Magic 2014: Dueling With Cards

Magic-2014-Campaign-LogoIn one of my earlier game reviews, I reviewed a game called Shadow Era, which was a great twist and a pretty solid game. I’m still playing it and now that its first expansion has come out, there’s a lot more cards, strategy and challenges to be had.

Alas, I have to say, it barely holds a candle to the trading card game giant, Magic the Gathering. MTG has brought out a few games, but today we’re going to take a good look at Magic 2014. So grab your dice and get ready to rumble planeswalkers, it’s time to take out your iPad and make some magic.

Who needs hair, when you have FIRE!

Who needs hair, when you have FIRE!

OK, for those who went to movies and played sports in high school and have never played a trading card game, let me break down the basics. You have a deck of about 60 cards, you play down lands, which you tap for Mana (currency) to cast spells and summon creatures. Using these spells and creatures, you try to defeat your opponent by dropping their life total to 0, removing all the cards in their deck, or by some card’s bizarre and obscure win condition.

Some background on me for those who play magic regularly, I’ll say I’ve been slinging the spells since about the 4th edition which came out in April of ’95 and have quite a bit of pro-level play under my belt as well. That being said, let’s take a look at the iOS game itself. Magic The Gathering 2014 is free to try, but unlocking the full game gives you access to so much more. However for the purpose of this review, I will keep it to the free portion of the content. Magic 2014 has a wonderful campaign mode kept a live with full voice-overs, 3d rendered backgrounds, and wonderful lore to drive the plot forward.

I can’t think of another card game that goes to this level of extent in setting up content and immersion for a player.

Fighting fire with… spiders. I may need to rethink my strategy…

Fighting fire with… spiders. I may need to rethink my strategy…

The game consists of five colors represented by 5 biomes of land. Forests (green), Plains (white), Mountains (red), Islands (blue) and Swamps (black). You can play one land a turn, and any land can be tapped for mana, and given its color currency. Each color has strengths and weaknesses. Red excels at spell damage, and small goblin creatures that self populate and grow, whereas black excels at creature destruction spells and draining the life from things. While one-colored decks are great for making sure you have the right land to cast spells, generally splashing a second color, or going even three to get a well-rounded deck is expected.

I had a hard time finding flaws in this one, it’s a really solid game, offering both constructed deck play, and premade decks for those who don’t want to spend the time to edit their deck (why are you playing a card game then?) The graphics are top notch, and the audio is a dream come true for mobile users. I did notice I had a hard time casting some spells when I wanted to. I couldn’t buff an enemy creature with a card that should have been able to, for example. Sure making the enemy’s creatures stronger sounds like an in general a bad idea, but coupled with a card that makes it so strong monsters can’t attack… it’s a great strategy.

Did you expect otherwise? /flex

Did you expect otherwise? /flex

So after playing campaign for a while I checked out the constructed deck section where you get a bunch of booster packs and build a deck out of the cards you get. I’m fairly sure the selection of cards gave me the short end of the stick, as I was STRUGGLING to defeat the deck with nothing in it but 1/1(power/life) owls…. (SO…. MANY… OWLS….) But ill play with it a bit more and see if there was a better selection with a different color of spells.

Well, my battery is dead on my iPad, and I have some League of Legends to play. So I guess its time to call this review quits and give my refurbished iPad a rest. Till next time folks!

Graphics: Rating-Bar3

Let’s be fair… this is a card game. And while other card games boast having visual representations of creatures and spells with flashy graphics plastered on the screen, that’s never been Magic’s gimmick. The user interface is fabulous, and everything is very intuitive. The effects the game uses, while underwhelming at times, are done very well and do not distract from the game play. So while I am not giving it a massive score here, realize that a card game… probably shouldn’t.

Gameplay:Rating-Bar4

Nope. Not flawless here either. Come on, Wizards of the Coast! What’s with all the bizarre rules on not casting cards when I should be able to? It’s almost like this functions as a separate version of the Magic rule set. Besides that however, the game is very good at representing the game, and my only suggestion is that if you like this, give the actual card game a chance. In either the form of the online game, or going and finding a local group to play with. As of lately, I’ve been playing with quite a few of the OWC members and throwing down on our lunch breaks.

Audio: Rating-Bar5

This is solid. Very solid. All of the creature sounds, and the absolutely perfect voice overs, I can’t complain AT ALL about the sound coming off this title.

Innovation:Rating-Bar4

So the card game has been around forever, and they just made a game about it for iDevices – not entirely a giant innovative thing, but ill count the original innovation of the card game as well. MTG was a really novelty when it launched and set the standards for the genre from then till present.

Overall:Rating-Bar4

So aside from the demo only having a white deck, that consists purely of plains, and flying owls to play against for your constructed deck, I cant fault them for that, as it’s a legitimate strategy to get people to buy the game. They can’t give away the farm. The Magic 2014 game is solid and well worth the time playing it.


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