Card King: Dragon Wars is a free-to-play, 3D card and monster battle game set in a brightly colored, humorous fantasy world. The formula is a simple one, and the game doesn’t mess about with over-complicated stories. Instead, it focuses on its gameplay and keeping it as straight-forward and as fun as possible.
There’s a whole lot of other features in the game too, with all of the usual card-crafting, randomized monster draws, and evolution/leveling up from the more Asian-styled card games out there.
With so many of these hybrid card games in an already crowded marketplace, can Card King: Dragon Wars make its mark, or will it fade into obscurity? Read on to find out…
Card King: Dragon Wars does something different than some other games of a similar nature. It focuses on the gameplay above all else, with many different features and ways to advance your characters and “deck”. The first thing that I fell in love with is how the world is crafted. It moves in response to the screen moving and makes it feel a little more real. Other games opt for a static home screen that feels less involving. This drew me in straight away and I wanted to dig right in to see what each mode gave me in terms of enjoyment and pleasure.
There is plenty to do, but the main bulk of your time playing will be in the Battle mode. Here is where you will put your team of creatures (and their unique “decks”) up against a series of opponents and their creatures. The further you go, the greater the difficulty and challenge.
Winning unlocks the next stage in the series and subsequently gives greater XP and Gold rewards (soft currency used for a variety of other features). XP goes toward increasing your rank and the greater your rank the more game features you can participate in until they’re all unlocked. Great motivation for those who want to do everything they possibly can!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that the game can, and probably will feel like a bit of a grind at times. This is because you use tickets to participate in the battles and you are refilled on these over time. However, once you run out you will need to wait, or pay to have them refilled. This slows down the progress somewhat, but there are other features to explore that can pass that time well enough.
Before you head into battle you will need to build your team. There is only one resource system to worry about when doing this, and that is the team’s overall “weight”. You can see how much you have to spend up to and with each creature you place, this will increase the weight. Sometimes this will reduce the number of creatures you can use in a team, but it is all about striking the right balance between weight and power.
All creatures come with their own pool of 5 cards that are used throughout your fights. These usually suit the type of creature they come paired with. There are 5 creature types: Fighter, Utility, Recovery, Mystic, and Guard. Fighters are the beefiest of the creatures with high attack, but are weak to magic attacks from Mystics. Guards are the defenders and can sustain a beating from anything. Recovery creatures serve to heal or buff your other creatures with their cards and have strong magical attacks. Utility are a support type that have multiple functions and have the most balanced statistics among all creature types.
At the start of the fight you get one free summon of a creature, so I usually started with a Utility or Guard creature. You also start with 5 random cards from the entire pool of all of the creatures in your team. You can spend your resource points on attacking with a creature or using the cards in hand. Attacking with a creature will allow you to draw one random card from that creature’s card pool.
To obtain victory you need to wipe out all of the opponent’s creatures. The combat feels sleek and intuitive. Nothing about it felt complicated or too difficult, but you always have many actions and options open to you at any time which is what I really love about this game. Both you and the opponent are on a level playing field in terms of resource points available that restock and increase with each turn.
The only major differences are the creatures you use and the Hero Cards that come with each Hero character. You obtain these by filling the Hero bar when you attack and play cards. Creature attack animations are smooth and fantastic — the satisfaction you get from seeing a tombstone for an enemy creature is tremendous! All of this together makes for some of the most fun I have had during a card/monster battle system for a while.
MODES AND FEATURES
Card King: Dragon Wars gives us a multitude of different modes and game features. I’ve gone through the Battle mode quite thoroughly already but there’s always reasons to play levels again as they randomly drop new creatures for you to collect. The Dungeon is quite similar to the Battle mode in that you have to fight a series of opponents and defeat them to earn greater rewards. These reset over time and new challenges among them pop up for you to complete.
Completing Missions given by the game will net some of the premium currency of Dragon Stones or in-game soft currency of Dragon Fangs. Topping up the Dragon Stones with money is quite expensive however, more than I would have expected from such a simple game. This is disappointing, but it doesn’t detract from the overall free-to-play model that is viable for most players in the game.
Powering up your creatures is paramount to your continued success. Card King: Dragon Wars gives us a couple of ways to do this and both are found in the Laboratory. You can sacrifice creatures in order to level up another creature of the same type. This is by far the easiest and quickest way, but it’s also necessary for the next stage, called evolution. A creature needs to be at its maximum level for you to evolve it and you also need Runes, and these are super hard to come by. Like me, you’ll probably focus all of your attention on leveling and forgo the evolutions.
Other features include the Post Office, which is a communication tool for the development team to message you with the latest game info along with communication from and to other players. The Museum is a creature gallery and not really all that exciting. If you’ve got to “catch ’em all”, this is where you can see that progress. You can sell unwanted creatures for Gold using the Sell function.
Creature Eggs is where you mine for new creatures and you can smash the eggs to see what’s inside (higher rarity eggs require more taps to open the egg — a fun little addition to add to the excitement of getting a rarer egg!). All of these are really nice touches to the game to make it more enjoyable and gives you something to do whilst you wait for more tickets.
My Team, Battle, and Dungeons are the three modes you’ll spend most of your time in. The Multiplayer mode also features quite prominently and much like the A.I. battles, it’s your creatures versus your opponent’s. Except this time, it’s a human doing all the thinking and making the moves. Tackle other players when you’re ready, as doing so too soon will see your creatures squashed beneath the might of others!
DECKBUILDING AND STRATEGY
Card King: Dragon Wars is deceptively strategic. It is all too easy to be blinded by the cute creatures and forget that they have many different statistics, passive effects, and an entire card pool. Putting together a team will usually comprise of about 3 to 5 creatures. I failed to balance the types and their abilities early on which made life a little more difficult for myself until I worked out a better ratio. The game’s tool tips reminded me to view their passive abilities and card pools. From there I was able to piece together a team of creatures whose abilities would complement one another.
With the right Runes and some Gold you can unlock more card slots for a creature. I’m not convinced how important it is, as some of the cards I collected were worse than the base cards my creatures came with. The one thing everyone who plays this game should do is to level up their creatures at every opportunity. It keeps you on top in the Battle mode versus the computer and gives you a better fighting chance online.
I found that staggering my summons would spare some of my creatures from being targets. Utility-type creatures are a key favorite for the A.I. to go after. Use this to your advantage by summoning the Recovery creature a few turns in. This will give you a healer and one that the A.I. is likely to ignore. Don’t think human players will fall for that though. Next to the Fighter, the Recovery type is very dangerous!
Card King is an easily accessible game to anyone who wants to try it. There is little complexity and a whole lot of fun to be had. Its theme is more in line with a kid’s game, but that doesn’t mean an adult cannot have fun with it. It’s the type of game that is fairly addictive once you’ve gotten passed the initial grind. Stick it out and you’ll have plenty of fun and hopefully a lot of wins in the PvP Battles.
I love that the cards have different types of attack and defense stats (physical and magical) rather than the two-stat system that is done to death in other games. It widens the strategic options and makes for much more interesting and unique gameplay.
I love this game a lot and will be personally continuing with it in the future. Yes, it’s got all the free-to-play trappings of premium upgrades and purchases, but you’re not forced into them just to play the game. If you’re looking for a new card game addiction, this one could be it!
For more screenshots, click here.
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