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Runestrike review - "Breathtaking artwork, even more breathtaking gameplay"

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Runestrike review - "Breathtaking artwork, even more breathtaking gameplay"

Highly engaging and with great strategic depth, Runestrike puts you in the shoes of mortal Champions who wield the power to overthrow gods. In this breathtaking collectible card game, you’ll have to out-hunt Diana, survive Pluto’s wrath, or triumph over Jupiter’s trials for glory - and ultimate bragging rights, of course.

The story of Runestrike

In Runestrike, the gods’ lust for power led to a cataclysmic war that threatened all existence for both immortals and men. As the resulting battle waged across the heavens, magic trickled down as spoils of war, birthing unspeakable monsters and giving rise to both heroes and villains among men. With the divine power now in the hands of mortals, the gods have unwittingly created their own downfall, as Champions rage against the immortals in an epic struggle for dominance.

Runestrike gameplay battle

The exhilarating online turn-based strategy game lets you play your cards in a single campaign mode, pitting you against Jupiter’s various trials or tasking you to rid the world of Ra’s villainous hordes. You can also play PvP in the Arena if you fancy a friendly fight or two, whether you’re hungry for a real human foe (matchmaking is quick and seamless, by the way) or looking to test your wits against AI of a similar rank to yours.

Given that it’s a free-to-play game, you can purchase currency and packs using real money, but scaling the paywall isn’t as hopeless as it sounds. You can earn currency as you win battles in the Solo Campaign and in the Arena, as well as in the Path of Glory, which is the game’s season pass-esque progression system. With enough currency at your disposal, you can craft cards, purchase XP potions, and even buy Champions.

Runestrike’s gameplay mechanics

As for the card battles themselves, the mechanics are simple enough for a total newbie to get into yet deep enough to hook veteran CCG players for hours on end. Using a Champion of your choice, you’ll fight against other players or AI with decks you build from Rune (card) packs. Each deck of 24 cards can have Minions or Spells in them, with varying levels of rarity from Common to Legendary.

Runestricke deck

Matches are incredibly well-balanced, with no single card that can dominate a battle or an overpowered deck that can ruin the player economy. In fact, I’ve had a handful of matches myself where I thought my seemingly OP deck would bring me sweeping victories, only to get totally wiped out by a beginner Champion who simply knew how to play his cards better.

That, to me, is the mark of a truly balanced CCG - that no matter how Legendary you think your Runes or your Champion is, you can still fall flat on your face if you have no idea how to use your cards effectively.

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Now, here’s where Runsetrike differentiates itself from other cookie-cutter CCGs. Each Champion will have their own set of abilities, as well as cards they can use based on Runestrike’s Realms of Magic. Order cards usually provide various buffs, while damage-dealing Chaos cards suit offensive players best. Nature usually deals with plants and healing, Myth deals with magic, and Light provides angel cards and health buffs as well.

Champions

The Shadow realm contains undead Minions, while Neutral cards are universal Runes that any Champion can use. Each Champion can only use two kinds of Realms at a time (plus Neutral ones), as well as three Blood Abilities you can unlock as you keep using that Champion to win battles.

What’s the overall appeal?

I have to admit - the very first thing that caught my attention with this game is its stunning visuals. Every card is so meticulously detailed that it’s hard not to spend half the match just ogling at the character designs in your deck. Plus, exhilarating sound effects and a stirring musical score both make the next victory as satisfying as the last.

To be honest, it’s difficult for me to find fault in such a brilliant title when it’s as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. If there’s one thing I’d consider a con to Runestrike is that the story never really takes you anywhere. With such a gorgeous intro cinematic and compelling descriptions for every character, you’d think the plot would somehow advance into something as deep as the lore itself - it’s such a shame that Making Fun spent all that effort developing the world of Runestrike only to hold back on following through with the narrative.

Runestrike campaign review

For instance, every loading screen features little snippets of mythology here and there, with such enchanting words and intriguing backstories. I would’ve loved to see those character histories somewhere in the game, even if it were just an almanac or unlockable gallery of sorts I can totally obsess over when I need a quick break from all the battles.

Here’s an example of a character snippet from the loading screen: “Vangelis touched Draupnir at his arm, recalling the moment he took it from the defeated form of Odin. He mused how those champions who thought him soft would learn the same terrible lesson that he had visited upon the All-father.” I’m dying to know what happens next - or, more importantly, what were the events that transpired to lead to such an epic moment? Do you see what I mean?

Overall, Runestrike is a must-have CCG for fans of the genre and even for those who simply enjoy eye-candy art. I would’ve loved for it to feed the narrative-driven gamer in me as well, but I suppose I can’t have everything, can I?

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Runestrike review - "Breathtaking artwork, even more breathtaking gameplay"

With its incredibly deep mechanics and aesthetically pleasing visuals, Runestrike takes the average CCG and injects its own unique flair into the genre. Regardless of which playstyle suits you best, the balanced decks, strategic Champion abilities, and varying Realms of Magic ensure that there’s definitely something for everyone here.
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