I recently bought Elemental Monster Online Card Game. It was one of those random purchases where I had some money left in my Playstation Store wallet and came across it, deciding to try it out. There was no demo or anything but it was only £0.95 so I decided to give it a go anyway, and actually surprised by how much fun it was, so I thought I would review it.
Elemental Monster Online Card Game is a PS3 game that features a rather convoluted title but don’t let that put you off – the gameplay is fairly simplistic and easy to get into. Yet despite this, it also features depth and custom deck collecting/building that will appeal to both gamers looking for a fun, strategic game and those looking for a card game in the vein of Yu Gi Oh, Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.
I have only checked out the Single Player mode, but as the title suggests there is an online multiplayer mode. You can battle in tournaments and win tickets which let you compete to play. You can also buy the tickets with real money, but luckily the game is not pay-to-play. You can still win cards and build your own decks by winning battles, which is cool.
The single player mode eases you in but it does begin to ramp up the challenge after a few battles. As with other card games, you battle with monsters that have certain abilities and elements. The aim of the battle is to defeat all of your opponents monsters. In a similar fashion as well, certain elements are more effective against other elements, (Fire beats Grass, Grass beats Water, Water beats Fire etc.) with the stronger element doing double damage against a weaker type. Monsters also have HP, of course, so initially the game appears very similar to other monster card games.
However, there are some cool elements that make Elemental Monster Online Card Game its own. Monsters have agility points, which determine which monster attacks first. They have Mana cost, which add to your Mana Pool (more on this in a second). Some monsters also have cool SP skills which you can use before the Battle Phase begins, allowing you to utilise unique effects like buffing your monsters, changing monster’s stats or elements, and even poisoning monsters. Some also have innate abilities that are active when they are on the field, and some have Reverse abilities. Essentially, you can lay out monsters hidden ‘underneath’ your row of initial monsters, and when they die the monster underneath flips upward and can activate its flip ability.
You also have a Mana pool which is used for some monster’s attacks and also to use SP skills. You regain some mana points each turn so you can save your pool for special abilities and attacks when you need to. With all this in mind, the Elemental Monster game starts to have some depth. You can end up building decks around certain play styles, completely up to you. As well as having decks around one or more elements, you can build decks that focus on sacrificing your monsters to activate or buff other cards, you can focus on SP or reverse abilities, or on cards that cause spash damage to your opponents standby monsters. Some cards even transform into another card on the field, or force your opponents card to transform. There are tons of abilities and effects, and this is only the monster cards themselves.
There is also the deck construction/formation aspect. When creating a deck you can have up to 6 cards – 3 monsters initially placed upright and 3 that are hidden as “flip” monsters. You also have a mana cost of 20. This does limit you but also forces you to make tactical decisions regarding your deck. More powerful monsters, or monsters with specialist abilities for instance, have a higher mana cost, quickly depleting your initial deck cost of 20 mana. So do you have a few powerful monsters and leave some monster slots empty? Do you have all 6 slots filled? Do you create a deck with a mixture of weak and strong monsters? The choice is up to you, and lets you try some different deck styles.
By playing the campaign you also unlock specialist element jewels that you can place in a deck. This buffs all monsters in that deck of that certain element. You can also set up your monsters to be in formations like “Wing” Formation for instance. These formations affect what buffs the crystal causes, for example giving all monsters of the jewel’s element a bonus in attack, HP, agility, or all three. With all this in mind the deck styles you can create actually amount to quite a bit. Plus, once you have a few copies of a card, you can choose to ‘strengthen’ it to increase its stats and merge the copies into a more powerful card.
You can also change your character avatar, set a title for yourself (and unlock more), and check out the Card Encyclopedia to see all the cards you have seen and collected.
Battles themselves are fun, with hidden flip effects and the ability to swap a summoned monster with a standby monster letting you mix up the battle and making sure it’s not too predictable. There’s also animations for the attacks and the artwork on the cards is really well done, so visually it’s not a bad looking game at all. So behind its initial simplicity and low price, the Elemental Monster game offers a surprising level of depth and hours of enjoyment. Unlocking more cards through battles will keep you going, with you winning a card for each round you have played in a battle. You get to choose a booster pack and there’s even an animation of the booster opening, which is a nice touch.
I have yet to try the online portion of the game but the single player is a lot of fun. For card game enthusiasts or just anyone looking for a fun, casual game to try on the PS3, Elemental Monster Online Card Game is definitely worth a look.