Psypher – Early Preview

Psypher is a Sci-Fi Role-Playing and Trading Card Game set in a post-apocalyptic alien world where different races and factions struggle for power. With two factions and a decent array of races populating the game world, we can see that there will be plenty of diversity from the start. Psypher has a familiar look to it that you might recognize from some other popular card games — most notably, Hearthstone. Currently on Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website, Psypher needs your help to bring it to life!

The developers, Reactor Entertainment, wanted to create an exciting new card game by using their own experiences from their long experience playing TCGs. They have aimed to deliver a game that is “by fans, for fans”. Psypher will also be a true trading card game, with players able to buy and sell their cards with other players. This is something a lot of digital card games lack and really should implement. (Yes, Hearthstone, I am looking at you!)

With so many games seemingly very alike, can Psypher stand out in a crowd? Let’s try to decipher what’s on offer here.

Board_Info

This is where you battle it out with the opponent. You don’t need to be too eagle-eyed to see how familiar the battlefield layout and aesthetic looks, compared to other TCGs/CCGs available.

GAMEPLAY

Psypher looks like it will play a lot like Hearthstone, but does contain a few additional gameplay features that further enhance the gameplay beyond what Hearthstone offers. The first new feature is the Leader, representing the player, which can level up during the course of a battle. Leveling up your Leader will make them stronger, and the investment involved to do so is costly, but if you can get them to their final form, you should have enough power to turn the game in your favor.

There are 6 classes to choose from in Psypher: Assassin, Biotek, Bomber, Engineer, Ghost, and Psionist. Each one has its very own play style and unique powers. Your deck will be built around your chosen class, with both class-specific and generic cards available to build with. We are promised that there will be plenty of ways to combine cards in ways that will create powerful combos between them.

Card types are separated into Units, Ability, Equipment, and Trap cards. The obvious thing here is that Units are used to attack other Units or the opposing Leader directly. Ability and Equipment cards add extra strategy to the game when you play them to try and gain the advantage. Trap cards are activated when their conditions are met and you are able to pay the cost. The cost can differ, depending on the result that you want. Needless to say, springing a surprise on the opponent has always been one of the finer pleasures in card games!

Card-types

Here are some of the card types available. There will be a large variety with plenty of class-specific and neutral cards available. The template art is fantastic, and they’ve really nailed down their unique sci-fi aesthetic here.

Play is turn-based and each player will use their turn to try and swing the game balance in their favor. Everything looks like it will blend well together and the ultimate decision lies with the player at all times. From the start to the end of the turn every choice will have a consequence, be it positive or negative. The game will pull no punches and bad plays will be punished, as they should be. Reducing the opponent’s Leader to zero health before they eliminate yours is the ultimate goal here, as usual.

Decision-making is at the forefront of Psypher’s gameplay and this can be seen in the way you generate resources to pay a card’s cost. Whilst this mechanic isn’t new, it does give you a card draw in return — this is an interesting idea, to give you the extra draw after instead of before the mana choice, as some games that use this resource system will let you draw 2 cards to pay for using one as a resource. Sending the right card can be a critical decision in tight games, but does come with some rewards. Some cards will initiate a mission when sent to the Refinery and you can spend resources to complete it and gain a tactical advantage over the opponent. With several types of mission available, it again comes down to decision-making.

I’m really looking forward to some of the excellent gameplay modes the game seems to have on offer. The graphics already look beautiful and the battlefield looks well designed, if somewhat derivative. The great thing about the board is that as the battle goes on, parts of the board become damaged. This gives you a greater feeling of immersion in the struggle between the factions. It’s little bits of polish like this that a new game needs to be successful these days.

Concept-to-finish

From concept to finished product. The artwork is very visually appealing and that is always a prerequisite when you want to draw people in. I’ll be interested to see how the visual style develops further.

MODES AND FEATURES

From the Kickstarter page and what can be found on their website, it does look like they’re going to be packing quite a lot into Psypher. Of course, no card game is complete without a competitive mode. This comes with all of the PvP modes that Psypher will offer, with the biggest and most prestigious being the tournaments. These come in the form of the Arena and Warzone modes, which are both limited modes. I love drafting and sealed play, so the more the better!

Arena is where, after choosing your Leader, you are shown 3 packs of 3 cards and you choose the 3 cards that you want. These then vanish and are replaced with another 3×3 set, and this continues until you have 45 cards. This sounds like an interesting way to draft and I look forward to seeing how it works in practice. This is a slower mode that you can play at your own pace and once you’ve secured enough wins (or lost too many times) you can redeem your prizes. Sadly this mode doesn’t allow you to keep the cards you opened, but is a good entry into deckbuilding in general and should prepare you better for the Warzone.

Warzone is similar to sealed play, where you open a set number of boosters and then have to construct a deck from the cards opened. This type of mode can either reward the player greatly, or completely screw you over. It’s all about the luck of what you open from the packs that will determine the strength of the deck. This type of mode is found within a lot of popular online TCGs/CCGs, so if you’ve played enough of them, you should be able to jump straight in once you’re more familiar with the cards contained within Psypher.

Clans can be formed within the game too and this would be a great way to introduce friends to the game. You will be able to see their ranks, deck-win ratios, and other statistics from the clan screen. No doubt there will be some amazing clans to join throughout the life of the game and being in one usually gives you a bit of status within the community. Speaking of community, there’s also an Auction House, where you can buy and sell cards with other players. I love being able to get something back for the cards I don’t want, enabling me to build other decks far cheaper than buying ludicrous amounts of boosters in the hopes of getting a single card I need.

To me, the most interesting mode in Psypher will be the Invasion mode. This is a 4-player mode in a 1-vs-3 epic battle. Three roles are played by the Defenders: Assault, Support, and Burst in an attempt to stop the Invader, who is also controlled by a player. The Invader possesses an overpowered deck for their chosen class and the three other players also possess a deck unique to their class. Teamwork will be of the utmost importance if you wish to survive this encounter.

amazing-artwork

The art style is a little bit strange, but it gives the game its own unique flavor which I’m looking forward to seeing more of.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Psypher appears to have the right recipe for a successful TCG/CCG. My only concerns are that some people may feel it resembles other popular games too closely. I say that with a pinch of salt, because it is almost impossible to make a game in this genre that feels entirely unique. All that can be done is to enhance those old ideas and create new and exciting ways of implementing them. Psypher feels like it could deliver a fantastic experience with some intriguing innovations.

If you like the look of Hearthstone and love Sci-Fi, then this may just be the game you are waiting for. I know that I am eagerly awaiting a playable version for me to get my teeth into and see how it feels to play it. The Invasion mode alone offers a unique perspective on a PvP mode and the sealed play available in the Warzone is where I think I’ll be spending most of my time. I cannot wait to see what else will be announced for this title as the Kickstarter campaign continues. Make sure to check it out here and see what Kickstarter backer exclusives are on offer.

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Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by

Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.

  • Anon

    There is a possibility that Reactor Entertainment will incur a lawsuit from Blizzard Entertainment.

    Just like the Wizards of the Coast vs. Cryptozoic case.

    • Michelandjelo

      Nah, those Cryptozoic kids just stole everything and changed a look a little. This game just looks similar but gameplay is difrent. By your logic counter strike 1.6 would start a lawsuit against all other fps game on the market.

      • ZacPhoenix

        Neither Crypto nor this company will be sued successfully, because game mechanics themselves are not copyrighted – only if the look is practically identical that customers could be confused as to which game they’re actually looking at/playing. This is not sufficiently the case for either of these games, in my opinion.

        This is something I know a fair bit about. Wizards is trying to bully Cryptozoic into submission but the courts will not let it happen – this is a war of attrition, and whoever has the most money to throw at lawyers will probably win unless it can be resolved quickly by the courts.

  • Michelandjelo

    Those screen shakes are so irritating, but more competition for riggedstone is a good thing.

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