Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Game Reviews: Ether of Magic Cards

Ether of Magic Cards is another card-themed flash game, but a little different than the last few: It has elements similar to a TCG, but doesn't actually pretend to be one. (At least, it isn't a direct imitation of any TCG I've ever seen, though I've also seen a few other similar flash games...)

You play as a wizard with an array of spells represented by cards; these cards are loosely color coded by power level, and have various somewhat diverse effects. You fight other wizards who are... pretty much you with palette swaps and a mirrored character model.

The white-colored cards are pathetic; yellow cards are stronger, and a few have useful utility purposes (Antidote for removing poison, Dispel for eliminating positive status effects on enemies), red cards are stronger but rarer, and black cards are very rare and obscenely powerful. (With two copies of the most powerful card in the game, God's Wrath, in your opening hand, you'd need only one other weak card to definitely win the game without your opponent making a successful move. I've done this more than once, although it's admittedly unusual.) The game is pretty simple overall-one could probably play it with mocked up cards and only a sheet of paper or something to track health.

The gameplay is not enormously engaging; it ranges from brutal curbstomping as described above to grueling and annoying drawn-out battles where your opponent just keeps healing himself over and over and over again. It's also rather short overall-perhaps half an hour or forty-five minutes of gameplay will take you to the final boss (above), and that's on hard. You only "retreat" when defeated, so you just have to be persistent.

I like this game, but acknowledge that lots of things about it are dumb and annoying, and can't wholeheartedly recommend it. I can say that having fun isn't impossible with it, but it takes more work than a lot of games.

-Signing off.

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