Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative strategic battle card game where the object of the game is to defeat a Villain using a team of Heroes, each with their own unique Deck of cards and Powers.
The digital version we are reviewing here today was originally released as a tabletop card / board game that has won a lot of praise for its original approach to the genre. Appealing to the nerd or geek in all of us, Sentinels of the Multiverse captures that comic book aesthetic perfectly, with a faithful art style and a generous roster of Heroes and Villains to choose from and play against.
But does simply looking the part give this game the right super powers, or is it a bad game? Read on to find out…
Sentinels of the Multiverse‘s tutorial is helpful for learning gameplay, but you can only ever select available actions and the game moves through the phases of a turn automatically, so you can skip the tutorial and jump right into game play if you wish. Just don’t come crying to me later if you don’t understand something that would have been covered in the tutorial, alright? I’m just kidding. Do as you please.
Before you start the game you can choose the setup, and thus the difficulty of the game. Villains currently have a range of 1-3 for their difficulty, with 3 being the most difficult. Heroes have a similar scale, but this time it’s about their complexity to play. Some Heroes, such as the one called Absolute Zero, don’t focus on a traditional style of beat down, instead opting for a completely different style. After selecting your Villain, a team of 3-5 Heroes and an Environment for them to fight in, you can begin the game, and the fight!
The Villain is the first to get their round, hatching their nefarious plot to bring doom and destruction to your righteous Heroes. Each Villain has a unique setup, Powers, victory condition, and deck of cards that help them attempt to carry out their evil plot. For example, Baron Blade will launch his attacks and win the game when he has 15 cards in his Trash, forcing your Heroes to regroup and try again in another game.
Your Heroes will be next to take their turns, and just like the Villain, each one have unique decks, Powers, and cards. From what I can tell, the decks are pre-constructed and there is no way of changing the cards within. I don’t mind this approach as it means every game can be different depending on the Heroes you’ve chosen, and it can also make a significant impact on the overall difficulty of the game. Most abilities are basic and are what you’d probably expect from a card game: draw cards, use additional Powers, aid companions by increasing Damage, or by dealing direct Damage through an attack.
Each Hero goes through the same game phases, and these consist of the following: Play, Power, and Draw. During the Play phase, you can play a card from your hand. Some of these cards have a single use, whilst others are on-going, or you can play different Equipment cards that remain in play. Most cards will cause a single interaction, but some will cause a chain of effects to happen. If more than one matching card can be targeted by that effect, you will be able to choose the resolution order. Choosing can often help you stack effects, or bypass the negative ones from occurring altogether. This is where a lot of the fun can be had, in causing chains of resolving effects and working out how you’d like them to resolve.
The Power phase is where you can use the active Hero’s Power or one from a card that is in that Hero’s play area that also has a Power. You will sometimes be able to use multiple Powers a turn with the aid of other cards in play. The Draw phase is the last active phase you’ll go through, once all other effects have resolved that turn.
Play then passes to the next Hero, or the Environment if the last Hero has taken their turn. The Environment, just like Heroes and Villains, also has a unique deck of cards. It doesn’t have a particular objective, but can cause problems for you if you’re not careful, and sometimes it can inadvertently help you. In one game I played, it was the Environment cards that delivered the final blow to the Villain I was fighting! It’s kind of fun to have this semi-random element present in the game and I found it to be one of my favorite things about the game’s mechanics.
Modes and Features
Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative game, but can also be a single-player game. How can a game be both cooperative and single-player, you ask? Well I guess the developers have called it that because you use a team of Heroes to take down the Villain and you can get different people to pilot a Hero each, if you want, or you can play solo and play all of the Heroes yourself. There is no online multiplayer either, only local co-op.
There aren’t any alternate game modes to speak of, per se. You can randomize the Heroes available for the fight in each game you play, and there’s a cool feature that let’s you “explore the Multiverse”, which shows you the greater story details behind each Hero and Villain. Other than that, though, there are no additional modes to play around with.
The in-game store will offer you access to a couple of the expansions available, which are currently a small offering. These will add new Heroes, Villains, and Environments to the game. This does offer some replay value beyond the core game, if you really enjoy the game enough to want to see more content, but it’s not enough to significantly change the way the game is played. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the extra variation these add-ons created in the game play.
Deckbuilding and Strategy
Sentinels of the Multiverse isn’t too deep in strategy, and there is no deck-building to be done here, either. I personally found this to be quite disappointing, as building a deck for my Hero has a much bigger appeal to me than not being able to. If there was another game with a similar cost to this that allowed that, I know which one I would choose…
Aside from that, there is some strategy that can be figured out once you’ve examined the different cards available to each Hero through the Multiverse. However, it is a limited strategy and one that is ruled by complete randomness, so be aware of this if you’re usually frustrated by high RNG in games. You’ll not be able to prepare your deck perfectly for what each Villain and Environment may throw at your Heroes.
A personal strategy I liked to employ was to power up Heroes using their own health points. This might seem a little crazy in thought, but is great in practice, as you’ll be dealing more damage to the Villain than what your normal abilities would be able to grant. Absolute Zero and The Fanatic do this very well. Be careful though, because if you do this too often, your Hero will fall.
If one of your chosen Heroes does fall, it is not the end for them. In fact, they will flip over and gain access to other powers that will help and encourage your remaining Heroes to avenge the fallen. When a Hero is in this state, it is no longer able to play cards, or use a Power that would attack. Their Powers are more geared toward a support role at this time. (This is a cool piece of game design and I really like the way it is implemented, so kudos to the designers of the original game on that one.)
I really do find Sentinels of the Multiverse to be a fun and exciting game, for the most part. I enjoy the approach to a battle card game that is different from others that I have played before. I like the randomness given by the Environment deck and that each Villain needs a different approach to defeat them. What I also feel is that there is a lot of wasted potential with the game, too. It could have done so much more to wow you, and although this is a faithful digital conversion of the physical game, they could have done more with it and explored the unique advantages of the digital space, perhaps.
The user interface is simple and functions well, though you may want to speed up the animations and dialogue boxes that appear on screen, as they can take some time to get through. Graphically speaking, there isn’t much in Sentinels of the Multiverse that’ll amaze you, but for what it sets out to do, it does a good job at representing a superhero universe full of fighting Heroes and Villains. What else would one expect from a game that took its looks from comic books?
I would have liked a bit more done with the graphics, such as animations and possible cut sequences for fights between the Heroes and Villains that have each other as a nemesis. I would also hope that the developers of the game offer us an extra game mode where we can tweak our Heroes’ decks in future expansions.
Either way, as long as the expansions keep coming, I will continue to play Sentinels of the Multiverse and see how the game evolves. If you’re interested, you definitely should check it out.
For more screenshots, click here.
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