Game Review by Matt Bird
Game Rating = 4.5/5 Balls
I had to admit that I haven’t given computerized card games a fair shake in the past, especially if they take the form of titles the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering. Such things just get too complicated to keep track of. As such I was initially hesitant to even give Spectromancer a try, since that’s exactly what it is.
I’m glad I changed my mind. Aside from a few little irksome flaws, this is a really fun game.
Spectromancer drops you in the shoes of a magician who is trying to free the world from the clutches of some ancient demon. He has to travel the land, beating other magicians and gather mystical objects. The story is a hazy fantasy thing that, despite being somewhat involved, is fairly throwaway and cliche. The whole plot plays out through text and small pictures alone, thus eliminating any sense of grandeur.
That’s okay, though. I wasn’t playing for the story after a while. By the end I was much more interested in the game’s mechanics. Spectromancer pits you in one-on-one fights with other magicians, forcing each of you to play cards and try to drain one another’s life points. (Nothing startlingly original there, I’ll admit.) You do this by deploying soldiers and monsters into one of six spaces and letting them attack the enemy, or by using spell cards to wreak havoc on your foe. They can do the same back, of course, and when two character cards meet up they’ll duke it out until one of them dies.
The system is pretty similar to other card games I’ve come across.
What makes Spectromancer appealing, however, is that it’s really easy to pick up in a short period of time. I’d pretty much figured out the game after the third match or so, as the cards are all clear and the help screen, despite being fraught with grammatical problems, explains the game’s action rather succinctly. It’s a nice, tidy game you can learn in a few minutes and play for hours.
Aesthetically Spectromancer isn’t TERRIBLY exciting. The characters and cards are all gorgeously depicted, but since none of them move and the game’s menus are so straightforward you really do get the sense you’re just playing a card game. The music isn’t a whole lot better, either, so don’t expect to be wowed.
Spectromancer isn’t about the graphics, however. It’s the card system that makes this a great experience. I’ll admit that not everybody’s bound to enjoy this title, but those with keen analytical minds and a thirst to dominate opponents should enjoy themselves. Spectromancer is worth every cent of its $20 price tag, and I highly recommend giving it a whirl. 4.5/5
You should get this game if:
– You enjoy using your noggin
– You like card games
– You like realistic fantasy art
You should not get this game if:
– You’re impatient
– You want a high-octane experience
– You’re poor at thinking strategically
Three Donkeys created Spectromancer.