Peanut butter and jelly, sweet and sour chicken, pretzels and ice cream. These are just a few of the combination’s that on paper sound like they would be a complete disaster, but once they are experienced you will never be able to go back to one without the other. The app-store has seen its fair share of mix and matching of genre’s as well, but I can not recall many applications that stick out in my mind as pure creative genius like the masterpiece developer GAIA has created for the iPhone and iTouch devices.
The story begins with the appearance of the monstrous creature called the “Lord of Chaos” in a small and peaceful village. The “Lord of Chaos” has captured the magical “Stone of Creation” from the bottom of the earth, and has created a sweeping dungeon using the powers of the stone. Many have attempted to defeat the “Lord of Chaos”, but they were all captured by his five loyal guardians ruling the area, and have not returned. Your challenge is find and defeat the “Lord of Chaos” and return the “Stone of Creation” back from the mighty dungeon.
The gameplay at it’s core is a card-based/role playing dungeon crawler where battles take place on a 5?5 grid. As the match begins each player is dealt 4 cards face up. Nine cards are placed in the center of the playing field. Each player takes turns using traditional poker rules by combing cards horizontally, vertically or diagonally across the playing field to create traditional poker hands. With each successful attack points and coins are deducted from your foe.
Simultaneous attacks can be accomplished by completing rows of cards that intersect with each other. For example completing a diagonal row of cards can give you three attacks for each row of cards your hand completes. With each hit your Wild Card gauge fills and once full can be used or carried over to your next battle.
Once the enemies hit points reach zero the round is over and you collect any additional coins and or treasures the enemy was guarding and continue with your adventure. As you move around the dungeon you will notice that your hit points are not regenerated with each battle which really adds a strategic aspect to the game. Scattered throughout each level is a charge coin along with other treasures. These charge coins can be used at any time while in the dungeon to fully charge up your hit points, and can be carried over to the next dungeon should you be so lucky, but take head of when you use them because if you use it to early and you won’t have any points left to battle the bosses.
What you didn’t think it was going to be that easy did you? Each exit is protected by a boss. These battles are much harder than the ones you faced up to this point because these enemies have the ability to use spells and or tricks during the game to switch the tides of battle.
Once these bosses are defeated you are able to equip those special abilities in order to help you progress. Each character can equip one special ability, one weapon, and one shield before the level begins.
When you die the level is over and you are brought back to the shopping area where you can purchase and equip new items and choose which level to replay. Thankfully coins earned through-out the level prior to your demise are not lost.
The game does a good job explaining each of the game little nuances as you go along so don’t worry about learning the rules. I have never been a fan of poker because I personally find it boring. However the unique blend of RPG rolled into a poker game has been pure gaming bliss. Not only have I gained an understanding for the rules of poker I have now picked up another addiction seeing that I can not put this game down. I have spent more time playing this than 95% of my other apps and with each round being relatively quick 5-10 each and I can exit and resume the game at any time without skipping a beat.
The game does include a local multi-player feature for those who like sharing the iDevice with friends, as well as well documented instructions for those looking for some in game help as well.
I can not recommend this game highly enough to anyone who has a remote interest in strategy, card based, or role playing type of games. It’s the perfect blend of each and creates a whole new genre similar to games like the Puzzle Quest series.On paper it does not sound like a hit, but in actuality it’s a mismatch made in heaven.