22 August, 2014

Review - Gotta Catch 'Em All in WWE SuperCard

Striking at a near perfect time – while still deprived of professional wrestling (because WWE Network still isn’t out in my country of residence yet) and as roster announcements hit for WWE 2K15, WWE SuperCard is a fun way to collect colourful pictures of wrestlers on your phablet (I’m sorry). The best part is that it doesn’t have to cost you a penny.

WWE SuperCard

SuperCard is a simple card battling game available on iOS and Android; you build and train a roster of five superstars and pit them against other player’s decks in fast flowing three part matches.  It is not a complex game by any means, also you do not directly play against other players, their decks are controlled by A.I. opponents. It is however a fun distraction and completely free-to-play, two things I can get behind in a phone game.

The Exhibition mode is the mode you’ll spend the most time with, meaning that it is also your primary method earning cards. An exhibition match consists of three random rounds such as; solo, tag team or diva. Each round will be determined by one or two stats, for example; in a solo charisma round, you’ll want to pick your superstar with the highest charisma. In tag team matches you will do the same, only with two wrestlers obviously, and each wrestler has an alignment chevron, select two wrestlers with complimentary alignment and their stats will increase, if they conflict both will decrease. This is pretty much the extent of the strategy that can be employed in Exhibition matches, you basically just compare stats. Naturally, whoever has the highest points after the three rounds wins the match, fortunately for me, I drew a rare AJ Lee right at the beginning, and a super rare Naomi shortly after, so I’ve literally never lost a diva round yet!

Exhibition matches are illustrated in a 3D ring, the cards swagger their way in, surrounded by pyrotechnics and lights, and proceed to pull off basic wrestling moves on each other. It’s a pretty fun way to show something actually happening when all you’re really doing is comparing numbers. In order to improve these numbers, wrestlers need to be trained. In WWE SuperCard you effectively feed cards to other cards to level them up and improve their stats. Rarer cards have naturally higher stats, so training cards is a useful way of clearing the garbage commons out your deck.  

In King of the Ring mode you are pitched in a tournament style showdown against fifteen other players, your reward is determined by the bracket you finish in. In this mode the matches themselves are all simulated, and the tournament takes a couple of days to complete. But that’s not to say you can leave it and hope to win big, between matches you have to manage your team of superstars; in short, use energy boosts to keep their stamina up, or swap them out entirely. As stamina decreases it drags all of the cards’ stats down with it, drastically, so if you’re forgetting to manage your superstars, be prepared for a stylish streak of losses.

Rather surprisingly – or at least it was to me – the game runs exceedingly smoothly on my iPhone 4S. Considering that the game is simple and largely made up of menus it should come as little surprise, however during my time with similar iOS games, such as Heroes of Dragon Age, there were considerable drops in frame rate and complete crashing – that game in particular was hardly playable on my device. None of that here though, the game ran smoothly throughout.

Cards flow quickly, but you can make them flow faster.

Naturally, as a free-to-play, or more importantly a collectible card game, you are able to acquire extra superstars through microtransactions, fortunately there no pressing incentive to make you do so. Cards are acquired by picking them from a selection of face down cards at the end of a match, you pick two if you win, one if you lose, so you are always gaining something – not merely some hugely inflated currency. The rarity of the cards available in this selection, is based on your deck tier, which is in turn determined by the rarity cards already in your deck. The lowest tier of purchase is for one card pick, for fifty credits, and the lowest amount of credits you can buy is two hundred at the cost of £1.49. By purchasing this anount you a acquire the number of cards that could be gained in potentially two Exhibition matches which take just seconds to complete. More expensive packs can be bought which grant random cards regardless of your deck rarity, such as a random card of common to rare tier. For a single card the cost is certainly questionable, but there is also no arbitrary factor limiting your time with the game, no energy meter or artificial gates to stop you from earning as many cards as you want.

WWE SuperCard is a light card battling game, simple and free-to-play. Although the in-app purchases are quite costly for what you get, there is no need to buy them, you can play and simulate matches to your heart’s content, gaining rarer and rarer cards for free. It’s easy to pick up and lose fifteen minutes here and there without thinking about it, but it does not necessarily have a lot of gameplay value on it’s own. My somewhat-neurotic collection habits are enough of a reason for me – I don’t want every card, or even most, I just want my favourite wrestlers. It’s a distraction, a time sink, to be played when you are waiting for something more interesting to happen and it’s a fun one too, but if you aren’t into collecting wrestlers there’s not a lot else here.

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