iPhone Life magazine

(IMHO) Best card game “Spectromancer” receives major update!

While not having published a Strategy Guide (as opposed to Orions, the previous “big hit” on both iOS and the preceeding Windows Mobile), I've often mentioned I consider the quite new iOS port of “Spectromancer” (AppStore links: small-screen devices; iPad HD) the best card game on iOS. Opinions may differ, of course – I just prefer the way Spectromancer (and the very closely related Orions) is played to that of Magic (the Gathering) 2013 does.

The new upgrade, along some goodies (a brand new opening screen on the iPad; new multiplayer features etc.) offers four brand new classes (Warrior Priest, Vampire Lord, Cultist and Golem Master) available as a new in-app purchase. (One of them is free; the other three are paid.)

Update list (shot from my iPhone 5):

(as with all the other images, click for original!)

Update list (shot from my Retina iPad):



The new class as an IAP on the iPad (the other two packages not shown here as I've previously purchased and installed both):



The same on the iPhone 5, showing the two other IAP's:



Needless to say, I immediately purchased and played a bit with the new IAP. While I haven't played much so far, I found the new classes (and cards) great.

What's new in addition?

- Blitz mode for multiplayer: Each player has 15 seconds for their turn -- these battles are quick as lightning!

- Reconnection – very important. In the online game, even a simple roaming between Wi-Fi access points (or a short lack of network connection) may result in the quitting of the current game.

- etc.

The bad:

General issues (both the iPhone and the iPad version):

Still no Universal version. As you will want to purchase all character classes, you may end up having to pay two times for the IAP's. The latter, now, amount to $5.97. (You won't want to play the iPhone version on the iPad. Not only because of the inferior graphics, but also the major inconvenience with the obligatory card descriptions. And, on top of all this, the lack of game saving.)

iPad version-specific only (no such problems on the iPhone version):

The iPad version is unlikely to ever receive full Retina support. I've asked the developers on this matter; he answered (his answer is HERE) this.

iPhone version-specific only (no such problems on the HD version):

- The iPhone version still hasn't been updated to support the 16:9 (iPhone / iPod touch 5) screen. (BTW, this is why all the in-game iPhone screenshots are letterboxed in this article.) Moving for example spell / unit descriptions in the now-unused screen estate would have been great so that the playing field is never hidden.

- Speaking of these descriptions, it's still impossible to hide them. Unchecking the two checkboxes in Options:



still doesn't get rid of them. All you can do to not to see these is drag-and-dropping the cards all the time, which, on the small screen, may sometimes result in the wrong target slot. This (the obligatory description dialog) has always been a major issue. A lot of users have complained about it – too bad the developers still didn't bother fixing it.

- Still impossible to save a game. This is another MAJOR omission in the title, particularly when played in multiplayer. It must be fixed, devs!

- Can't make animations really fast. One of the biggest problems with Spectromancer is that the animations in it are slow-paced compared to e.g. Orions. Even if you drag the "Animation speed" slider in the previous screenshot to the rightmost position, the animation will take a lot of time. (And there's no such slider on the iPad version, meaning you can't in any way make animations at least a bit faster on the iPad at all.)

Some additional card descriptions (of the new ones - not all of them!)

 

 

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Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.