By Peter Magers on Wed, 05/25/2011
There are plenty of free multiplayer apps on the market, but all free games aren’t as equal in quality as they are in price tag. Shadow Era’s fan base is increasing exponentially for a reason—it’s one of those free multiplayer games that goes above and beyond expectations. This online trading card game, more commonly referred to as a TCG, is hard to put down. It is the type of game that will appeal to all ages, male or female. World of Warcraft Trading Card Game and Magic the Gathering were certainly inspirations for Shadow Era, but the game has its own personality and the differences are enough to make this a completely new strategic game.
There are many things to like about Shadow Era. Chief of these to this reviewer is the out-of-this-world fantasy artwork. The images are very sharp, stylish, and high impact and pull you in. Lovers of outstanding graphics will spend as much time just admiring as they do playing. The 3D effect is not too shabby either, and as the game improves through updates it’ll probably soon match the 2D graphics in quality.
Being free is of course a big part of the appeal. Better yet, the quality of this game is leap and bounds above that of many free apps for the iPhone and other platforms. Shadow Era proves that being free doesn’t equate to poor quality.
Naturally, the game has a few minor hiccups. None of these are anything close to inhibiting gameplay or overall satisfaction. For example, in spell casting mode, animation can hang a bit.
When involved in the game, the size of the iPhone screen is a little frustrating. A larger screen would definitely let players appreciate the graphics of Shadow Era more, and enhance playability. The good thing is that with repeated play, this issue becomes less observable as one gets accustomed to the small screen.
Part of the fun of this game is the ability to play against other users randomly. The version I have doesn’t allow players to test their skills among friends which would have been a great addition. Hopefully this will change soon so that players can play against known friends—or foes!
The inability to play offline is a tad annoying. I would love to be able to play whenever and wherever I am, but luckily most areas have hotspots to enable me to enjoy my fix. There are plans to enable offline play, though possibly with some limitations. I’m sure fans will love having this option when online play is impossible.
There might be a few bugs that need fixing but each update works towards making corrections and improving an already great (and free!) game.