If you’re a fan of trading card games, the name Richard Garfield most likely rings a bell. Garfield, the creator of the popular TCG Magic: The Gathering, teamed up with Hothead Games (Deathspank, Swarm) to create Kard Combat, a trading card game for the iOS platform. You can hang on to that optimism because the results are nothing short of excellent.
Kard Combat carries similar features as other trading card games. Generally speaking, you battle an opponent with a series of cards (each only playable with the relative amount of mana required) and each card carries a variety of offensive/defensive attacks or spells. There are six card slots to play a card in. If directly across from an opponent’s card, your card will attack their card. If the opponent’s card slot is vacant, your card will attack the opponent’s main hit points directly.
In Kard Combat you select from one of four classes of Magi; Holy Mage, Death Mage, Machine Mage or Dominator Mage. Each mage comes with the same four card types – fire, water, air, earth – as well as a fifth card type that is specific to the class of mage.
There are three game modes in Kard Kombat: Tower, Single Duel and Multiplayer. There are also three difficulties: Novice, Expert and Master.
Tower mode is basically the campaign mode. You climb a tower of 33 opponents, similar to the Mortal Kombat fashion. This is also where you earn new cards and items after defeating each opponent. The first few rounds play like a simple tutorial to get your bearings, but the training wheels won’t last long.
Single Duel is exactly that, a casual one-off duel with no long-term incentives that the Tower mode offers.
The Multiplayer mode adds socialization into the game, bringing the experience of the face-to-face trading card gaming to the digital world. Via OpenFeint, you can match up against other players or friends. The multiplayer is turn-based, similar to Words with Friends; when it’s your turn you can play your card at your convenience, no time limit.
The artwork on the cards are unique and phenomenal, enabling each card to have their own identity and creating a visually pleasing experience. Check out some of the examples below:
The animations of the combat are simple yet effective, denoting which cards are attacking or being attacked with visuals relative to the spell, attack or defense move played.
Between OpenFeint and Game Center, there are plenty of achievements to be had within any game mode.
Kard Combat is a free download, though you can unlock more via in-app purchases. The free app comes with five Tower levels per mage, three Single duels, unlimited multiplayer and forty cards. For $0.99 cents you can unlock all modes for a specific mage, or for $2.99 you can unlock the complete tower modes for every mage and the ability to unlock more cards as you are victorious on each level. $9.99 will automatically unlock every card and item for you in advance, providing a full deck of cards for each mage.
Take a peek at the official trailer below:
Kard Combat succeeds in complimenting the traditional table-top trading card game as a digital format. As someone who’s only dabbled in trading card games, Kard Combat has found a permanent home on my iOS devices.
With the simple and quick tutorial at the beginning of the Tower mode, generous variety of gameplay and social aspects, Kard Combat is a no brainer for trading card gamers of any level.
Kard Combat is available now for the iOS.