Solforge Preview

I was quite excited when the Solforge Kickstarter was announced. I consider myself a fan of the digital version of Ascension and so was quite interested to see what Stoneblade (previously Gary Games) could do with a purely digital format. Online card games aren’t something new and a slew of them coming out made me interested in the genre as a whole. The deal was sealed when Stoneblade announced that the don of the CCG genre, Richard Garfield was involved I got rather excited. Now imagine my surprise and disappointment when I discover that Solforge is a lane based card game that has already been done to death.

The artwork is nice and colourful

The concept of SolForge, and all lane based card games, is that you have five combat lanes. You can play cards into a lane and when those cards attack they do damage to the opposing card. If the card is unopposed then damage is dealt directly to the player. It’s a simple two player affair and is so rudimentary that the video game Rage even included it as a mini game. Of course each game in the genre adds its own little twist to try and distinguish it from the crowd. Solforge’s twist is that cards can level up. As the game progresses you are able to play stronger and stronger cards.  It means that the game steadily gains momentum, the first cards do small amounts of damage, nibbling away at your opponent and as you get to the 3rd tier of cards an unblocked attack is going to take a serious bite out of your health. There’s also the standard attack and buff spells that you get in most card games and these also level up as you play them.

The video game Rage included a lane-based card game as a mini-game.

Solforge really doesn’t do anything wrong, it just doesn’t do anything very exciting. The interface is rather bland, with a simple coloured background, and the attack animations are functional if a little uninspiring. It’s also an iPad only game at this point, a thing I don’t quite understand as this game should work fine on an iPhone. If Playdek can manage to get the complexity of Nightfall to work nicely on a tiny screen why can’t Stoneblade get a simpler design working?

Combat animations could do with some sprucing up but this is an early version.

What’s more worrying about this game is the concern that Solforge is free-to-play cash grab. Two decks come with the demo, if you want to buy another deck that’s going to cost you £2.99 / $4.99 . That’s the same price as Ascension costs for the full game. Fancy pimping out your play areas? That will be $1.99 for a new skin. Maybe I’m being a bit hypocritical here; I have enough plastic space soldiers, steam powered robots and shiny card stock to prove that I’m not averse to wasting my money on pointless gamer bits but when a single deck of cards costs more that most complete games I feel like it may be a bit steep. The best comparison for me is Summoner Wars whose deck cost just £0.69p / $0.99 each.

Solforge's big draw is that cards level up as you play them.

I wanted to like Solforge but it’s difficult to do so. What it does it does well, but its’ nothing new and certainly not exciting and with so many more online card games coming it’s going to struggle to be heard against the crowd. Admittedly Solforge is still in early stage of development with the iPad version being a kind of demo crossed with an open beta and the original Kickstarter mentioned brining the game to other devices. Hopefully there are things that can be changed that make the game more compelling. Bizarrely very recently Gameloft also released Order & Chaos Duel recently which is effectively

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment