There is no lack of free to play games that are built around cards in some way, from fighting games using cardsto trading card games like the massive Hearthstone. In a genre that isn’t lacking in options it’s hard to stand out and that is how Infinity Wars went past me the first time. With their re-release I wanted to see if Infinity Wars Reborn had anything to make it stand out from the pack (pun very much intended).
From a standard gameplay perspective Infinity Wars Reborn plays like most trading card style games. At the start of each turn you get cards, you place as many as you want into your support zone depending on their cost and how many moves you have that turn. Once cards are in your support zone, you can freely move them from the defence lane, attack lane or back to the support zone at will on your turn.
Some cards come with skills that activate when triggered by an action on the field or being played or in some cases have reusable skills that have a cost to be used each turn i.e., uses two points to do four attack to an enemy card, so for the most partit’s what you would expect from a trading card game. These elements are super easy to pick up and run with, though they do become more complex with cards such as The Sleepers of Avarrach deck where moves are triggered by how long they have been dead or when they are killed.
There is enough complexity to that so you do have to think about which cards you play, when to play them and how to use their abilities and support cards to be most effective. With elements like elevated and flying cards there is just enough depth to be challenging but approachable even to newbies.
To get your head around the above and all of the games subtle nuances there is a campaign which has a pretty shallow story where the factions meet each other with some dialogue. This is really just a way to get you used to the different decks, how to mix the different deck styles and how they fare against each other. It’s not too long and requires an internet connection which annoys me fiercely due to my commute having some spotty 3G coverage, however it’s enough to get you used to the gameplay and to be honest it was surprisingly enjoyable.
As mentioned before despite there being single player modes like the campaign and the ability to play bots, the game is always online. I suspect there is reasoning but that’s an annoyance of mine every time it surfaces. Despite being free to play with micro-transactions, I honestly found I was given cards enough from daily challenges and bonuses to leveling up that made it feel like the micro transactions aren’t necessary, just a good way to give you a little boost. Online I had my rear end whooped enough but even with a stacked deck that happened so that was my skill level not the money spent.
The game real hook is the cards animations. Each card has its picture pane which is normal, but each picture pane is animated. So instead of being a character, it’s a character running, a knight’s helm coming down or the background is moving. For a hook that’s relatively unrelated to gameplay, it’s actually really cool. The animations all look really good and the art on the cards look gorgeous, which resulted in me wanting to inspect new cards more often and really helps with player engagement.
To be honest Infinity Wars Reborn isn’t anything revolutionary and it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s a free TCG that’s easy to learn, hard to master and super fun to play. There is plenty to enjoy offline if you just want to dabble and online for if you enjoy it enough. The micro transactions don’t feel necessary to compete, but they’re there for a little boost or want to support the developers. The animated cards are an outstanding hook that just pushes it over the top to make a great game.
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Released: December 2016
Platforms: PC (Windows 7 or Higher)
Genre: Strategy, TCG (Trading Card Game)
Developer: Lightmare Studios