Other than that, I found some neat design in the game. I didn't find anything that would just blow us away as gamers, but it has some cool ideas and artwork all the same. There's also the mobile version of the game to consider -- a universal app for the iPhone or iPad that allows for gaming anywhere.
Urban Rivals isn't a Magic clone. It's a really neat game in some ways, one that basically only borrows the drums and bass from the larger Magic band; the guitar and vocals are added by Urban Rivals. The result is some pretty decent music.
What's it like at higher levels? It's hard to say. Since I have been receiving a fresh new crop of curious comments over the last few months, I need to remind everyone that Rise and Shiny has always been the pursuit of the newbie experience in the games I find, not a weekly, detailed write-up of an exact experience of the highest levels. I simply do not have that kind of time, and I need to tell you about as many games as possible. So no, I don't know how grindy or unoriginal it gets to be at higher levels.
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In the several hours I spent playing, I found the leveling mechanic of each card to be quite nice. Sure, one of my intensely nerdy readers (the best kind!) might know of a collectible card game in which individual cards level up and have its art morph to reflect those changes, but I cannot think of one. It's a nice touch. If I use a certain card more it will gain experience and level up, eventually gaining a nice power to use in combat. Sweet! The art on the card becomes more elaborate, and the characters eventually look more powerful.
The card deck is more limited than what you might find in many collectible card games. You have a loadout of eight character in your hand or deck, and they grow to represent the team you prefer to battle with. I got pretty excited looking through all of the different styles and types of cards and dreamed of assembling a powerful, themed team of superheros. No robots. No ninjas. Crap. Surprisingly enough, a tiny hand of eight cards can lead to those same feelings I got when I used to make decks in Magic. It's an intense feeling that is half the fun of the genre. Those who have played collectible card games before know what I am talking about. It was nice to come across a digital version of that feeling.
Of course my weathered old-player's eyes wouldn't allow me to get away with having a good time for long. As I mentioned earlier, this was not an MMO. This is a multiplayer game, and that's not why I love working at Massively. I want worlds, even if they are worlds of different types or ones that reside in a browser or smartphone window. After a while, the card games became less fun and a bit more grindy, even while my cards were leveling and changing.
The art style of the game is pretty and usually consistent, but there are several cards that feel different and very much hand-drawn. I have a feeling that players are able to submit artwork for use in the game, so that's a cool thing. Some of the art was just a bit too silly, though. I like the sounds and how simple the effects and few animations are. That means we could play this game on a netbook or smartphone, and that's a very cool thing.
In the end, I enjoyed my time with Urban Rivals but wish it had more persistence and MMO qualities. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess, and thanks to this week's poor choice, I have learned to vet the games I am looking at more.
Next week I am finally taking a look at PlaneShift, the game that has been in development for 196 years. I look forward to returning to it -- I played it briefly before -- and really look forward to the enforced roleplay community. You can find me in game under the name Beauh Hinderman.
Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email! You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook!