Version Reviewed: 1.1.4
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Where most collectable card games tend to trade on elements of the fantastical in one way or another, World War II: TCG just goes to show that there's plenty of space in the market (at least digitally) for all sorts of themes. And while the difference between a Soviet T-28 and T-60 tank may be something that only the most hardened historical warfare fetishists actually care about, I think we can all agree that the visceral thrill of smashing cards with bigger numbers against an opponent's smaller ones transcends genre or theme.
If I had to draw a direct comparison to the gameplay of another digital CCG currently available, World War II: TCG most closely resembles SolForge. Both games actually share quite a few basic concepts. They both rely on hand/deck recycling and the ranking up of starting cards into more powerful versions. They also share similar battlefield layouts, with opposing rows of cards automatically attacking one another each turn, when able. Frozen Shard tweaks this by adding a back row where most cards initially deploy, shifting to the front on their next turn. Being in the back prevents units from attacking the opponent or their cards directly, but without a unit in the row in front of them they generally have no recourse from being attacked themselves.
While an enjoyable enough experience most of the time, World War II: TCG sports a few serious weaknesses. While all CCGs are beholden to luck in some capacity, a few instances find random chance tipping into infuriating unfairness. A notable example is mission 22, which requires players to defeat 12 units and 4 aircraft to finish the level. Seems simple enough, yes? Except for the fact that players are limited to 8 turns (every level has a turn limit) in which to accomplish this feat. It took me around seven attempts just to see 4 enemy planes hit the board, much less be able to defeat them in time.
Then there’s the fact that rather fundamental concepts, like showing how many cards remain in one’s draw deck/discard pile, have either been forgotten or flat-out tossed. The early game tutorial stretches over far too many missions, but even once it’s finished new elements are still being thrown at the player with next to no explanation. We only get to experience these new units and abilities after several missions on the receiving end of them. I was also never able to sample PVP despite players being available, because I was always told no matches at my level could be found. Perhaps listing these players and their levels would be a thing to consider?
There's just a lot of this "eh, let them figure it out themselves" attitude on display in the design of World War II: TCG, which is unfortunate as the fundamental experience is solid enough. How nobody caught, or perhaps cared, about these sort of issues during development is puzzling and sad. The game may be free, but that’s no excuse.