Stop me if you've heard this one before.
That it's taken Zynga so long to join the Collectible Card Game train is the most surprising thing about War of The Fallen. Rage of Bahamut kicked off the current craze last year and cleaned up admirably, while Magic 2013 delivered a more polished, premium and strategic offering for fans of the genre. Countless others have followed, each one confirming that tablets in particular make a fine modern day home for the otherwise fiddly nature of these games.
If your eyes glaze over at the sort of generic fantasy fluff found in the majority of CCG games, there's nothing to amaze you at first glance here, although War of the Fallen is no more guilty than any other title of consulting the dictionary of established fantasy cliches. Great good, and even greater evil, do battle through the medium of digitalized papercraft to determine the victor, and the story is played out across a series of battles staged within the game's sprawling lands.
You're accompanied on your journey by an unsurprisingly large-breasted Dreamling creature, who by legend teaches warriors how to spend money in the in-app purchase store. Less cynically, its role is to introduce you to the various mechanics of the game. There's the strengthening of cards through the sacrificing of others, for example, while treasure collections can be completed by stealing missing items from other players. We've been here before, and many times, but there's no denying that War of the Fallen does it in greater style than most.
Each card and cutscene is beautifully drawn and presented, and while the actual combat of the game relies on the old standard of tapping on the enemy to deliver gradual justice, it's by far the slickest implentation we've seen of the genre's staples. Boiled down to its basics, your job here is to simply manage your deck and shuffle in more powerfully synergistic co-fighters, so that as combat duties are cycled through, your deck of cards delivers furious vengeance against the enemy.
You can only go so far through this single-player tapping campaign without spending money, of course. A combat stamina meter - topped up as you hit a new level - sets a limit on how much continuous combat you can take part in, although you can invest stat points into increasing this area of your avatar, albeit at the expense of increasing your damage output or survival capabilities. Forming a guild alliance with other players confers additional deck powers if you want to collaborate together on the meatiest challenges.
Inside the cash store itself, there's the predictable abundance of gems, currencies, card packs and boosts. Depending on how you choose to distribute your levelling stat points, you'll likely find yourself having to dip in here at some point if you're in it for the long game. Those wanting to dominate in battle against other players will receive an obvious advantage for investing money - rather than time - in the game.
When the prizes are handed out for originality in game design, no-one will be surprised to see Zynga's War of the Fallen sitting in the corner and looking rather sorry for itself, but if you find yourself charmed yet frustrated by the likes of Rage of Bahamut, then you'll certainly be impressed by this far slicker package. We can't give out any points for originality, but we can at least acknowledge a job well done in that regard.
What's Hot:Outstanding presentation and all of the staples genre fans have come to expect.
What's Not:Presentation aside, there's not a lot of originality in War of the Fallen and the IAP store has a strong presence.