Game Time: 3 hours
Neverland Card Battles is a strange little tactics game. It ranks right by Yggdra Union and Rondo of Swords in terms of shear outside-the-box thinking in what is a rather stale and rehashed subgenre. It's way too early for me to declare if the unique system is actually good or not -- I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.
Rather than maintain an army, as is done in most tactics games, you maintain a deck of cards similar to CCGs like Magic. You and your opponent begin on the battlefield alone, draw an initial hand of cards, and start walking. Each card requires "Costs" to play. Seriously. "Costs" is the name of the mana-like resource in the game. At the beginning of your turn, you gain Costs equal to the number of tiles on the board you have marked. Territory is marked by having any ally character walk across a tile. So on the first turn, naturally, you will have 1 Cost because you only own the tile on which you are standing. You can move 3 spaces, and end your turn. On the next turn, you will now have marked 4 tiles your color, and so will have 4 Costs and possibly can use a card. Also, you draw another card at the start of each turn.
Cards can do anything from summoning underlings, to healing, to direct damage, to enchantments, and I'm sure many more interesting things I haven't seen yet. The battle system is a combination of a CCG and a tactics RPG, and has strong gameplay elements from both.
10/28 12:35 PM
Game time: 16 hours
This game is either very short, or I'm so awesomely excellent at it that I didn't die as often as the devs expected me to, and a less skilled human would take much longer to play through it. I seem to be at the final level, although there's always that chance in an RPG that the final boss has multiple stages. Until the current stage, I only lost two battles. This "last" stage has already killed me twice though -- it's a tough one.
Luck plays a large factor in this game. The cards you win after battle are randomly selected from the enemy's arsenal. The stronger the card is, the less likely your chances of getting it are. As the game rolls on, enemy Dominators -- the title for people who can use cards -- get increasingly powerful while your little avatar stays puny and weak. Resultingly, you rely more and more on your cards to fight for you as you get deeper into it. Deck building and a good strategic thought are necessary skills, however I won many battles by the skin of my teeth, or because I happened to top-deck the perfect card at the perfect time.
While I typed this, the mailman just dropped Fallout 3 at my door, so, yeah, review blogs are great and all, but -- FALLOUT 3! OMG!
11/12 10:00 PM
Game time: 20 hours
I finished this game a few days ago, and need to write up the review at some point. I just wanted to throw out there that this game is, indeed, short for a tactics RPG, although it's also only $30. The only two updates I made while playing it sum up my thoughts well: it does an excellent job of combining CCG play and tactical JRPG play, but luck plays a big factor and it wasn't particularly fun. The dull visuals got to me as the game wore on too. Real Life happenings have sucked away much of my free time. Hopefully I'll have the review up by the end of this weekend. This is going to be one of those awkward reviews for me to write -- like Master of the Monster Lair -- because while the gameplay is solid and succeeds at what it tries to do, I wasn't a fan of it. So I need to get across that I didn't like it, but in a way that won't scare off those who will.
The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.