The App Store is the perfect place for introducing new card games into the trading card game arena, which is no surprise given the versatility of the devices the games will be played on. Touch screen devices are ideal for swiping, dragging, and dropping cards, and players are familiar with the microtransaction model they use. Gameloft adds another potential success to the fold with Order & Chaos Duels, an intriguing high fantasy TCG that brings very familiar games like Magic: The Gathering to mind.
The spotlight is on building and creating a formidable deck to square off against a series of opponents with the perfect cards to ensure they go down in flames. After choosing your hero, warrior, elf, mage, or undead ghoul, you’re allotted a specific number of cards to get started with. Each battle is comprised of different rounds in which players can play Minion cards, drawing from what’s available in their mana pool to keep their monsters in play. Much like abilities that are activated when a card is “tapped,” Order & Chaos Duels imbues cards with their own specific powers such as automatic extra damage, instant buffs, and other boons that will give you an edge when heading into battle. There’s a fine line between offense and defense, and knowing when to switch from defense to an all-out attack will eventually aid in deciding a victor.
That’s where collecting as many cards as you can comes into play, since attention to detail and creative stratagems are the only way you’ll stay afloat. The AI can be tough as nails, and every battle becomes a taxing exercise in endurance. But you want to keep playing due to the extremely polished presentation. It’s clear Gameloft put a tremendous amount of effort into ensuring Order & Chaos Duels could go toe to toe even with the big dogs of the TCG world. Environments as well as the characters on the cards themselves are animated, and to look at the playfield teeming with cards you’d be hard-pressed to find a more colorful and magical play area in all the TCGs currently available. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and will end up being the reason you decide to spend more money to beef up your repertoire.
However, the purchase-to-play model could end up being the reason some players abandon the game for something a little more balanced. Spending more money for booster packs earns you considerably more power Hero cards, and thus it could be said that playres with deeper pockets could simply buy their way to victory. With the included cards, the balancing does feel a bit off for some of the classes, and the difficulty curve is unforgiving, especially for beginners. It’s a pricey endeavor to diversify your collection, but will eventually be necessary if you want to go toe-to-toe in the multiplayer component of the game. That’s where things heat up considerably, so if you’re not looking to spend any extra money you may want to stay away from this part.
It’s clear the game has plenty of content and additional items to keep it afloat, but it’s not immediately evident how long the game can stay active with a multiplayer audience that isn’t exactly welcoming to newbies. It’s got nearly everything else going for it, however, so the components are there. It just has to put them to good use, and it should have the potential to be one of Gameloft’s best TCG efforts.