I picked up Chaos Reborn (50% off on Steam!), and I played it for hours last night. You’re all lucky that I’m taking time away to write this, only because I just want to play it more. There are many people who play this game, but they made specifically for me, of that I am convinced.
So you’re a wizard, casting spells, summoning monsters. It’s more complicated than that, of course, but the greatness of this game is that its complexity is only in the layers of strategy, not by how confusing any individual layer is.
Example: the game suggests an amount of tutorials that are wonderfully done. They essentially introduce you to each of the game’s mechanics one by one, until the meaty strategic tapestry is complete. Every mechanic is devilishly simple, but they come together into a symphony of strategy.
I’m gushing. It’s OK. I really love this game.
Some quick observations:
- The “bluffing” effect of Illusions is a masterful way to make PvP/multiplayer interesting. In essence, summoning a creature as an illusion guarantees success (most spells have a 40-60% chance of actually succeeding, so this is important), and an Illusion will act as a real monster (and be as lethal). However, the enemy wizard can use a Disbelieve spell to instantly dispel an Illusion, and they get an extra spell that turn on top of it. However, Disbelieving a real creature effectively wastes their turn. Again, this is all about risk management.
- The game’s mana system isn’t a direct resource, but more a risk mitigation tool. Mana is used to increase the chances of an individual spell. Obviously this can be powerful, as a legitimately summoned nasty monster usually gives the extra bonus of the opponent trying to Disbelieve it, on top of being nasty. However, Mana is very finite, and the most powerful creatures/spells still can’t be bumped up to 100%.
- There’s a Chaos/Order system that makes for more interest. Essentially, casting Chaos spells will increase the chances of subsequent Chaos spells (for both wizards). However, Order does the same thing, and one affects the other. Neutral spells are completely unaffected by this.
- There are three equipment types that affect your wizard as well; staff, robes, runes. Your staff gives some stats and defines what your “megaspell” is. Robes provide further bonuses, and can influence what your deck looks like (decks are randomized in this game). Then both the staff and robes have rune slots, where you can equip passive abilities, or runes that provide a consumable ability. All very simple.
The true beauty of this game is that is practically defines “synergy.” All these different simple systems coalesce into this wondrously deep experience. Every choice has multiple consequences, but it’s not so in-depth that it’s overwhelming.
There’s even a campaign mode that somewhat reminds me of Heroes of Might and Magic, which is always a welcome influence.
TL;DR – Hearthstone and X-Com had a baby.
I’m going to play some more now.