Still very much in development, Mythgard – developed and self-published by Rhino Games – is a free-to-play, additional-deck-purchase CCG that
borrows heavily pays tribute to Richard Garfield’s Magic: the Gathering card game while attempting its own streamlined or embellished mechanics.
Card Art Online
In the current version of Mythgard, you are building a deck to defeat a range of factions with their own distinct capabilities and nuances, strengths and weaknesses. As a young god, you make your way out into the cosmos to find your missing mother. Or so you claim.
Along the way, you will encounter everything from Valkyrie biker gangs and raver Strigoi (that’s “vampire” to you seculars) to the Garou (werewolves), hackers, psionic masters, dragons and jet fighters – all manner of beastie and baddie. Basically, all the crap I grew up on and loved, rolled into one fat psychotropic fever dream blunt.
I was a huge fan of the very early card game Rage, published only two years after Magic: the Gathering, and remember playing all my werewolf factions against a guy I swear was either a shaman or Jack Kerouac at a strip club in the Tenderloin in SF in the late ’90s. Mythgard brought me back to all the cherry-flavored goodness.
Stylistically, the game is wonderfully realized with an art style that invokes everything from Mark Ryden’s big-eyed children to Ralph Steadman’s manic scribbly manifestations. Though the cut scenes at this stage are merely static illustrations with slightly buggy voiced playback, they do help to build the world of Mythgard effectively. The design of the cards is rife with character and whimsy, as are the varied entities and minions that you can deploy or face in combat.
I Want Mana (That’s What I Want)
Speaking of combat – on each of your turns, you have the option to burn a card in exchange for a gem and mana. These, of course, accumulate over your turns, helping you to build up a charge to deploy increasingly powerful avatars to take down your opponent.
You can also use multiple characters in your deck. For example, Percy and her dog Fen can both be in a deck, and each can burn their own cards to create mana plus their respective colors of gem (but always one in total per turn). For those familiar with Magic, this will be just like collecting land cards and tapping them, though it does tend to feel like more of a match-three mechanic with the different colored gems and a general mana pool.
The Path Less Traveled
These entities or actions are deployed across one of several “lanes” – essentially card positions across the table between you and your foe. On their initial turn, they are still “weak” and cannot attack, though certain characters’ abilities can bypass this delay.
You can also use Paths, chosen when you construct your deck, to add passive abilities throughout the game. Like with all cards and abilities, hovering over them on the UI zooms into a description of their powers and effects.
When you do attack you can charge the lane directly in front of you or to the forward right or left. You may also move your card to a different adjoining lane.
While you don’t use land cards like in Magic (this is swapped out with the gem/mana function), certain cards modify the landscape/battlefield and allow you to place a character over them in a lane for bonus effects.
You can also build up a mana charge to “smite your enemies,” dealing a direct damage shot at your adversary – doing 2 damage if your enemy has more health than you or 1 if they don’t.
It ain’t elegant, but it gets the job done and sometimes a nice way to spend your “loose change” at the end of the turn to do extra damage to any enemy, including your main opponent.
Technically, the game is sound, rough edges aside. The animations, layout, menus, sound design and score are all coming together very nicely. The experience is smooth, and the generous tutorial help to shine a light on the various interactive components. I do wish there was an option to speed up animations and AI.
Though there are seemingly a billion CCG games in the world, I truly and much to my surprise enjoyed my time with Mythgard. It feels good on the digital table. For those who may become enthusiasts of the product, there are many other features that extend the gameplay, from online 2v2 to extensive deck-building features and much more.
Despite the glut, despite the skepticism of another freemium title, I say give Mythgard a go. Double damage if you’re a GenX latchkey kid. I just hope that the devs can manage/mitigate the pay-to-win balance.
For now, though, definitely go for it.
Mythgard is available via the iTunes App Store, Google Play and Steam.
Watch the official trailer for “Mythgard” below: