Shadow Era TCG Review

By , on February 25, 2011

Shadow Era TCG
  • Publisher: Kyle Poole
  • Genre: Card
  • Released: 24 Feb, 2011
  • Size: 100.6 MB
  • Price: FREE!
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Fun, 'free' collectable TCG; stripped down Vs. System gameplay.
  • Universal account; player specific decks available on any valid iOS device and desktop PCs.
  • Detailed artwork and 3D special effects.


  • Card selection prone to error; depends on camera positioning.
  • Interface a little too bare; critical information not always visible (player/opponent health, available resources, cards in hand, cards left in deck, etc.)
  • Deck customization lacking in features; sorting card by types, multi-card selection, and so on.


Shadow Era is a great first step for what could be a fantastic TCG for iOS devices - there's a lot of room for improvement, but the core gameplay is worth checking out if you're a fan of these sorts of games.

  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

Don't be fooled by its outward appearance as a free game - Shadow Era, much like any Trading Card Game (TCG) is designed to suck you in and trap you until you've emptied your pockets, your spare time and maybe even your friends. OK sure, I'm being melodramatic and not everyone is going to become obsessed about a new TCG, but basing the gameplay on something as popular as the World of Warcraft TCG and making it free is sure to snag a few people.

Like most TCGs the gameplay revolves around protecting your life-pool, represented in this game by a unique hero. Heroes are aligned with one of two major factions and a particular RPG class (priest, warrior, mage, etc.), determining the cards that are considered valid for deck construction (i.e., cards that don't match your heroes class or faction cannot be used as part of your deck). Each turn consists of drawing cards, sacrificing a card to be used as a permanent 'resource' (this can be skipped), summoning spells and creatures with the resources and attacking enemy units and their hero as well. This plays back and forth until a player reaches zero health.

The presentation and complexity of the game is absolutely stunning, with amazing artwork for each card; a 3D playing environment with special effects for each spell and attack; and a clear sense of how each class works, making specific match-ups harder or easier depending on your available cards. Gold and experience are earned by competing against AI and real-life opponents, but this also means you'll require an internet connection to play. The benefit to this is the ability to play your game in a browser as well as your iOS device, but for some this may be a deal-breaker.

Booster packs can be purchased with an in-game currency earned by either trading for real cash or by accumulating points as you level up, though 'gold' is also earned and cards can be traded on a market to earn more gold or to purchase rare cards making it entirely possible to play the game without spending a single dollar. The deck building system has some quirks to deal with and future updates will need to streamline and address the system to make life easier for fans of these games.

If you enjoy your card games and you don't mind sacrificing a bit of complexity for the sake of playing a free game, you could do far worse than spending your time with Shadow Era; it isn't perfect, but it's a great start.


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Espekayen 10 years, 8 months ago

SE is a good game but there is definitely room for improvement in many areas. The current version is playable but there are issues with the UI and some bugs that need squashing. The game is also in dire need of in-app instructions that need to be more extensive than the current rules on the website. The artwork, however, is great. I have spent £3 of real money on the game but you can play it with just the starter deck and acquire additional cards using in-game crystals as currency to buy decks, and gold to buy individual cards. (Both crystals and gold are earned by winning duels). The good thing about spending real money is that it is far cheaper than buying cards in real life; you get more cards for your money in SE, albeit they are digital cards. You can also sell unwanted cards (for half the buying price) to get more gold.
Shadow Crystals buys decks and booster packs
Gold buys individual cards
Win duels to gain gold
Sell your unwanted cards to acquire more gold
Level up to gain Shadow Crystals (I think you get 100 crystals every four levels, but don't quote me on that)
Overall, SE is a good game but needs a lot of work. It has loads of potential and with some good updates this will become a classic.

Ambiguity 10 years, 8 months ago

According to the Shadow Era website and forums, new cards and updates will be released every few weeks.
Even though a comparison with Mahig: The Gathering (MTG) is inevitable, one must still take into account that Shadow Era is VERY young and only has a little over 100 cards right now (with more to come in roughly a week, if I'm correct, which will change the way it's played slightly with the new Hero-weapons and Armor). MTG already has thousands of cards in its database, so one can't really say 'Magic is better. Not yet, at least ;)
I've been playing for a few days and I believe this game has a lot of potential. Trading card gamers are bound to like it and as mentioned in the Review, one doesn't really even have to spend actual money to stay competitive. You can use in-game earned gold to buy all cards separately at the merchants, even the Epic (most rare) ones.
Finally the Multiplayer is also fun to get into, as new matches are created every few seconds (I'm not even exagerating!) and one can get double rewards for beating people with a reasonable rank (double compared to when fighting AI-opponents.
In short: a game you should try for a while at least, and re-try after the upcoming update, to see if the changes will win you over ;) I hope this was helpful!

rekz 10 years, 9 months ago

I dloaded & installed it as soon as I saw it come out.
Game looks *beautiful*, but the setup is *very slow* and makes things awkward & boring.  The UI doesn't use any kind of 'iphone style' UI, which would really ahve made things more fun & I hope they will add in later.
Zoom into card & then not being able to easily get to next card(s), plus the completely awkward deck design UI ... is very disappointing.  I hope it leaps ahead with a little time?
I want to like it, but so far do not & can't give it above a 3* even though this game has clearly had some quality work done to make it..

talugo 10 years, 9 months ago

I've only been an iOS user for about a year now and I've seen dramatic changes (for better and worse) on games that I've picked up when I first got my iPhone. 
While this title may sit stagnant if it does not get enough attention, the work the developer already put in makes me think that this title will be vastly improved upon in the coming year.
But just like anything else, I could be wrong

rekz 10 years, 9 months ago

I've played it a bit more.  Still have mixed feelings.
a) the game is well-thought out, and very beautiful.
b) the game is FREE (so why not try it out?)
c) the game is VERY slow to play, deliverately, b/c of the game design.
d) the game is not quite as fun as Magic or similar CCG's.
I read on a TouchArcade forum that if you level up enough you can get 100 (crystals?  somethings) and buy a starter deck, and then you sell bad cards & get better cards.
Have only played to lvl 3, only have 50pts -- plus a bunch of gold that I'm not sure what you do with.
My fav part of this game is it's encouraging that a beautiful, creative & new card game can be delivered on the iPhone successfully.