Tekken a shot at the competition.
A legendary arcade fighting series is probably the last source of inspiration you'd look for when building a card-battler, but given the explosive popularity of the genre over the last 12 months it's no real surprise to see every publisher rummaging through the back-catalog to find something - anything - that can be mined for one of mobile gaming's most enduring crazes. Next up for the deck-building treatment is Namco's Tekken franchise, and the end result is Tekken Card Tournament.
Facing off against either an AI opponent or another person online, players have ten seconds to choose between one of three actions before the characters go head to head in a battle to whittle down the other's health. Choose the Focus action and you'll receive another card to add to your growing attacking pile. Should your opponent select Strike, then you'll leave yourself vulnerable to whatever assault force they've managed to accumulate. Finally, Block protects you from the damage inflicted by your enemy's first two cards - it's all very rock-paper-scissors at its core, but it's still good fun.
If this core gameplay is a little simplistic,then the same certainly can't be said of the game's presentation. Once your combat stance has been selected, each combat action then plays out as a faithful 3D recreation of the more familiar arcade Tekken experience. High kicks, blocks and punches fly around the screen, and the game certainly doesn't suffer from the rather grim and impersonal interfaces that dominate the card-battling genre.
Where the game does borrow a little more from the established pack is in its method of rewarding players with cards, whether through gameplay or the in-app purchase store. A Stamina system limits the number of matches you can participate in during any one play session, while the familiar Fusion system - allowing you to blend cards together for enhancements - unlocks only after a fair grind.
Cards can be bought for the currency you earn during gameplay, but a hefty coin purchase store will likely skew long-term multiplayer ranking rather badly. You can trade cards with other players for a fixed currency fee, but the most powerful cards - and therefore players - will likely originate in the cash store, where the rarest cards are guaranteed to drop from the most expensive booster packs.
By adding a certain amount of time-based tension to the strategy found in typical deck-based battlers, Namco is to be applauded for doing something new in a stagnating genre - although the monetization method is one that's just a little too eager and overbearing for our liking. If the combat is also a little too simplistic, we can still forgive it to a degree thanks to the remarkable production values that capture a little of Tekken's essence. All things considered, Tekken Card Tournament may not the greatest game in the genre, but it will tickle the fancy of any feverish battler - at least for a short while.
What's Hot:Very high production values, and something a little different in a rather tired genre.
What's Not:The mightiest warriors will have the deepest pockets, and the combat is pretty simple.