[ Review ] Faeria

There’s very few games that come through even at an indie level that focus on the fun level. Faeria is one of those few. It’s really hard to classify what kind of game Faeria is other than simple, basic, rudimentary fun. As you might have guessed from my social media or marketing, I’m a fan of card games, Magic the Gathering in particular, so I would be inclined to like this game regardless of what it was, but this game is something a little special.

There’s so many games right now that are trying to cash in on the Hearthstone craze which attempts to take the MOBA approach to card games and just break things down to a crazy level. Hell, even Wizards of the Coast is bringing Magic into that forum with Magic: Arena, even though I can’t really talk about it.

This is where Faeria both bucks and follows the trend: it takes tropes found in the current Hearthstone style and changes many things about them that really makes this game its own but also appeals to fans of games like it. It’s a really inventive way to broaden your appeal and make your game more fun than the competition.

 

What you’re seeing here is exactly what nearly every game is going to look like – you have a hex grid with a spot for you and your opponent as well as four ‘wells.’ The rest of the spaces are empty. As each of you plays a turn you have a choice between placing two plain lands or one specialty land on spaces that are adjacent to spaces you own or have characters on. You can also forego that to get an additional faeria – think of that like a numbered resource you spend on spells, pictured on the bottom left in blue – or an additional card. You start the game with three cards and each one is fairly straightforward. Each card is called an Event and there are three main types of events: creatures, structures, and spells. They all can be simply identified: creatures have attack values, structures only have health values, and spells have neither. You also gain three faeria to spend on each of your turns, no matter what happens.

You can only place structures and creatures on spaces that are occupied with lands you own and spells can be cast regardless but need certain targets are aren’t persistent. They all can be cast for the value in blue in the top left of the card but the numbers just below that indicate what else can be needed in order to cast: in the case of the card pictured above, you would need to pay 9 faeria as well as own two mountains at the time of casting in order to be allowed to cast it. Those are fairly easy to read but the rainbow one had me a little confused at first – that means you could have any combination of specialty lands count towards that value. For example, there’s cards that will have, say, one mountain, one desert, and two rainbow: that means you must have one of those two specialty lands at the very least but also have two in any combination as well for a total of four needed specialty lands in order to play them. Generally, the devotion is higher on better cards but that isn’t always the case.

Wells on the board allow for you to gain additional faeria if you start a turn with a creature or structure next to them or move a unit on your turn adjacent to the well. Some spells and creatures interact with whether or not you gain faeria on your turn so in addition to advantage you might be able to make certain spells stronger by doing this so it’s important to always be trying to gain that additional faeria.

 

Game modes are few but very deep: there’s Adventure, Battle, and Pandora. Adventure serves as your campaign mode, where you can play one-off missions, encounter high-difficulty missions with World Bosses, or play a story-mode campaign with a partner. Each of those modes are pretty great but the puzzles found in the missions did a great deal to teach me about the game and I’ve really grown to appreciate them. The second mode, Battle, is your multiplayer PvP mode, where you can choose to play in a Practice, Casual, or Ranked mode. It’s all the same, it just determines whether or not you’re playing for ranking. I’ve not used practice but I would imagine that that’s against a bot of some sort. Pandora is really kind of amazing in the fact that it reminds me a great deal of playing Limited or Draft in Magic the Gathering that it essentially is an endurance run where you have to build a brand new deck purely of newly opened packs. You get one card to choose from per pack and you get a full deck from that. Unfortunately, you don’t get to keep the cards but the rewards for getting on in matches are pretty good. Each attempt at this mode requires a Pandora token and it’s one of my favorite game modes right now.

When playing up against the computer in the missions, you’re playing up against a very specific mechanic or archetype that helps you prepare for multiplayer. However, there’s more than that at stake in mission play: each set of missions come as the result of mission packs and each of them have about 7 or 8 in each pack and for completing the pack you get rewards. Of course, some of them require gold and real money currency to open but I’ve been playing for about a month yet, I have only lost a few times in Casual and I have not lost yet in Ranked and I’ve not been forced to spend a dime.

When all is said and done, this is a great game for just about anyone looking to get into card games or want to jump in on the Hearthstone craze but don’t feel like running into massive paywalls or multiplayer difficulty. It’s an excellent entry level game and it has a fairly high skill level ceiling for those who want to get serious about the game.

You can find this game for PC on Steam or for mobile on Android or iOS. It’s been available for a while and if you have a friend who’s already playing the game, make sure to let them know within your first five player levels because there’s a cool referral program where you and your pal get rewards as you level up.

I very highly recommend anyone even remotely interested in TCGs to give this game a try. There’s literally no reason not to unless you don’t own a computer or a cell phone that’s capable of playing this – I used my old cracked Nexus 6 to play this on the go and it runs brilliantly, the phone’s like four years old, easily – which, honestly, if you don’t, how the hell are you reading this?

Either way, give it a go. “theKenny” is my handle if you want to use me as a referral.

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