Review: Card City Nights 216 Nov 2017 2
Review: Card City Nights 2
Released 09 Nov 2017
We are smack dab in the middle of the boom years for mobile gaming. Great titles come out on a weekly basis, and there are so many great options that it'd be impossible to come anywhere near playing everything you'd like to. Despite this cornucopia of games, one title has been long missing from the mobile experience: Magic: The Gathering. While it looks like that may soon change, mobile gamers have been forced to find their M:TG fix elsewhere. Hearthstone stepped in and locked up the top spot long ago and other games have slid into the premium CCG niche. Card City Nights is one of those games.
Card City Nights is a collectible-card, role-playing, adventure game where you play as a newcomer to a town obsessed with a CCG. So very meta. You become embroiled in a quest to collect all of the game's mythic cards—the rarest of the rare. To do this you'll travel about town and face off against various NPCs to win booster packs—these expand your card collection and unlike real-life Magic: The Gathering cost you nothing—and earn the right to take on the city's top players and, hopefully, win their mythics. That game is a lot of fun and now, there's a sequel.
Card City Nights 2 trades the town for a city-in-space, the Starship Frivolity. It too is a role-playing game/collectible-card game hybrid and you start the game in a refrigerator, unsure where you are. The last thing you remember doing was going to get some milk. It soon becomes clear you've been in the cold storage room of a starship's café for a couple months. You seem fine with this and go on about your life. That life consists mostly of traipsing about the Frivolity interacting with NPCs and, of course, playing them in The Card Game (TCG) a collectible-card game with which the entire ship is obsessed.
The TCG gaming community aboard the Frivolity is organized into tiers based on ability and your goal is to fight your way to the top tier by finding and defeating the gatekeeper for each new tier. As you go you earn card packs—and coins that can be used to buy more packs֫—and start building your TCG collection. Reaching higher tiers also opens up more areas of the Frivolity to you and unlocks more and more pieces to the ship's underlying mystery.
The Card Game is like the one used in Card City Nights. You play cards to reduce your opponent's defense to zero but rather than casting spells that directly affect your adversary you build combos on the gameboard by connecting the arrow symbols on cards. Once you link at least three cards you activate their effects which count down, turn by turn, until they resolve. Card effects deal damage, restore health, silence or cage your opponent's cards, and more. Unlike in Card City Nights, you and your opponent both play on the same gameboard. This adds a different layer of tactics to the game as you can block each other's combo attempts and otherwise compete for real estate on the board.
The single-player game does a nice job of walking you up the learning curve. Your initial opponents require only straight-forward tactics to best but as you move forward in the story and add to your card collection things get progressively more challenging. You'll need to constantly tune your deck, or maintain more than one, to adjust to the tactics presented by your opponent. Deck building offers some nice strategic options and you can choose cards that best enable the combos that suit your playstyle. A key consideration is power level versus arrow options. The stronger cards offer fewer connection points. Less powerful cards offer many more. Finding the right balance of power, arrows, and effects will entertain most deck-building enthusiasts.
Character and story development progresses along with your card collection and as you move around the ship, meet new NPCs, and return to old acquaintances you'll learn more and more about the ship and its denizens. You'll also unlock new storylines and side quests, which also present new people to play. Character dialogue is snappy, well-written, and amusing and the story adds to the game while keeping out of the way of those who just want to play cards.
The overall aesthetic in Card City Nights 2 is much like the original. It has the same cartoon look and feel, same quality of music, and same goofy humorous style. The background in each locale is rife with Easter eggs for those who are willing to click around. You'll find plenty of coins and cards for the taking, which is a nice touch.
Unlike the original, Card City Nights 2 offers online, cross-platform multiplayer. You can play both standard and draft modes. Standard lets you play a deck you've already built. You have access to all possible cards, not just those you've unlocked in the single-player game, so those looking to just get in and play online don't necessarily have to play through the campaign. Draft has you draft 30 cards by picking one of three cards offered thirty times. You'll get access to eight rare cards and three mythics. You then build one or more 24-card decks from your 30-card pool and use them to play opponents until you lose twice. Both modes are fun and challenging, though it can be a little hard to find a game at certain times of day.
Card City Nights 2 is a fun RPG/CCG hybrid where you pay one price for a great deal of play time. The single-player campaign is deep and satisfying and worth the price of admission. The additional of online standard and draft formats offers plenty more opportunities to play. If you enjoyed Card City Nights, or like collectible-card games in general, you can't go wrong picking this one up.