Review – Shardbound – Bringing Together A Smorgasbord of Genres
It’s rather common for video games to blend in elements from different genres. For instance, a platformer may mix in elements of the puzzle genre. An adventure game may incorporate role-playing elements. Video games have been mixing and matching various genre elements for decades. This is the case with Shardbound by Spiritwalk Games. Shardbound blends in elements of a CCG (Collectible Card Game) with those of a strategy game. I must say the elements weave together well, almost as if they were made to be mixed together.
Shardbound is a game that delivers on its core premise
First, it’s important to note that Shardbound is in early access. Which means that some elements of the game aren’t yet final. The game is rather straight forward. You use decks to battle other players across the various shards of the world. Once you play a card it comes to life on the battle map where you can then control it. It’s like Magic the Gathering meets Final Fantasy Tactics. You also get control of your decks hero unit from the start of the match. The match ends when one players’ hero unit is defeated.
When I started the game, it seemed like it was going to be unnecessarily complicated. Those fears were put to rest as I played through the games tutorial/prologue. The tutorial gets you familiarized with how the game works. Everything from the various card and unit types. How to properly play the cards from your hand to the game board. Even the special abilities that your hero units can perform, and how the maps themselves work.
It also sets up a nice little story as it introduces you to the games various heroes. I would’ve preferred an entire single-player story campaign. This is more of a personal preference on my part and not something that hinders the game in any way. There’s plenty to do on each shard between battling other players and unlocking achievements.
While there is plenty to keep, you busy in Shardbound it all revolves around PVP for the most part. If PVP isn’t your thing then chances are Shardbound isn’t for you. The matches are rather fun and engaging since you’re playing against real people. You never know what card they may bring to life next, or what tactics they may use. This makes every match fresh and exciting.
My only real complaint here is the fact that once you’re just starting out. Mirror matches are rather common and those matches can become long and tedious. It’s not anyone’s fault it just happens that me and my opponent were going for the same objectives. Resulting in us using the same decks, this made for some long and tedious matches. It’s not a problem that I’ve run into since, after getting more cards and making some custom decks.
While Shardbound is free-to-play, it does have a microtransaction system in place. Unlike other games this system isn’t pay to win. Instead you can buy a booster pack that contains three random cards. Out of those three cards you must select one. The one you select is the one that you get to keep and add to your collection. The other two cards are then discarded, and your booster pack has been used.
Shardbound is a game that works to offer players something different. Which it manages to do that on many levels. From collecting cards, strategizing deck builds, testing your skills against other players. The developers have worked hard to ensure that there’s plenty to keep you busy. While also ensuring that the matches don’t get dull. This is more than a lot of games today can say. Shardbound is currently free-to-play, so you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.
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