Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 review
One of the most enjoyable ways of playing Magic the Gathering
Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers has been around for a number of years on PC ,Xbox 360, and PS3, with annual updates keeping things interesting.
The latest version has also been released for the iPad, which turns out to be perfectly suited for card and board games thanks to its size and multi-touch interface.
Try before you buy
MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers is available for free on the iPad app store, and after the 999MB download, players can immediately jump into the game.
The tutorial and first campaign level are unlocked in this free version of the game, and offer players a taste of what else is available. If players enjoy the game, they can upgrade to the full version for $9.99 in the app store with no further downloads required.
The tutorial is one of the best ways to learn how to play Magic the Gathering. It gives a simple, easy to understand explanation of the game mechanics and cards, and has the user performing actions as they go along so that they can understand the rules and game mechanics.
The tutorial is slow paced and a bit of a bore to Magic veterans, however it is worth a watch to familiarise yourself with the controls and concepts surrounding the various game modes.
The entire game can be controlled with a single finger, and makes use of single and double taps, as well as vertical and horizontal swipes to play cards. Each phase of the game has a timer that slowly counts down the remaining time available in your turn, and players are offered the ability to pause the time if they would like time to consider their next move (for example, playing one of many available spells in response to an opponent’s actions).
Players don’t have the option of building their own deck from scratch, however they are provided with two starter decks, which can be customised with cards that are unlocked after successfully defeating opponents. These decks can be used in both the campaign and multiplayer sections of the game.
The campaign offers four different modes; Campaign, Revenge, Planechase, and Challenges, and all have multiple tiers of gameplay. In the campaign section, players defeat Planeswalker henchmen before taking on the actual Planeswalker. Defeating a Planeswalker unlocks their deck, which the player can then customise and use to battle against other Planeswalkers and henchmen.
Players can play against other MTG users in online play, using decks they have customised and cards that they have unlocked. This works well when games are available, though finding online games can prove difficult at times.
There is also a custom game mode, where users can create a two headed giant, free-for-all, or Planechase match. These have you paired up with or against AI players controlling other planeswalkers.
Issues and bonuses
During play I found that some of the more advanced rules in Magic were applied slightly different to tournament play (at least in my experience). This may catch out experienced players, but it doesn’t happen often enough to become an issue.
There is also a bonus for players who want to get into the real world game. The game provides a unique code that entitles you to a special Magic 2013 booster back that contains an alternate art Mythic Rare card as well as others. This is a rare, powerful white card that is sure to see play in casual games and tournaments alike, which alone should be enough to convince seasoned players to buy the game.
At $10 (±R85) is on the expensive end as far as iPad games go, but if you’re remotely interested in Magic the Gathering and want an easy way to learn how to play, this is it.
The game also appeals to seasoned veterans who will get hours of entertainment out of the game, as well as providing a tournament legal Mythic Rare card for real world tournaments.