The world of Tekken is expanding once again with the introduction of a free-to-play card game called, rather imaginatively, Tekken Card Tournament. The fusion of card and video game isn’t a new idea and it seldom achieves any notoriety outside a niche group of people, but from what I’ve played so far things are looking good for Namco’s latest offering in the King of the Iron Fist tournament.
One thing that sets this card game apart is the fact that it is a true multiformat experience: Tekken Card Tournament is set to be released on pretty much all Tablets and Smartphones as well any PC using the web browser, meaning that you’ll be able to keep playing the game no matter where you are.As for the gameplay, it’s a very simple game, only slightly more advanced than Rock / Paper / Scissors, which should make it enjoyable for players of all skill levels. As a match begins players are presented with three options: FOCUS, which draws a card from your customisable deck of moves, BLOCK, which nullifies any damage taken from your opponents first two cards and STRIKE, which starts a chain of attacks, using up any cards you’ve drawn and deals damage to your opponent.
The maximum number of cards you can have in your hand is five, and after playing the game for a few hours it soon becomes apparent that the most popular strategy is to simply focus over and over until you’ve gained 5 cards, then unleash all your attacks in one go. If your opponent blocks, the first two attacks won’t count, the following 3 will still hurt. Taking a hit while attempting a Focus causes you to lose a card on top of the damage you took. There’s plenty of room to develop strategy, each person’s cards are visible to their opponent as well which brings in a strategic element. You may notice that the next card of your opponent cancels your block, for example. The game requires quick thinking as there’s a time limit to each decision window.
The characters from the Tekken series have all had their moves broken down into separate cards, with different moves achieving different effects under the correct circumstances. Yosumitsu, for example, can poison his opponents, dealing damage between turns and Kazuya can steal HP as a follow-up attack. Elite and Rare cards can be bought using in-game currency which is earned through winning battles, leveling up and unlocking rewards. You get prizes just for participation too, so there’s a little incentive to keep playing even when you’re on a losing streak.
Rather than using micro transactions to allow people to purchase more virtual content, you can buy physical card packs with a corresponding QR code which, when scanned, will bolster your virtual deck. This effectively gives you two ways to play the same game, which is a great feature for traditional card players and acts as a fun way for newbies to learn. The physical card packs won’t be available until spring and will serve as a stand-alone game. For tablets and smartphones supporting augmented reality technology, you can also scan your cards to make characters appear to spawn in real life through your camera. It’s a neat little feature, but seemingly useless in terms of actually playing the game.
This new twist on the Tekken universe has plenty of potential on mobile devices, adding a new flavour to the menu of knuckle sandwiches. In the short time that I have spent with the game I did find it quite addictive and, even though I occasionally got frustrated, it’s still fun.
Be sure to check out the short gameplay video below which shows off a typical battle.
Tekken Card Tournament is currently in beta and a limited number of public slots are available here. The full game will be made available to all later this year.