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[UPDATE] Order & Chaos Duels - Trading Card Game Review

By , on April 2, 2013


Order & Chaos Duels - Trading Card Game
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • A solid core card duel experience (borrowing heavily from games like Magic: The Gathering).
  • Solid campaign progression seasoned with tastes of multiplayer (where is where the real game will lay for many people).
  • Beautiful card artwork and battle music.

CONS

  • The inclusion of IAP is troubling when the game seems to lead towards a ranked battle multiplayer experience.
  • Aside from an extra slot (and a paid slot), hero selection is permanent

VERDICT

A dueling card game based on Gameloft's Order & Chaos property that is superbly designed and quite addictive, eventually leading players towards its ranked multiplayer, while still featuring a lengthy, enjoyable single player campaign.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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[Editor's Note: After further gameplay testing we've noted several points in the campaign where the AI is provided with what can only be described as severly imbalanced abilities and decks. These will act as roadblocks preventing progression, though the exact placing of said roadblocks will depend on your character and their deck/abilities. Sadly it comes down to luck as to whether you'll draw better than your opponent in these cases and it would be good to see the pogression evened out somewhat.]

On the surface, Order & Chaos Duels is impressive. Gameloft have created a dueling card game that not only includes a lengthy campaign, but also pairs it with a ranked competitive multiplayer system... that and it's a free to play release! So 'what's the catch' I hear you asking? Is the in-app purchase model overly aggressive? Is the game stacked against new players, Is the design crippled by its choice of revenue stream? Well the funny thing is that with all the time we here at AppSpy spent with the game, none of that seemed to be the case. Oh, our review has some caveats to be sure, but for the most part Gameloft have hit this one out of the park.

You begin by choosing your deck. There are four races (two on the order side, and two on the chaos side). Within these races there is the selection of four deck types, so the beginning of your game can differ greatly based on what you picked. However, there is only one extra free slot (each one after this requires in game currency) to us for experimenting with other heroes and there does not seem to be a way to delete your choice. You better be sure you're picking the hero that you want, as that decision is final. While some heroes rely more on spells; others on monsters; and some equipment, over time you can build your deck to your liking with the only restriction being cards of your allegiance (no chaos cards for order heroes and vice versa).

You start with a basic deck, and as you win battles you gain experience, gold, new cards, and possible runes. Leveling up grants you more gold and runes, and also increases your max health and your deck's size restrictions. The runes are the premium in game currency, and both runes and gold can be used on new cards and items (with the purchase of cards being random). Items grant boons before a match like boosting your health, or lowering your opponent's. In fact much of the drive towards in-app purchases seems to be geared towards the multiplayer side of things, where you'd want to grab every advantage you can to gain an edge over your opponent, and it seems Gameloft have banked on their player base spending money in order to achieve that goal.

Luckily the campaign progression is rather steady, and is also to the multiplayer in the form of pillaging players up to the same point in the game as you (defeating them for spoils of war). When you reach the second island, there is a brief difficulty spike, but the more astute players will adjust to the changes, and it's not a case of forcing the player to spend money. These include small, but obvious strategy tips such as making sure to burn a card for mana each round - having a low pool because you couldn't bear to lose a certain card is a quick recipe for defeat.

We should probably talk about the card game itself right? The goal is to bring your opposing hero's health to zero before they can do the same to you. You have 5 cards to play with each round from your deck, and if you have the mana, you can cast as many as you like (summoning monsters, casting spells or equipping weapons and armor). Your monsters act as your attack and defense like in a game of Magic: The Gathering. These will automatically do your bidding at the end of each round, and will attack the opposing hero if there is no other creature opposing it directly to defend. Earlier we mentioned that you can sacrifice one card each round to raise your mana pool, and this is a must for not only summoning your heavy hitters, but for getting multiple cards on the board each turn. Playing conservatively will get you nowhere fast.

It's a system that is familiar to fans of other popular dueling card games thanks to its heavy borrowing of mechanics, but the small changes make it its own. Games can be a blur as everything moves so fast, especially when you don't know which card exactly is doing what, but the more you play, the less that becomes a problem. Really for the free price tag, and the in-app purchases only really becoming an issue for the competitive gamer, if you enjoy dueling card games at all, pick this up. It's got more than enough depth in its mechanics and content to keep you busy for quite a while. Who knows, it might even grab you in its clutches to the point where you're spending money.

Want to see the game in action? Check out our 15 minute Let's Play covering some of the early portion of the game.

Screenshots

Screenshot 1 of 2 Screenshot 2 of 2

Comments

Avatar
jaxal65 1 year, 7 months ago

I have been playin since the day it came out and have not put a penny into it. I have been able to get a lot of runes either through pillaging or doing the dailies. The review did mot metion that each day you can get 3 dailies which may vary each day. Some simple like 'Gather 1000 gold in campaign' to a pain in the butt like 'Kill 4 Orc Players online'.

The randomness of the packs is the real rub. I have been able to save up 200 runes and buy a 4 pack where there is at least 1 Rare. Problem is I was playing an Unded hero and got 2 Human Rares. So my next Hero was a Human. If you were able to buy or trade specific cards, like in Sahdow Era, it would be great!

Avatar
Trex 1 year, 8 months ago

I have to agree with the this review. The glaring, obvious downside to this game is the pay to win aspects. It was really fun the first few days it was out but it has quickly become he who has a lot of powerful cards will win. Which has you purchasing for 9.99 a pop the rare cards. You'll easily spend at least 19.98 just to be competitive in multiplayer or just to get thru the campaign.

Avatar
RisingOne 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think that is the case. I've never spent money on cards (except for in-game money and runes) and I hardly ever lose a battle online. What irritates me is that Gameloft's servers crash all the time and the win/lose record is often misleading.