I was reasonably surprised by this game, I was expecting just a straight up card-fighting game but found that the game had sufficient nuance and flavour to truly make it stand out in the flotsam and jetsam of somewhat virtually identical card games.
The game goes through certain lengths to explain that the name of the game stands for Battle Connections, which outlines the two components of the game. It is a duel between two characters, each having a range of discreet moves, who are also trying to lay down the damage on each other. The combat occurs through a variety of distinct characters, each who have their own unique styles and methods of combat. As you engage in combat with online players, you will eventually unlock an additional 12+ characters.
The game has an arena, which is a row of several circles, designed to represent how the duellists are positioned from each other (it’s part of the game’s mechanic for proximity). A key aspect of the game depends on this range and part of your plan of action will be to get your opponent in range of your strike. Beyond that, there is a combination of power, soak, and opportunity to stun that indicated whether you land a hit, and how much damage you inflict. The last person standing wins.
The other main component of the game is the connections. Each strike is the combination of two matcheable cards. The one on the left describes a combat style, and the one of the right describes a combat manouevre. Each will have a ranging that defines the action’s range, it’s power, and its priority. These all contribute to when, how hard, and where you can strike.
This is not a game for those who wish to enjoy a light diversion. The combat mechanisms are complex with about fourish levels of bureaucracy to determine all of the factors in whether damage was done. If you are the type of gamer who likes to plot and consider a large variety of mathematical variables I expect you to thoroughly enjoy this game. It’s not quite looking up charts on your dice roll level of administration, but it’s getting there.
The game does an admirable job of taking you through the tutorial. Though it’s not a guided tutorial (in where it takes you step by step through the combat process) it is probably the next best thing. It occurs through a dialogue between two characters, which are supported through visual aides that give you some point of reference. I will admit though, after about five minutes of reading the dialogue with attempts at humour I was somewhat fed up. I hit a wall at trying to absorb another layer of complexity in the rules and the supposedly witty banter was just furthering my irritation. Personally, I think this is an indicator that it should be a guided tutorial.
The other thing that is interesting about this game is how it presumes you will be fighting against other players. It is asynchronous play, but it gives opponents 30 seconds to respond to a play. There is an AI option, but this is described as training. You can train against a few dummies, and against the other basic characters. So technically, you can play against an AI opponent the fact that the emphasis is on human opponents clearly determines the means by which you can enjoy the game to its fullest. This is even further emphasised by the fact that the additional characters are unlocked primarily through online combat.
I think for an iPad implementation, this is a mistake, as solo play represents a huge portion of iPad play. Admittedly, they claim that it is better to play real opponents over AI opponents because the AI can never be as tricky or cunning as a real player. I think this is flawed reasoning, because dependency on real opponents means you can’t enjoy the game on its own terms.
7/10: For a game that’s free, you can’t go wrong. You can try and play and decide whether to keep it. However, it is clear that this game isn’t accessible to a broad audience.Battlecon,