App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
While everyone is seemingly out here chasing the auto chess bandwagon, GungHo and Capcom have been working on something completely out of left field. TEPPEN is a real-time collectible card game (CCG) that feels like a mishmash of Clash Royale, Hearthstone, and Plants vs. Zombies Heroes. It's a weird game, for sure, but if you have any soft spots in your heart for classic Capcom characters, TEPPEN might just be the game for you.
Ryu vs. Wesker
TEPPEN is a game where you collect cards and combine them into decks to play against people online. The main hook here is that all of the cards are Capcom-themed, meaning you are mixing and matching action and unit cards that bear the faces of characters from games like Street Fighter, Resident Evil, Monster Hunter, Mega Man, Devil May Cry, and Darkstalkers. In addition to that though, players also build these decks to be used by hero characters who have their own unique abilities, and all of them are also from the aforementioned games. Currently, the hero characters available are: Ryu, Chun-Li, Albert Wesker, Rathalos, Nergigante, X, Dante, and Morrigan.
As for the card-battling itself, TEPPEN is a bit off-the-wall. This is a game that moves in real-time, meaning there is no turn-order. Players can play cards whenever they want as long as their auto-filling meter has enough energy to pay for the card. TEPPEN is also a lane-based game. This means each player has three unit slots available to them in a match, and these slots attack what is directly ahead of them. If your opponent has an enemy unit in an opposite slot, they fight each other. If not, your unit can attack your opponent's hero character directly. Games of TEPPEN end when one player reduces an enemy hero's health down to zero.
Hold up the action
In addition to unit-to-unit combat, TEPPEN has a unique system for handling action cards, which are abilities that can be applied directly to units or heroes. Instead of merely being instant affects, TEPPEN pauses the battle whenever anyone plays an action card and allows for opposing players to play actions in response. This can lead to battles where actions reverse and double-reverse on themselves while players are trying to make sure things go their way. It may sound really odd to have a system, but after a few rounds it makes sense. Despite being real-time, it seems TEPPEN wants to make sure players aren't winning solely because they can be sneaky with their timing.
This isn't to say there is no way to play instant affects in TEPPEN. Each hero character in the game actually has special abilities they can use, but they work like a super move in a fighting game, where it can only be used once players have accumulated enough points through playing cards. Each hero has one of three selectable abilities, and they coincide with their natural synergies to different card types. Ryu, for example, has a lot of offensively-focused abilities and works well with damage dealing red cards, while Morrigan can manipulate time and works well with action-focused purple cards.
There's a lot to wrap your mind around in TEPPEN, but the game also gives you a lot of ways to practice before going online. There's a campaign mode that lets you play as each character, and you have to complete all three chapters for each hero to unlock them. There's also a Chronicles Mode that gives you challenges you have to complete with a specific deck in exchange for rewards.
The only problem with all of this is that completing all of this single-player content can be a little laborious. Obviously, you can skip it if you want and jump straight into online matches, but the rewards you get from these non-competitive modes are exactly the kinds of things that let you be competitive online. I'm sure this is part of TEPPEN's monetization plan (it is free-to-play, after all), but that hardly makes me feel better about it.
The bottom line
TEPPEN offers a strange brand of CCG that I'm kind of into. It's not always the most intuitive, and it definitely has a free-to-play grind, but I like playing as Chun-Li and playing cards emblazoned with Felicia and Zangief enough to look past that stuff. If that also sounds like something you'd be into, go ahead and give TEPPEN a shot.