App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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Shards of Infinity is a digital card game that falls in a genre generally referred to as deck-building games. Deck-building games are not new to the App Store. Digital adaptations and wholly original titles in this genre have cropped up over the years, but few feel quite as polished and accessible as Shards of Infinity does. No matter whether you’re a seasoned deck-building veteran or curious newcomer, Shards of Infinity is probably the best way to enjoy this kind of game on a mobile device.
In Shards of Infinity, two to four players take control of hero characters who are all fighting for control of a weapon with unlimited power. The goal of any given game is to build up a fighting force powerful enough to kill all of your enemies and ensure your control of this powerful device.
Each player’s strength is determined by the cards in their deck. At the start of any given game, all players have the exact same starting deck, but there’s a pool of six cards that players can “buy” to add to decks. These cards are powerful sci-fi units and creatures that—if used in the right combination—can establish advantages over enemies that you then must exploit to destroy them.
Many deck-builders involve players competing to create more efficient decks than other players, but it’s usually around a goal of earning more points or resources than other players. Although there is a degree of resource collection at play in Shards of Infinity, the primary goal is to damage your opponents’ hero characters until they run out of health (aka “kill” them).
In this way, Shards of Infinity feels more like a conventional collectible card game (CCG) than classic deck-builders like Dominion or Ascension, though all of the deck creation still happens during each individual match. You start with a basic deck of resource and attack cards, and then add more cards to your deck over time by purchasing new cards from a common pool. When you buy a card from this pool, it is immediately replaced with a new, random card, which you or your opponents may or may not want to purchase on a subsequent turn. In a way, it’s almost like playing the Arena mode in Hearthstone, except you’re doing the drafting and fighting at the same time.
Because Shards of Infinity lets you build your deck and fight at the same time, the strategies you employ across matches is always shifting. You can’t guarantee which cards you’ll have access to in a given match, and—even if you could—they might not work well against whatever your new opponent(s) may be building.
On top of this, there are other elements to consider, like Mercenary cards that can be played the same time they’re bought, and Mastery, a special resource in the game that is slow to accumulate but can unlock really powerful new abilities on cards over time. All of these systems come together to add tremendous replay value to Shards of Infinity, regardless of whether you’re playing solo vs. AI or a multiplayer match. On this note, I only take umbrage with Shards of Infinity regarding a couple issues with multiplayer. Specifically, games can take a really long time to complete, and its notification system for pinging you when its your turn isn’t always the most accurate or timely.
The bottom line
Shards of Infinity is a slick deck-builder that feels almost infinitely replayable. There may be a few slight hitches in the game’s multiplayer execution, but it’s otherwise an immaculate digital adaptation of a great card game.