- Released: 2018
- Played on: Android
- Also available on: iOS
- Time to get into: 30 Minutes
- Time to complete: 10 Hours
- Multiplayer: No
I’ve talked before about how mobile games should shed any attempt to match their console and computer cousins and focus on what’s good about mobile gaming. We’ve had some great examples, like Super Mario Run or Old Man’s Journey but now perhaps the perfect example of how to build a game for mobile – Meteorfall: Journeys. It takes it’s style and it’s genre and makes them not just work for mobile, but work beautifully. We’re left with a deep and easy to play game that will keep you hooked to your phone for ‘just one more try’ for hours on end.
Meteorfall: Journeys is a roguelike fantasy RPG built into a card game. You collect cards from various sources and use the powers those cards give you to defeat monsters, bosses and finally the main boss to beat the game. All of this is procedurally generated, so no play through is the same as any other and the meat of the game is based around a combination of planning how you want to build up your card deck and rolling with the punches that the game throws at you. There are 2 basic restraints placed on your efforts to smash all who come before you. Firstly, health – staying alive is key as there are no second chances – die and you are start all over again with a fresh pack. Secondly, stamina – each card you want to play takes a certain amount of effort for your character to deploy and you manage this by skipping cards to regain some stamina points. Some cards use this in a different way by having ‘charges’ instead of stamina points but the principle of always making sure you are in a position to play the most important cards remains the same.
Around this base gameplay are the RPG and very light story elements. You can upgrade and/or buy better cards over the course of a play through or even give away cards. This isn’t as crazy as it may first seem – the key to getting to the final boss and winning is building a pack of cards that compliment each other and work for your play style. More of a defensive player? By the end your healing cards need to be giving you big chunks of health back to keep you going. Conversely for the more attacking player you had better be dealing huge amounts of damage for each card you play by the end or it’s not going to be enough. Story wise, Meteorfall: Journeys keeps it to a minimum – you are fighting through the hoards to reach and defeat the Uberlich and save the world. You can choose one of four characters but that really only affects the way you want to play, the narrative, such as it is, doesn’t change.
None of this is new, I realise. This it entirely standard fare for almost any RPG, certainly any roguelike and isn’t new as a card game. Why this game is so good if how easy it is to play on your phone. It’s almost like Meteorfall: Journeys is what smartphone’s were designed for in the first place! All joking aside, it’s works like a dream – almost every action is either a left swipe to skip or a right swipe to choose. There are a few things that need you to actually press on the screen but most of your playthroughs with just be right-right-right-left-right-etc. It’s a thing of true design beauty. Not that this makes the game any easier to win. Make no mistake, the individual games you play might be fairly short, as any good card game should be, but if you are going to win out you’ll be playing for quite a while. In fact if anything, how easy to it is to physically play almost draws you into hasty mistakes when you should have thought more carefully about your next moves.
All of this combines into a deep and challenging card-based RPG that is super smooth to play. You can pop out your phone for a single turn whilst waiting in a queue or sit down at home for a play session and anything in between. It’s not even mired with adverts and in-app purchases – a very small one-off price gets you into this world and you’re not going to find it easy to get yourself out!