Thursday, February 11, 2016

IOS Review #111: Decromancer

Title: Decromancer
Developer: Unit9
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: Free
It can be easy for mobile games to slip under the radar. Given the sheer amount of releases each week, decent games can come and go without ever catching many eyes. Decromancer first released in 2013, afterwards making its way to Android and Steam, I only discovered the game last week and completely surprised by its tactical card combat and wealth of content.
Decromancer's story is simple: explore a enemy-filled map, help a stranded diplomat to get home. But story isn't the focus here; it's the game's tactical combat and in that aspect, Decromancer shines quite brightly.

Encounters takes place on a four-by-five grip, with enemies controlling the top two rows and you controlling the bottom two. Each turn, you can draw three cards from your deck. So far, kind of standard. But while the mechanics are akin to the wealth of other card battlers, the actual combat is strategic and all about positions and abilities. Each unit has a specific range of effect and special skills: spearman can hit two tiles in one blow, archers can randomly target three tiles, healers assist all adjacent tiles, and so on.
This allows an incredible amount of tactics. Protecting your front row with siege shields while peppering an enemy's front with protected spears. Place powerful snipers in your back row, while reinforcing your front line with healers and swordsman. As you gather more powerful cards and upgrade cards already in your deck, the strategies only grow more complex, allowing you to stack status effects, attack ranges, and buffs to annihilate your foes. An arsenal of spells further expand your tactics, letting your unleash a horde of rats, call down meteors upon your enemies, increase your ranks' defense for several turns, and more.
Of course being a card game and free, Decromancer is likely to cause some to be hesitant, but it's surprisingly fair. There aren't any card packs to buy, and while you can purchase gold or shards to heal your cards, the game rewards you with both frequently. By the time you're facing stronger factions, you'll earn thousands of gold and dozens of experience points per battle, letting you continuously upgrade your cards and gather new ones from merchants. And while the early game can be pretty grindy, the constant dripfeed of new cards and unlocks and the satisfaction of decimating lower-level foes with your superior tactics and powerful cards provides a good push to keep playing.

Decromancer is available for free. You can also find the game on Android and Steam.

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