Do you love collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering? Do you love strategy games like Risk and Carcassonne? If so, we’ve discovered an iOS game that perfectly blends these two into an incredibly deep and challenging gameplay experience called Summoner Wars. While you play this game with cards of varying abilities, much of the gameplay actually feels like a strategy board game (which is probably because it’s based on a real card/board game).
The combination of gameplay styles makes Summoner Wars feel completely fresh and new. Instead of copying games that feel tired and stale Summoner Wars takes a different approach, which is something I always enjoy seeing on the App Store. For any gamer looking for an experience with some serious depth and a pretty harsh learning curve, this one should be right up your alley. It’s not an easy game to learn, but once you do, it’s the kind of experience you can easily lose yourself in for hours on end.
Whether you own an iPhone or iPad, this game will hook you in. It’s even featured on our Best iPad Apps page, so you know it’s top notch.
Summoner Wars features some really deep gameplay. You will be playing cards from your deck to the battlefield with the ultimate goal of killing your enemies “summoner card”. Obviously, he has the same goal, and the strategy you employ during the game is going to decide the outcome.
Controls see you dragging cards from your hand into play, dragging units around the board to move them, and so on. It feels very intuitive, and it works perfectly for a game of this type. There is no learning curve required for picking up the game, at least as far as the controls are concerned.
However, the learning curve for every other aspect of the game is huge. This is not the kind of game you are going to simply pick up and play without spending some time learning the subtle nuances. Thankfully there is an extensive tutorial that will help guide you through the game’s intricacies. You will be asked if you would like to play the tutorial when you first boot it up, and I can say unequivocally that you need to go through it. I am a very experienced Magic: The Gathering player, and I would have had no idea what I was doing in this game without the tutorial (which has to say something).
Once you get a feel for the basics, you should still expect to lose to the computer frequently, as the level of skill and strategy required to play this game is fairly high. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a lot of fun, and working out the perfect strategy to defeat your opponent is quite sweet.
Summoner Wars features both online and offline play but an in-app purchase is required to get access to the online portion of the game. Even if you choose to forego the online aspects, just playing against the computer is a ton of fun, and that part of the game is free, so it’s difficult to complain.
Audio & Visuals
There is not too much to say about the graphics in the game, as it simply features cards and a board. However, what I will say is that in spite of how busy the interface is during the game with your hand, the board, the phases of the game and everything else going on, it doesn’t feel cluttered, even on the small iPhone screen.
The sound effects and music in the game are passable, but nothing special. I can’t necessarily knock the music, but I can’t say I love it either. The sound effects get the job done, and provide some audio accompaniment to the action happening on the battlefield.
The potential game life in Summoner Wars is positively massive. Even though it is essentially the same game all the time, each battle is different enough from the others to keep you busy forever. Even the process of learning the game takes a while. Throw in online play, and you have a game that you can easily spend many, many hours playing.
There are a total of four AI opponents in the free version, and each one plays differently. This helps keep you coming back longer by giving the core mechanics a feeling of variety.
If you are looking for a mobile game that you can get lost in for a long time, look no further than Summoner Wars. It’s incredibly deep, and comes with a steep learning curve, but if you are willing to put in the time to make the most of what the game has to offer it will be well worth it.
Download: Summoner Wars for iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad (Free)
Have you tried Summoner Wars? Did you enjoy the process of mastering the deep gameplay? Hit the comments section below and let us know!