Now before I get into my review, I want to say that I have played and still play a lot of TCGs. Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, even Card Fight Vanguard! Going into this review I am taking my experience as a professional-level card player.
Now in Spellweaver you start as in many other trading card games, by picking cards for your deck. In this title you have five different types, much like in Magic the Gathering, which are categorized into Darkness, Light, Forest, Water, and Fire. These five types are the focus of the decks in there game. However unlike Magic the Gathering you can not mix archetypes, so the decks will always consist of a single element; never a mixture unless the developers add some kind of support for it in the future.
Now the mechanics for the game rely on three crucial points. The first is your hero or heroine. Once that choice is made, you are limited to the element type of that choice. For example a forest-related hero can only use forest-related cards, and so on. The second key point of the game is your rage level. The rage level indicates the level of the cards you can play, and is shown by a simple icon that represents your elemental type. The last key factor is your mana level. Now mana drains anytime you play a card and is represented by the purple gem at the top of the card. You can build mana or rage levels by discarding shrine cards into your graveyard and selecting which you want to increase.
The increase for the game remains permanently, and the mana restocks after each round so that you can play more cards. The rage count never depletes and is just meant to be an identifier to tell you how high it is and if you can play cards or not.
Now the rest of the game is straightforward. At this point you must keep a minimum of 60 cards in your deck. Create a deck around your element, summon monsters using your mana and raise your rage level and attack your opponent directly. As in Magic the Gathering, the first player to lose all 20 of their health points loses the game. The tutorial is effective in teaching you these mechanics, and the game is fairly easy to pickup and learn.
Now the preceding is all well and good, but those are just the rules of the game. Now here are my thoughts on it, and if you want you can even quote me on this.
“Wizard’s is gonna sue a bitch!”
The game has so many visual and mechanical similarities with Wizards of the Coast’s Magic the Gathering, that it makes me wonder if the game is going to have any stable footing on Steam. The game refers to cards as artifacts, spells, and instants, as well as monsters being called creatures. It even has a card called Fireball which does 3 damage to a creature or player as well as Goblins being exclusive to the Fire (red) elemental type. Same with Elves being exclusive to the forest element.
The heroes themselves act a lot like Planeswalkers in the sense that they are characters with various abilities and have their own health and the reliance on mana. Again, this is much like Magic the Gathering. However unlike a lot of TCGs, their focus with the mana doesn’t involve tapping it, but rather feeding your graveyard. By playing it for mana you help mill through your deck so you don’t end up with dead draws or dead hands. Although the game does have an opening rule for a mulligan where you can re-draw your hand if you are not satisfied with it.
The artwork for the cards and the game itself is incredible; breath-taking even, and I absolutely love the style and direction they went with it. It makes me draw the comparison line again to Magic the Gathering. In conclusion though, I absolutely do love the game and how it rewards players by giving them in-game currency for winning; much like Hearthstone, and gives them the ability to upgrade their deck with real world or in-game money for cards.
But it just feels like it is screaming for attention, and the controversy is its mainstay. It is fun though, and I really do enjoy playing it. Even though I recommend it, the question is how long it will stay alive once Wizards of the Coast hears about it.