Written by Twisted IdeasI stumbled across this game when looking at the free games for Playstation Plus users. I have always had a fondness of trading card games even though I haven’t bought a booster for any card game for at least eight years now so I gave it a shot. I thought it was okay at the time but was too busy but I’ve played it again recently and it is actually pretty nifty. The interesting thing with this game is that there isn’t an accompanying paper version of the game and in terms of trading card games is actually is different from Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh and other trading card games.
Elemental Monster stands out by only having a deck with a maximum of six cards and a field to place them in before matches. Most field types can have up to three monsters in the front and three hidden underneath for when a monster is killed which can activate abilities. When all monsters are killed the game ends. Fields can have elemental jewels to boost monsters . The game feels more like a Pokemon game rather than a TCG as players take the same turn to attack, there are elemental strengths and weaknesses, one monster attacking at a time and swapping out monsters. There is fire, water and wood with a rock, paper, scissors style of strengths and weakness and light and dark that are strong and weak against each other. Each card has speed and the higher of the two monsters attacks first.
When creating a deck you have twenty mana to spend on monsters. The more monsters you have the less mana you will have at the start of matches. Mana can be gained at the end of turns from standby monsters or monsters that are killed and is used for abilities or for some attacks. You can create decks that relies on mana and start with none or have some monsters unable to attack for turns if you start with none or run out.
The meta game of building a deck is the most interesting part of the game. Do you have three different monster types to cover all weakness or multiple of the same type to possible overwhelm or be caught by surprise. Being hit by a monsters weakness causes double damage and attacking their resistance does half. Often monsters won’t survive so do you switch out and take a hit when they can do the same the next turn or do you sacrifice that monster for a hidden card’s abilities. Mana is an issue too when having a deck of good cards might leave you with no mana. A surprising amount of strategy to come from what seems to be a simple game.
There is a single player mode where you can learn the game and earn cards, jewels and formations to customize and to play online. At least assume that because there is zero people online and the game came out this September. If you’re a fan of Duels of the Planeswalkers then it won’t pull you away for long but Elemental Monster is only $1 and if you can get a couple of friends to play then there’s fun to be had.