With the popularity and increased accessibility of card based video games over recent years, it stands to reason that other popular franchises might want to lay a hand of their own. Namco Bandai have followed suit but does their brand of turn based card action work for the Tekken series? Read on to find out.
Game: Tekken Card Tournament
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Reviewed on: iOS (iPhone 5s)
Tekken Card Tournament is actually quite a neat little spin on the genre that sees two characters battle it out in the background, just like you’d see in the original games, whilst you play your cards down in the front end. After you’ve initially selected one of the small handful of characters you’ll almost immediately be ushered into the action and given a brief tutorial on how to play.
Compared to many card based titles TCT is perhaps one of the easiest to pick up I’ve played. You’ll have three options every turn: Focus, Strike and Block. The aim is draw cards with focus and build up a combo, then Strike unleashes everything you’ve built up in the way of damage. Lastly, Block burns the first two cards in your opponent’s hand without adding anything to your own. The game is essentially knowing when to stick or twist, with some heavy elements of luck coming into play through the random drawing of cards.
There’s a nice pace to gameplay that fits well with the idea of a 2D fighter. It’s pleasing to see because the essence of those fast paced fights could have been lost leaving the title completely void of its heritage. With a 10 second limit you’ll have to make quick decisions and there’s a fair amount of satisfaction in reading your opponents next play under that pressure. The models and general graphics also do the core games justice and frame rates were decent on the iPhone 5s – you won’t find much to complain about in the presentation area, despite a little blandness in places.
On paper, there’s really a lot to like about this odd genre mash up, but there’s some real deterring issues deriving from its adoption of typical mobile in-app purchase mechanics. Many games that adopt it are rapidly becoming bugbears of the gaming community and TCT is a prime example why.
The progression is unbearably slow. Building a deck with all the characters is intentionally dragged out to encourage these purchases and even with the coins you earn each game, neither do the game any favours as you consistently battle against AI players with decks full of cards you’ll only aspire to for a long, long while. Selling cards and the ability to fuse them does alleviate the annoyance somewhat, but barely enough to improve a game which feels like a complete grind when all is said and done.
It’s a shame because there’s plenty of potential and certainly a good amount of enjoyment, offline and online, with Tekken Card Tournament. Unfortunately it is its own worst enemy with the way the free-to-play IAP system has been incorporated; it might be an excellent way to bring a game to the masses, but when the game feels held back by its need to constantly hold out it’s hand for money, it really defeats the object in the first place, and ultimately tarnishes a fun little time burner.