Friday, May 9, 2014

Solforge --- Late to the Party Ryview

Solforge, by Stone Blade Entertainment.

Solforge is a Card Game for iOS in the style of Magic or Tyrant. It has a very nice system of in-game card leveling that adds several layers of strategy to the gameplay. The game offers a large variety of cards from 4 different factions, allowing the player to cater their strategy accordingly. The game is wonderfully addictive, but the lack of a campaign or other game modes stunts the game significantly.

I want to start off with a disclaimer. I actually started playing this game when it was still in Beta, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to list it as a "Late to the Party" Ryview. However, because the game has been out for so long, I think it's still appropriate. Also, I want to point out that I love this game. Despite its repetitiveness, I find it very fun and I keep playing it. I will do my best to rate it without bias.

Solforge has a very common basic mechanic. You have spells and creatures, where creatures have an attack value and a health value, and you deal damage to your opponent when your creatures attack an empty lane. The different cards have a wide array of skills and traits, which can be combined to very devastating consequences. For example, there is a card that can swallow up an adjacent card, receiving the attack and health from the sacrifice. If this is done to a card that can respawn, then you just essentially gave yourself some free stats. Combine that with a card that gains attack and health when other cards are destroyed and you have an unstoppable machine.

Several cards exercise the "crappy, crappier, OMFG BEST CARD EVER !!1!" system of leveling.

I also really like the leveling mechanic. All your cards start at level 1 at the start of a match. Whenever you play a card, it's leveled up and it's available to you after you reach level 2 (which is after 4 rounds). The maximum level is 3, where most cards have extremely high special skills and/or attack and health. Unfortunately, that means that there is no long term way to level up your cards, but it also keeps with the real world card games where you're anxious to collect the best and rarest cards.

There are a few different game modes, such as playing a computer opponent, a local opponent, or a matchmaking online opponent. And there are also tournaments where you play a few opponents in a row (and there are special circumstances sometimes, such as you both using the same deck for that tournament). However, as you may have noticed, all those modes are pretty much the same. You fight a computer, or you fight a human. There may be different rewards, different decks you're facing, even different play styles, but it's still the same basic match. Over and over and over and over. There's no way to change the match length (you and your opponent always have 100 health). There's no way to change deck size or really alter anything about the gameplay. It's consistent, but there's very little change.

"Hundreds of unique cards to collect...but we'll sell them to you if you don't feel like grinding for months"

The game has come a long way since it's initial beta. It's gone through buggy phases and it's had frequent card re-balancing, which I appreciate. And when they first introduced PvP matches, they were intolerably slow. But even with all that improvement, the game still feels unfinished. There's a grayed out campaign button on the home screen that has never been available. There are even still functions that don't work properly (the quick match option never saves which deck I'm using).

There are several options in the in-game store that require premium currency only (the free in game currency will you get basic packs and a few other items through heavy grinding). This means that some amazing cards are purchasable by the paying enthusiasts, making human matches effectively impossible to win if you're unwilling to pay.

Honestly, in my opinion, this is one of my favorite Collectible Card Games. If you're a fan of the genre, you should definitely try it out. It's free to play, and if you enjoy logging in everyday and playing computer or human opponents for fun, you can get enough currency to get some pretty nice cards (and the daily log in/game bonuses usually have card pakcs). But if you're looking for an innovative, engrossing experience that isn't the same thing over and over again, this probably isn't the game for you.


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Final Score

Let me know what you think of Solforge!

Until next time,


Pictures courtesy of Stone Blade Entertainment

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