Hands-on with Loot & Legends - a wicked smart card-battling tactics game
Card Hunter comes to iPad
Loot & Legends is a card battler, but it's got more in common with Final Fantasy Tactics than a game like Hearthstone.
That's because your cards are merely attacks, spells, and commands to be used during taught tactical scraps against goblins. A game where positioning is more important than attack power, and where battles take place on battlefields rather than card mats.
And positioning is important. Not only do attacks have ranges (which are cancelled out by obstacles in the way), but enemies can't block from behind.
This sets up interesting tactics where you hit an enemy with a weak spell to make them turn around, only to sneak up from behind with your rogue to deal a strong, finishing blow.
The game is filled with little snippets of strategy - armour cards can be turned into movement cards, for example, and turn-order is decided by who ends their go first - which make each battle a fizzling ball of potential tricks, upsets, and turnaround tactics.
The game is based on a popular browser-based Flash game called Card Hunter, but it's been given a new name to represent the number of changes present.
Like how of Loot & Legends's 300-odd cards, only 100-or-so are from Card Hunter. Or the new interface and structure, or the fact that every single mission has been rebalanced for the new cards.
You get cards in random chests (purchased with the game's hard currency, pizza) or at the end of battles. If you join the 'Loot Club' (a one-off IAP) you'll get even more loot drops after a successful bout.
Interestingly, the game doesn't have a typical deck-building element. You aren't left to just pick a bunch of cards like in traditional card games. Instead, you choose weapons and garments for your heroes like an RPG, and those items come with a handful of cards.
And to balance the more legendary items, uber powerful swords and armours come with some crap cards too that can negatively effect your team.
Loot & Legends opts to capture the real-world aesthetic of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, rather than the fantasy worlds they describe. So, matches are played on pizza-stained tabletops, flanked by dice, campaign sheets, and spare dungeon tiles.
And there's a barmy story where you play against Gary (named after DnD creator Gary Gygax), and his nasty older brother Melvin. Eventually, Gary starts doodling his own madcap campaigns, using chess pieces and scraps of paper as stand-in character pieces.
The whole game has a charm and sense of humour that will keep you plodding through the campaign. And the deft mix of turn-based tactics and card battling will intrigue anyone who likes either - or both - styles of game.
The game's coming to iPad in the coming months as a free to play app. After that, a version for Android tablets will be developed. We'll let you know when you can play.