When I first heard about it from Calmixx, I couldn’t wait to play Riese, a new iPhone and iTouch RPG card battle game, now available through iTunes for $3.99. The game is based on the hit webseries “Riese: Kingdom Falling”, a dark steampunk fairytale about a princess on the run, which is currently airing at Syfy.com/riese. The show features Amanda Tapping narrating, and an all-star Sci-Fi cast from shows like Smallville, Battlestar Gallactica, Stargate and more.
This game is a nice mix of the card game Magic the Gathering and the board game Risk. Playing through this game brought back a lot of memories for me of playing Magic the Gathering all night in the back room of the local comic book store when I was kid. The main game type, Campaign mode, consists of a map of the land of Eleysia that is broken up into different provinces that you have to win control of to win. On your turn, you select an area adjacent to one you already control and then you must “card battle” your opponent for control of the new area. You can choose to be one of the three distinct groups in the game: the Sect, the Eleysian Army or the Resistance.
Did I mention the fact that FELICIA DAY does voice work in the game? I am a HUGE fan of hers. She is funny, smart, totally hot and best of all she plays video games in real life. If you don’t know who she is, get yourself over to YouTube and do a search for her web series “The Guild”.
Sorry for the diversion; now back to the review. For the presentation of the card battles, there’s nothing overly fancy here. You won’t see any elaborate animation or attack sequences to try and liven up play. Instead, it has a more subdued style, with some limited visual and audio effects as cards “fight” and are “summoned”, which enhances the experience. One interesting thing to do is zoom in on the cards while they are being played or flip through them on the game’s deck manager to see the detail on each. Players can customize their decks with over 60 different unit cards, plus 24 modifier cards. The cards themselves are visually stunning and it’s obvious a lot of time and effort was spent designing this.
Right now the game can be played as single player only. That means it’s you versus the AI. While fun, as with any game of this type the AI can be predictable and defensive to an almost unfair advantage. The card battles are sometimes long, (Some over 20 minutes) and there is no way to save a card battle midway through. Any battle you start you must see through to the end or resign from the battle, counting as an automatic loss. A product update is already in the works with additional features including head-to-head multiplayer (YES!) , supplemental content and other improvements. I am hoping the the developers add a save feature to the card battles as it would make this a pretty good pick up game for 10 minutes at a time. The update is slated for release around mid December 2010.
The game is a fun RPG experience on the iPhone, but is really targeted at fans of the world of Riese. Luckily there are a lot of them!
An iPad specific version is in development and anticipated for early 2011.