Immortalis, An In-Depth Review

6.3 TCG RATING
Gameplay: 5/10
Sounds: 5/10
Graphics: 7/10

More stuff to do than most casual card battle games. | Astounding art as always for this genre.

Quest battles have no interactive gameplay.

Android and iOS.

Free to play, with in-app purchases.

January 16,2013

English, French, German, Japanese, Russian

Immortalis, also known as Guardian Battles in Japan, is a casual card battle game for mobile/tablet devices. Undertake quests, capture Immortals and fight against other players in guild battles as you become the strongest Soulbinder. Immortalis is a fairly traditional casual card battle game with only a few new additions and deviations from the accepted model set up by games like Rage of Bahamut and Legend of the Cryptids, but it provides a couple of more interesting modes and features that makes it stand out a little bit more from those games.

So what does the game feature, and is it worth your time? Read on to find out…

questing1

The questing screen auto-completes just by holding down the Quest button as your character attacks the random enemies and collects loot from them.

Gameplay

Immortalis follows the casual card battle genre’s tropes almost to a T. Players go through a single-player quest system that has very little interactivity. You press or hold down the Quest button as your character attacks rows of enemies over and over, taking coins, mana potions and Immortal cards from them as they drop them. Occasionally you’ll need to fight a boss at the end of each Stage. Here, you choose two other players’ teams to take with you into the battle and your overall strength is compared to the boss’s.

However, when attacking the boss, there is a small mini-game of hitting a power bar as it moves from low to high power and if you hit it right on the top you’ll get a Perfect damage bonus. Other than that, there’s not much to the questing here. You need to get the level up points to use on increasing your stamina (which is used to throttle your progression through the Quests) or to increase the maximum capacity of strength that your team of Immortal cards can be made up of.

This is pretty much the most interactivity you’ll find when Questing, but you’re usually powerful enough that it doesn’t matter how well you hit the moving Attack Bonus bar until you’re past level 20.

As is usual for these games, sacrificing cards and evolving them is a big part of gameplay. You’ll sacrifice common, weaker cards in order to level up and strengthen your higher rarity cards. Something kind of neat here is that some rarer cards have “skills” which can only be activated by sacrificing certain elemental cards to them, or other such triggers. This is a novelty I haven’t seen in other casual card battle games and it made the process of sacrificing a bit more interesting for me than it usually is in these types of games.

The evolved forms don’t change much – usually the art is just “flipped” with a shift in some of the colors. They become a “+” or “++” version, and carry 5% of the attack and defense over from the one used to evolve it with, so it’s important to max out the evolving cards before doing it and you’ll be able to reach higher numbers than if you evolved them at level 1. Evolving also increases the party size cost that limits how many Immortals you can have in your party so you’ll have to be aware of that as well.

sacrifice

Sacrificing cards is an essential part of gameplay because without it your power level will be quickly outstripped by the enemies you face. It’s standard fare here, except for the quirky Skills feature that makes it a bit more interesting.

Modes and Features

Apart from the Quest mode explained above, there are a couple of other features and modes. The only PvP mode is actually a form of guild wars called Immortal Battles. Instead of individual PvP, the game lets you take a direct role within guild battles themselves. Immortal Battles occur with a long cool down timer between them as they only happen five times per day, so you can only join in at the appointed moment in time indicated by the large crystal timer at the top of each screen.

To win an Immortal Battle, your guild needs to amass more Guild Points (GP) than the opposing guild before the end of the battle. Guild members are formed into two groups, the Vanguard and Rearguard. Vanguard players are trying to score GP while Rearguard players are using their Assist skill to help the Vanguard players.

Players can use their team of Immortals to make attacks and use skills to help the whole team. This is a really interesting approach to PvP and to be honest, I’m surprised to find it in an otherwise run-of-the-mill casual card battle game. This is by far the heart of the game and it’s the best feature, one that I wish other card games would somehow implement as well. It allows you to make choices and have a direct influence over the outcome of a guild fight rather than just “whose cards are more powerful?” like in most casual card battle games.

There is a complex system of ranks, titles and guild advancement, so for those that really want to get into climbing the social ladder of this game, guilds are where the action is at. The social dimension to gameplay is what this genre of games has always been the best at, so it’s a great thing for them to actually improve upon that template with a combat mechanic that lets you get much more involved than just watching fights unfold with no interaction.

Here, I’ve used my Immortal cards to help with attacks. You only have a certain amount of MP to use over the fight but you can recover it as well.

The guilds are, then, probably the most involving aspect of the game and you really can do quite a lot inside the guild. One of the cool things I liked is the eggs feature: while Questing, you’ll find eggs that need to be incubated. You can ask fellow guild members to help incubate your egg while you help incubate theirs (contributing further to the sense of guild inter-connectivity).

It takes some time for the egg to incubate and when it’s ready to hatch you can come back later and open it up. Inside you’ll find a range of cool items and prizes like currency, cards, MP potions and other items. It’s a cool little “surprise” element to the game that gets you coming back to log in later.

It feels nice when fellow guildies come along to help you hatch your egg, and you get to see their little avatars joining in on the celebrations as it hatches.

Final Thoughts

Immortalis is a little bit more interesting than most casual card battle games, especially the PvP elements. There are some more complex things going on here than just comparing strength and defense stats. The unique skills system is quite interesting, especially when they require certain “triggers” in order to awaken them. I love the guild system and the Immortal Battles – they’re really exciting to join in on and watch your avatar play a direct role in attacking and using Immortal cards. I think this guild battle system is what ultimately will keep people playing the game if they find this style of gameplay appealing.

Otherwise, this is unfortunately your standard casual card battle game with a poor single-player campaign that is little more than spending time holding down a button to grind and level up. The art on the cards is really appealing, and is not far behind the standard of most other casual card battle games that have big budgets to spend on the card art. The pixel art animations for avatars and enemies in the Quest mode are well designed too. Ultimately though, I don’t think the art is good enough to save this game from being more or less a social app with art-collecting elements.

Maybe you’ll find the guilds interesting enough to stay a while, and if that at all appeals, then definitely check it out. It takes a while before you hit any sort of pay wall, even though the game will try its hardest to cajole you into buying premium currency to buy on packs and so on. You don’t need to do this right away though as the starting cards are strong enough to carry you through to a fairly high level. So it seems the game provides a viable free-to-play model if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. Try it out and see what you think.

For more screenshots, click here.

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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.

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