Every so often, I break out of my gaming routine to try something new and different. These turn into my Try-It Tuesday sessions, and they are a mixed bag indeed!
It’s been a while since I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a new mobile game, and happily this happened last week. I saw some strong buzz for a Steam game that just launched on iOS, and I splurged on the $3 price to pick it up.
So the game is called Missile Cards, if you couldn’t make out the tiny font in the graphic up there, and the best way to describe it is “Missile Command: The Card Game.” You know Missile Command? That really old arcade game that taught John Connor the futility of humanity’s future before the T-1000 tried to shoot him in the face? It’s a bizarre concept that really works well, and it’s well and gotten me hooked.
Missile Cards puts you in charge of defending a planet under bombardment from comets, nukes, and other terrible threats. If you can eliminate all of the threats without dying, then you win the game, but chances are you’re going to lose, and maybe lose quickly if you end up drawing bad cards.
During each turn of the round-based game, you can (generally) perform just one action as a conveyor belt brings cards across the screen. Threat cards get played automatically and put a Bad Thing on the heads-up display, such as a comet crashing down on one of your sub-bases or your main base. But you can prep weapons to attack (these need two or three turns to ready), charge up weapons faster with batteries, prep tractor beams (which suck in currency from destroyed threats that can be spent on permanent upgrades), and play other helpful cards. Your sub-bases can only take one hit before being destroyed (and if they’re hit again, game over) and your main base has hit points that absorb a certain amount of damage. The lower a threat falls on the screen, the more points it’s worth when destroyed… and that’s pretty much the gist of it.
The simple design and flow of play hides a lot of strategy, particularly as you’re trying to plan out three or four moves ahead of time. The conveyor belt doesn’t stop pushing cards across, and you want to grab and use helpful cards before they get tossed back into the deck, but you also need to eliminate threats. Some games are pretty much over at the start, but by thinking ahead, using the bare minimum response needed to destroy threats (each threat has a hit point count), and sometimes sacrificing sub-bases, you can have a fighting chance.
I love that each game is only about five minutes long and lets you make progress on missions (think achievements) and currency collection so that even a failure helps you out in the long run. There are different stages with more difficult challenges, but you don’t have to progress until you’re ready. I also really dig a simplified deck building mechanic at play that allows you to buy special cards and equip whichever ones you think are the most beneficial.
Anyway, a fun and addictive little game that I recommend to you… and I think will stay on my phone for a long time to come.