It wasn’t that long ago that I remember Pokémon and Yugioh cards being all the rage. I wouldn’t get the chance to play until I was much older, but I did have a few opportunities to watch the cartoons with my cousins on 4Kids. I always enjoyed the energy of them; the battles were always so serious, but everything else was so lighthearted. The power of friendship always prevailed. And, above all, it made the games they were playing seem so fun.
Which is good, because learning how to play Yugioh later on drove me absolutely insane. Luckily, I loved the idea of it enough to keep going. I bring up these two franchises because, as I played through Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle, I was immediately reminded of both. This is a very good thing.
You play as a new transfer student at Tensei Academy, a place where every kid seems to play a collectible card game (CCG) called Shadowverse. You’re almost late on your first day of class until friendly classmate Hiro helps you out. At the end of the day, Hiro introduces you to Shadowverse and teaches you to play. He then convinces you to help him and his friends, Kazuki and Mimori, find the school’s elusive Shadowverse club.
The game revolves around trying to save the club from being disbanded by the results-obsessed student council President, Kagura. She explains that if the club wants to survive, it needs more members and must win a national tournament. From there, you and a team of protagonists must battle your way to the top!
Naturally, most of the game is about playing Shadowverse. You’re able to run around the school (and other locations) and challenge any person with a battle icon over their heads. The icon color reveals the type of deck they have: dragon, rune, sword, blood, forest, shadow, or haven. Each battle is one on one, with each player having a 40 card deck and a certain number of defense points.
The game is pretty easy to pick up compared to other, similar card games. You draw three cards for your first hand and are given the ability to exchange them if needed. Upon the first turn, the player going first draws one card and the player going second draws two. With each turn, your play points increase; play points allow you to play certain cards. For example, if the card you want to play has a four in the top left corner, you need four play points.
Cards typically can’t attack on the turn they’re played. However, sometimes you might be able to evolve a card. If you evolve a card you’ve just played, you will be able to attack on the same turn it’s played. Once you’ve played your cards, your turn ends and the next person plays. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of, and the game is great at helping you out if you’re struggling. It will recommend cards to play and explain what they do, which is especially helpful for forest and rune decks that involve a lot of summoning and extra abilities.
The story mode also involves a bit of running around and completing little tasks, like finding data boxes or talking to NPCs. If after learning the basics in story mode you want to skip the story and get straight to more battles, there is an online mode. The online mode allows you to compete in both ranked and unranked battles with random players, as well as lobby matches with people in your friends list. It runs incredibly well and there’s no shortage of opponents. I highly recommend it, especially for practicing your skills!
Both the cutscenes and the gameplay are smooth and stylish, and the character and card designs are so interesting. Everything has a fun, energetic feel to it that makes you feel excited while playing. It’s very much the same feeling of youthful joy you’d get playing Pokémon, and I think capturing that is part of what makes Shadowverse work so well. It also manages to have an interesting story, despite every conflict being solved with card games. The games feel exciting and necessary, in a similar vein to Yugioh.
As much as I keep comparing Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle to Pokémon and Yugioh, it really is its own unique game. The card game is simple and easy for any player to learn and enjoy, whether they’re CCG newbies or veterans. This is a clean, well designed game that will suck in you for hours before you’ve realized it with battles and card collecting. Even the online mode is smooth and enjoyable, with no lack of opponents to test your skills. Look no further for your next high energy adventure; Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle already has your first deck ready.