyone already knows how I feel about Rage of Bahamut, but while it will always be my number one I feel confident in stating that Fantasica sits right next to it as number two.

Card collecting and enhancement is still the primary focus with this new Mobage title, but the formula has also been significantly tweaked in places. After the basics are covered in the tutorial players are given clearance to do whatever they wish, be it questing, training, fighting, and so on. Questing in Fantasica is like a simplistic game of tower defense: Enemies pour in and must be dispatched before they reach the exit, which requires placing characters along the path and putting their abilities to good use. Training is more of a simple lottery-style mini-game that has the player’s chosen leader character walking down a straight path, killing enemies to earn experience and finding treasure chests with cash or new characters along the way.

Unlike many other freemium games of this type, all actions aren’t tied to specific meters that refill over time. Instead, everything other than Training is tied to countdown clocks. Completing a quest of any sort initiates a cooldown phase, ranging from one minute to an hour or more, that can either be waited out or instantly refreshed with special items. I still haven’t decided how I feel about this method, but it seems to work pretty well all things considered. I’ve yet to get to a point where I’ve run out of things to do. It’s easy for me to get hung up on all the little elements that make Fantasica feel like more of a game than a browser-based affair, but I want to make sure I give the artwork and character designs their due. In short, they’re spectacular. And with good reason; it’s all been penned by Hideo Minaba. Yes, that Hideo Minaba.

As impressed as I’ve been with Fantasica I’ve still had a few issues with it. Mostly it’s that the menu interface is a bit busy which makes navigation a pain. I’m also not a fan of the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen since it forces me to actively search for my ally list, among other things. There are also certain concepts such as how defending against attackers works that aren’t communicated clearly at all.

I have to admit, despite the perplexing UI, Fantasica is a solid free-to-play. One with actual gameplay in it, no less. It’s too soon to tell whether it will surpass Mobage’s main juggernaut, but it’s certainly poised to make an attempt.