Spectromancer HD

spectromancer dual mode
Players:
1-2
Multiplayer:Yes
AI:Yes
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:
Spectromancer
Price: $1.99
Purchase for iPad:
Spectromancer HD
Price: $3.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Spectromancer HD, 8.4 out of 10 based on 14 ratings

Spectromancer – Gathering of Power (to give it its full name) is a fantasy collectible card game in which players duel in a similar way to games like Magic the Gathering. Co-created by Richard Garfield (creator of Magic the Gathering), Spectromancer is easy to learn, making it suitable for anyone to try. If you find MtG too complex to learn or too expensive to finance, but still want to scratch that itch, Spectromancer might just fit the bill. Whilst this HD version is only available on iPad, there is also a standard version available on iPhone.

Spectromancer

If you’ve ever played Kard Combat, you’ll recognise the formula used in Spectromancer; Kard Combat was inspired by Spectromancer, and you can read more about the history of these two games here.

GAMEPLAY

The core mechanics of the game are simple: summon creatures and cast spells to attack and counter your opponent. Winning a duel is achieved by bringing your opponent’s health down from 60 to zero. You can play any of six different classes to begin with: Cleric, Necromancer, Mechanician, Dominator, Chaosmaster and Illusionist. Each class utilises five magical elements to cast and summon: fire, water, air, earth and one class-specific element. The value of these elements fluctuates throughout the game as you spend and accumulate them.

Campaign mode

Campaign mode

Spells and creatures are distributed as cards to each player randomly, based upon an algorithm in the game’s engine. This is very different from most collectible and deck building games, which usually allow you to select the cards you want in your deck. I was initially concerned that this would add too much ‘luck of the draw’ to the game, but every game I’ve played has seemed fairly balanced.

AI Duel mode

AI Duel mode

Each player has a row of six slots in which they can place their summoned creatures. If there is a creature in the opposite slot, they will do battle. If not, the attacking creature will do damage to the player’s hero, reducing his/her health. Spells can be cast to give the caster buffs or attack their opponent; the effects of some of these spells can be devastating, resulting in all creatures in play being exterminated.

spectromancer dual mode

There are also an additional nine classes available as one-off in-app purchases (three classes per package), but they are totally optional. These extra classes simply bring new strategies to the game, and are ideal for seasoned gamers who have mastered and exhausted the supplied classes.

Optional IAP is available

Optional IAP is available

In single player mode, there are four game types to choose from, and none of these require an Internet connection. Single Duel does pretty much what it says on the tin: duel against an AI opponent in a single battle. This is a great way to learn the different card abilities and classes, and prepare you for multiplayer. Campaign mode involves duels against various AI opponents, tied loosely together with a pretty standard story. Whilst the story might be a little dull, the duels are varied in difficulty and configuration, making gameplay interesting. League of Heroes is a tournament played against the AI, whilst Draft Tournament is the same thing, except you get to pick your cards to build your deck.

Draft Tournament mode lets you build your deck

Draft Tournament mode lets you build your deck

Multiplayer mode features three different ways to play. You can duel against a local player in LAN mode, duel against a local player in Hotseat mode (pass-and-play), or participate in the Online League. The latter requires a free Spectromancer account, and it allows you to fight in single duels, battle it out in tournaments with fixed groups of players, and enter the arena. Arena duels have special rules which change on a weekly basis, bringing new strategies to the game.

Online League lobby

Online League lobby

IMPLEMENTATION

In addition to the multiple game modes available, there are some useful features that are worth mentioning. During games against the AI, there’s a ‘Get Advice’ button which suggests which card to play next. This is especially helpful for the fledging player, allowing you to jump right in to the game. For more in-depth information on each of the cards, classes and game rules, there’s a comprehensive guide book for quick reference. Finally, any game you play – online or offline – gives you the option at the end to save a replay. This allows you to review your previous duels, enabling you to learn from your mistakes and adopt different strategies.

The in-game guide book

The in-game guide book

Admittedly, Spectromancer’s visuals are not quite as sparkly as MtG or Hearthstone (the latter is not yet available on iPad), but this is more than made up for by the utilisation of screen space. Several iOS card games are pretty much unplayable on the popular iPad Mini because the developers cram too much in, clearly only testing their apps on the full size iPad. Conversely, I’ve seen a number of apps which provide a clean interface at the expense of functionality, requiring me to flick between screens constantly. Spectromancer has nailed the user interface, achieving UI perfection: minimal clutter, maximum functionality.

VERDICT

9/10 Spectromancer is a rare treat in this age of pay-to-win. Packed with every gameplay mode you could ever want and stacked full of cards, it delivers the whole package. Whilst the story is a bit weak, the ease of play and depth of strategy makes this the most enjoyable CCG I’ve ever played.



There are 3 comments

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  1. Graham

    One of my favourite go to games on the ipad. It goes a long way back on the PC and deserves much love. Also try Astral Masters another PC conversion that seems criminally neglected.

  2. drengy

    I’ve been playing Spectromancer for a couple years and absolutely love it. It’s easy to learn, but there’s enough strategy that I keep going back to it again and again. If you have even a fleeting interest in strategic card games I urge you to pick this up.

    If you’re hesitant to spend $4, you can go to spectromancer.com and download the PC demo version for free, which will give you a taste of gameplay. But keep in mind that playing on an iPad is better because the game works really well with a touch interface.

  3. Hladolet22

    I totally rejected this game as a weak follow-up to Astral Masters when it first game out. And then I went back to it after a couple of updates and got completely and utterly addicted. I’m not surprised you like the interface — the developers were truly awesome in their commitment to this game on Kongregate, where I originally found it. I hope you enjoy kicking the snot out of an opponent with a magical squirrel as much as I have.


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