The Chatter seismograph registered off the chart activity in Magic Nation, so we decided to interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast to bring you SolForge: Demo Release.
Just in case you have been living under a rock, Solforge is a Digital Collectible Game produced by Stone Blade Entertainment (nee Gary Games). It was funded, with huge support from Magic Nation, through Kickstarter. While they are still hard at work creating the full version of the game, scheduled for release in Spring 2013, they released the demo yesterday. Magic players with iPads subsequently lost even more sleep. That’s right. You heard me. Only iPad owners can try the demo at this time. Which meant that I had to break down and borrow my mother’s iPad…
As soon I had the babies fed, cleaned and tucked in tight, I convinced my mom that it was imperative that she let me abscond with her iPad for quite possibly the rest of the night. Prying my mom away from her iPad can take an act of Congress, so Solforge better be worth it.
The tutorial was brief, relaying all the information you needed to know to adequately play the game. It didn’t become redundant as they are want to do. After it walked me through the basic steps of gameplay, it let me take over playing against the AI.
As you can see, I put a beat down on the tutorial. The first thing that struck me as I completed and passed my turns was this: SolForge is visually stunning. The art is glowing and beautiful. Casting your creatures and spells is smooth.
As of right now, you can not construct your own deck and must play with the pre-constructed decks the game provides you. There are two types of cards in the demo: Creatures and Spells. The spells can buff your creatures or do damage to your opponent and their creatures. You may cast two cards every turn and two cards only. There are no resources to gather and no mana cost to achieve. You may cast whichever two cards you want from the five-card hand you are dealt.
It seems simple, but this is where it gets tricky. If you cast two creatures you might gain board advantage against your opponent. But if he casts one creature and then one spell that buffs his creature, you might lose both your creature and board advantage. Then you also have to account for your creatures and spells transforming as you level them up, which happens every time you play a particular card.
There are three levels of transformation:
In my limited experience, I died or killed the AI before I leveled all the way up to Level 3 the majority of the time. Once I did get to cast a Level 3 card, victory or defeat were imminent. Once I achieved a better grasp on the balance between board control, leveling up and subtracting from the opponent’s life total, the games began to end like this:
My only real complaint so far is that when the AI is casting spells/creatures, it can happen very quickly and it’s easy to miss what happened. I didn’t see a text journal where I could read back to see what the heck just happened. This could be a feature that is coming with full release though so I am not too worried about it yet.
I am going to refrain from commenting on complexity and depth for now because we don’t have access to deck building yet. Any discussion until we do just seems arbitrary. I am excited to see how this game develops. Your creatures can only battle the creature in the slot directly in front of it (unless it has a special ability that lets it move about the board). Seems to me that creatures that provide bonuses to the cards around it will be absurdly powerful. Like this guy:
After I spent a while experimenting with the game, I did what any self-respecting gamer would do. I texted my friends who also don’t own iPads and rubbed it in:
This might seem like just a Level 1 troll by @bluenu standards, but it is actually at least a Level 2 because my Editor Justin backed SolForge and is a grown-up with a tablet. Just not an iPad-type tablet. I’m a bad, bad Angel.
I wasn’t the only Magical person taking a quick break from MTG last night…
@bmkibler I got a couple of games in last night. Very nice experience. Easy to learn basics, and the interface. Opponents plays sometimes..— Mike (@robotlarge) December 20, 2012
@bmkibler Solforge is ridiculous amounts of fun. Just got done playing 8 hours straight. 10/10. Though i do think devourer is too strong.— Cody McGuire (@A_d0t_Burr) December 20, 2012
The SolForge Facebook was gathering some pretty good comments/tips as of this post. Check it out if you want to see what your fellow gamers thought or add your own thoughts/tips.
Brian Kibler and team. For creating what looks like a brand new distraction of which I was in desperate need.
I really hope the world doesn't end tonight, because life is absolutely awesome, and only looks to be getting better...— Brian Kibler (@bmkibler) December 21, 2012
Chatter will be back at its regularly scheduled time on Monday (Merry Christmas!). We know many of our readers invested their hard-earned money to support SolForge and are eager for its release. Chatter will continue to bring any updates as we get them.
If you have any tips or tricks you would like to share with others who haven’t had a chance to play, please feel free to leave them in the comments.
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