Over the past few years, I’ve learned that the Nintendo Switch is a great platform for card and board games. Many games excel on the platform because of their ability to use both touch and controller mechanics, as well as setting up and playing games that are perfect for players like me who are on the go. A new version caught my attention mainly because of the strikingly beautiful logo; Faeria is the name, and Card Battle, hexagonal Board Strategy is the game.
I have to admit that I usually like to talk about the game’s graphics later in my reviews, but here I’m going to turn things around, because with Faeria, it’s almost impossible not to get caught up in the stunning aspect of the game. The game looks incredible… Wait, I already said that. No, really. Immediately after loading, the loading screen comes to life with subtle animation, and a beautifully drawn fantasy landscape welcomes you. When you get to the game’s main menu, the user interface elements frame the screen, with an impressive forest scene and a majestic deer-like creature in the headlights and sunlight shining through the cracks in the trees, all with subtle animations of particles floating around. It’s fantastic art in its purest form, and it immediately reminded me of a board game I used to play back in the day called Mystic Valley.
I have a visual thrill for this game, that’s for sure. If you land in edge areas on a hexagonal grid, the art carries over just as nicely. The surrounding artwork offers perfect contrast and color shading, as well as just the right amount of subtle secondary animations and particles to keep it from looking unnecessarily static. The design of the card is just as good, and fans of Hearthstone or Magic : The Gathering (MTG) will also appreciate the visual fidelity in this part of the game. So what does Faeria offer in terms of gameplay to keep players in this beautiful world from the start?
Faeria combines the mechanics of a Trading Card Game (TCG) with a robust, tile-based turn-based combat system, offering plenty of strategy for both newcomers and fans of card games. On a positive note, the game goes very well for beginners until they become more experienced players. When you first enter the game, you will go through several tutorial games that will introduce you to various basic elements and features. I played several board/card games that had trouble learning the mechanics, but thankfully this one didn’t fall into that trap. I got a nice green deck, learned the basics of card construction, which thankfully is as simple as in most card games (attack, health, character cost, and text with special abilities make each card), and proceeded to play a few introductory games against AI.
You enter the field with your 30-card deck and face an opponent. Unlike most card games, real or digital, you have a hexagonal playing field that comes to life as you play. MTG players will be at their best with the overall experience, as the first step is to play effectively on the ground. However, the countries of the static selection you have are discarded. You can place two hexes of basic land or special land in the form of forest, mountain, water or desert in one turn. There are a few extra options you can use, like drawing an extra card or getting extra mana, but that would be something for more advanced strategies.
When you place an earth token on the board, you can throw a creature card onto the active battlefield. Drag or match the movements of the buttons and thumbsticks to launch your creature, as long as you have enough mana orbs for it. Mana orbs are generated each turn, but more can be earned by placing a creature on one of the four moons on the map. Hearthstone players will know better than anyone how to use this mechanism. Since this game is played on a turn-by-turn basis, after spending your mana orbs during a given turn and attacking or moving units that do not have Summon Disease (creatures launched before the first turn are actually not allowed to do anything), you will pass your turn to your opponent, and he will do similar actions.
The game is played in such a way that each of you places tokens to reach your avatar on the other side. You can then move or launch creatures to attack the specified avatar directly, and if one of you reaches zero health points, the game is over. Now, there are a lot of strategies, card skills, buffs, spells, etc. all playing out in this dynamic battlefield every turn, and I could spend all day here trying to explain them all if I wanted to. Simply put, this game has extraordinary depth and strategy, and once you’ve played a few single-player missions in the game, you really start to understand how things work.
Like I said, the game has a pretty solid tutorial, but once it’s done, you have access to a lot more of the game, but not everything. The few game modes we’ll discuss later remain at the player slot level, and that’s because they’re meant for advanced players who are reasonably familiar with the game, maps, and especially with building packs. I recommend playing the individual adventure missions as soon as possible. You’ll get some experience, but you’ll also be freed from using the new decks as you progress through the standard XP levels, and the game will really start to open up for you.
There are a large number of single-player and AI games you can participate in as a whole. The adventure mode is divided into four subsets of campaigns, which include a large number of main missions: The Overland mode is a cooperative mode with a friend or the AI, the World Boss mode has some of the hardest fights in the game (but also contains some of the most beautiful drawings), and the Dragon’s Den mode is a daily event mode that can also be played cooperatively or solo. That alone is a ridiculous number of hours of play, but wait – there’s more! If you return to the High Level Mode selection, you’ll also find Battle, the ultimate face-to-face game. They can be played in casual multiplayer online matches, classified online matches or AI training matches. In the game mode of Pandora, experienced patio builders will have a lot of fun, because it is a competition for drawing a patio building. The last mode of the main game is Puzzles. These puzzles I found were quite difficult, but they were regular one-way puzzles that, if solved correctly, make the game win. It may be a little weird, but I had fun tackling some of them!
Surround gaming modes are all the features you would expect from the competitive digital CCG you need. You want more cards? It is possible to make full-fledged purchases to unlock the possibility of many more cards, new cosmetics, and new adventures/bubbles/etc. via paid CSDs. Although the game uses in-game currency to buy additional cosmetics, you won’t be inundated with microtransactions, which is certainly a courtesy I expect from many players.
There are a number of unlockable/buyable beauty products available, as well as the ability to create your own personalized experience. There are dozens of avatar icons, many of which are animated. A number of Orb containers are well designed, and many of them are also partially animated. As expected, the drawing on the back of the card is in great numbers. Finally, custom orbital trees that appear on the board. I really like the number of customization options there are throughout the game, and there’s definitely a visual strain that should appeal to almost everyone, I can imagine.
Faeria also uses vaults, but more or less generously. You can’t buy base chests at this time, and they’re only assigned to you based on things like daily quests or steps in adventure mode, etc. By unlocking them, you will be able to go through any of the above aesthetics, as well as create new maps. The store offers a Mythical Chest that guarantees 4 mythical items in the form of the best cards or the rarest aesthetics. However, you have to earn your money by playing to buy it as there is no direct purchase of money. In general, the prices in the store are a little high, but I am very happy with the overall concept.
You can also view the cards you have collected and the deck you have created at any time. The construction of the bridge is divided into two lanes: The construction of front terraces, which you can choose if you have met certain conditions or reached certain levels that unblock them, or the construction of fully customized terraces. Deck building is somewhat rudimentary in the game Faeria, as it does not offer the deck building guidelines found in games like Magic Arena . However, there are plenty of tools and filters to start playing and building, and this shouldn’t cause too many players to accidentally create 30 card games that are playable from the start, although having unlocked cards certainly helps with group selection.
Faeria doesn’t do so well on the Nintendo Switch, though. The biggest obstacle I encountered was that this game always requires an active internet connection with a good connection. If you don’t have internet, you won’t even get past the home screen, but even in single-player modes, where I was hoping the game wouldn’t need a network, it does. Also, my personal network at home is crap since I live in the woods, so any attempt to move or take action has been delayed quite a bit. Even if you throw a creature on the board, it takes a few seconds for the action to register if you’re playing in single-player adventure mode only. Now, I fully understand this type of CCG competition game, that content server controls are required, etc., but it would be remiss of me to say that I would love to get into this game in airplane mode and simply have fun offline with a hassle-free experience in one of the many single-player modes. But this was not the case for me at all, and it was a bit of a disappointing moment for me. Therefore, it is almost impossible to play on the go if the switch is not connected to your mobile phone.
Despite the network issues, the Nintendo Switch handled the game quite well. I had no problem with live players if I was playing on a good network and wanted multiplayer action, and a game that offered both touch and controller input methods like that was always a big plus for me too.
Faeria is a fantastically balanced GCC cushion set. I think it can go easily, with the exception of the Hearthstone and the Magic Arena. There is a huge amount of content to play, as well as a variety of different game modes. The artistic style and renderings are of the highest AAA quality, creating a beautiful landscape to play in. I expect to spend countless hours of fun in the coming weeks and months perfecting my deck building skills with Faeria.
- Charts – 10/10
- Sound – 8.5/10
- Gameplay – 9.5/10
- Late Call – 9.5/10
Final thoughts : EXAMPLES
Faeria is AAA quality and combines the space of trading card games with strategic board games. It contains some of the most impressive work I’ve seen in the genre. The gameplay, accessible and easily digestible but difficult to master, was near perfect, with enough game modes and repeatable matches to keep you playing for years. The only thing that really prevents it from getting a perfect score in my eyes is that the game needs a good and constant internet connection to run smoothly, even in single-player mode. I really want an impeccable offline experience. Anyway, for fans of Magic Arena, Hearthstone or other fantastic decking builders, Faeria is a must and certainly won’t blow the bank for $19.99, with a handful of great DLCs for a little more money.
Alex has been in the game industry since the release of Nintendo. He’s turned his hobby into a career, spending just over a decade developing games and now serving as creative director of the studio.
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