Mystic Vale brings the unique card-crafting gameplay of the hit board game to the digital realm.
Mystic Vale brings the unique card-crafting gameplay of the hit board game to the digital realm. This innovative deckbuilder stands out for its card advancement system, and the iOS adaptation captures the magic wonderfully.
For those new to Mystic Vale, it centers around building your deck of spells by overlaying transparent cards to upgrade their powers. Instead of simply buying new cards like typical deckbuilders, you continuously enhance your starting hand.
This advancement system creates immense strategic depth as you construct combos and engine-build. Do you add more mana symbols to ramp your power? Overlay more card draw effects? Or boost victory points? The choices are endless.
The iOS port translates the advancement mechanics well. Dragging and dropping transparent cards on top of your base deck is intuitive. The visual effects as you layer up new abilities are gorgeous. And the AI opponents range from beginner to provide a true strategic challenge.
While lacking online play, the rewarding solo experience captures the theme of slowly powering up your druid’s spells toward greater mystical power. The campaign and challenge modes also provide plenty of replayability.
The core advancement system lets you overlay transparent cards on top of your existing cards to build up their powers. This lets you create interesting combos like:
- Stacking multiple Mana cards to ramp up your energy each turn
- Overlaying card draw effects to churn through your deck faster
- Adding points cards to multiply your endgame scoring potential
There is deep strategy in deciding which advancements to purchase from the central market using your energy. Do you bolster weaknesses or double down on strengths?
You also must manage the “decay” mechanic, where your cards lose a random advancement if you get too overloaded. Finding the right balance of upgrades versus decay management is key.
Each turn revolves around using energy to buy advancements, clear decay, and activate your powered-up cards to gain resources. Managing hand size with strategic discards is important.
Different Factions provide unique deck strategies to pursue as druids. Keeping your engine efficient with Advancements while activating Faction abilities creates compelling synergies.
There’s also tactical placement on the central Vale board to control regions and gain bonuses. This spatial element adds another layer beyond just deck construction.
While Mystic Vale shines on many fronts, there are a few limitations holding the iOS version back from being perfect:
- The lack of online multiplayer is disappointing for a deckbuilder. Competing against human opponents would provide more replayability.
- The AI opponents, while challenging at higher levels, still lack the unpredictability of real opponents. Their actions can feel scripted at times.
- There is no integration with Game Center for achievements or leaderboards. This removes some community elements.
- Status icons are very small on iPhone screens. Some interface optimizations for mobile would help.
To be fair, these complaints are minor in the grand scheme. The core advancement mechanics and gameplay shine brightly. But polishing the presentation with multiplayer, achievements, and refined interfaces would take it to the next level as an iOS title.
Mystic Vale on iOS maintains the tactical depth and innovation of the original while leveraging the digital format. Any deckbuilding fan should give this a try for its fresh take on the genre and progression system.