App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Lightseekers is a good card game. I daresay it might even be a great card game. I know there’s a lot of other stuff surrounding the brand when it comes to toys-to-life, comics, and all sorts of other nonsense, but the card game associated with this franchise feels like a version of Hearthstone that's so streamlined you can play a physical version of it quite easily. You might not really know all of this if you download the Lightseekers card game from the App Store though, because this version of the game is very poor at explaining itself and is generally a pretty rough experience.
In Lightseekers, you build a deck of cards around a hero to then use that hero and their arsenal of powers against other players. In this way it’s very much like Hearthstone, but Lightseekers goes out of its way to further simplify a lot of the esoteric vestiges of traditional collectible card games (CCGs) to feel really lean and fresh.
For example, there’s no mana in Lightseekers. Instead, hero characters have their own element types, which they can use every turn to play up to two cards. The only stipulation here is that you can’t play more than one card of a particular element per turn.
Another peculiarity of Lightseekers is a relatively absence of cards that stay on the play field permanently. Instead, most cards activate their effect immediately and are then discarded. For the cards that do stay on the game board, they are only there for a set amount of turns before they are also removed from play.
When I say turns here, I mean it quite literally. Cards that can stay out for multiple turns have numbers on the corners of the card, and these determine how long they may stay active. When in play, these cards activate their abilities according to whichever number is currently in the top left corner of the card before turning to change their effect next turn. Once cards run out of turns to make (up to four), they are then discarded from play just like most other cards.
The ways that Lightseekers mixes up traditional CCG mechanics is really neat and makes for a really refreshing experience, but this won’t mean much to players if they don’t understand how the game works in the first place. Although there is a tutorial in Lightseekers, it doesn’t really explain the finer points of the game, to the point that players may get confused about why they can’t play multiple cards from the same element or why they can’t mix and match elemental cards with any old hero.
In addition to this, the digital adaptation of Lightseekers feels really low rent. The artwork for the game isn’t particularly crisp, and card animations just don’t have the pizazz of other digital card games out there. Add to this the fact that Lightseekers only supports casual multiplayer (with a promise of ranked play coming soon), and the game’s overall offerings feel pretty lackluster.
The bottom line
If I didn’t already enjoy and know how to play Lightseekers going into playing this digital version, I’m not sure I’d have much of anything positive to say about it. It’s rough-looking, feels really thin, and doesn’t explain itself very well at all. I imagine this could be a neat digital companion to anyone who’s already invested in playing the Lightseekers card game (especially considering the game allows you to scan in existing physical cards you own), but as a standalone game, Lightseekers is hard to recommend.