Gameloft introduces a tabletop-style game on modern technology with Order & Chaos Duels. "Back in the day" people would have to actually carry around decks of cards and be face to face with another person if they wanted to play a card game, but technology has advanced enough that that sort of nonsense is no longer necessary. Out of the many card battle games out there, Order & Chaos Duels manages to refine the formula enough to be worthy of your time and attention.

An evil spirit, Velik, is loose in the world. He's a bad mammer jammer intent on spreading his evil and corruption all around, and it's up to the player to duel him and his minions to save the world. Despite the unoriginal story, the game provides original foes and unique cards to utilize in battle. There are over 250 cards to collect, and you can customize your deck, picking and choosing which cards to enter into battle with. You can also choose from a variety of races, characters, and classes. Know, however, that you can only play as two different characters for free before having to shell out gold for any further character slots, so choose wisely. Most of the game's purchases are priced on the steep side, and you're going to be intimately familiar with your two characters long before being able to purchase a third.

The graphics are colorful, the art is nice, and cool animations help the game feel lively. The animations on each card, like glowing energy emanating from a lich or a rogue's hair blowing in the wind, are a nice touch. Each attack is fully animated, too, so it's not just cards thrusting at each other to decrease their numbers.

The game is very accessible, and has an in-depth tutorial to explain the basics of the game. The card battle system itself has some complexity, but the game is built around short-term skirmishes rather than long-term battles, meaning that few cards are designed with long-term strategies in mind. The controls are intuitively designed — touch cards and drag them where you want them to be. The combat is equally intuitive and streamlined. You'll quickly make your choices, and the computer will fly through its own selections so you can more quickly get back to actually playing the game.

For those who are more satisfied beating a real person, Order & Chaos Duels has the option for online multiplayer. This sounds good in theory, and is probably fun if you can actually find a match, but opponents are few and far between, and you're more likely to give up and head back to the campaign. Perhaps as more people start playing the game this won't be an issue.

One other complaint about the game is the rate of acquisition of new cards. To encourage you to spend real money, the game is fairly stingy with doling out new cards, giving you a new card a day or forcing you to spend large chunks of cash on them. Even with steady playing it'll probably be a few weeks before you have enough cards to truly customize your deck. Order & Chaos Duels is, however, a free game, so it has to make money somehow. It never forces you to spend money on in-app purchases, though, by offering you the option to watch an advertisement, you can gain some free currency.

The game features a lengthy campaign mode, strong visuals and an equally strong score. Even though there are a some hiccups with the online multiplayer system, the variety of cards, bright graphics, and lively combat make this game a win for all.


App Store Link: Order & Chaos Duels for iPhone & iPad | By Gameloft | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.0 | 400 MB | Rating 9+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating