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Magic is back! My high school memories are coming back full circle and Wizards of the Coast did not disappoint. Featuring new features and new gameplay this is a great update from Magic 2013. Another new part is that this is the first time Magic has been added to Android! Was it worth it? Let’s find out!
Magic 2014 brings some of the old gameplay back as we follow the Planeswalker Chandra Nalaar on her quest for revenge in a new storyline that take you through 7 different planes and 25 different matches. Each match will help you with your deck by either you winning a card for the match or opening another deck for you to build up. Other game features include Challenge Matches that pit you against different scenarios, Two-Headed Giant Mode where it’s two players against one, custom game mode, and of course multiplayer. More on the multiplayer later.
Magic 2014 also brings a much needed addition to gameplay with the addition of “Sealed Deck” gameplay which feels like the "old skool" Magic I used to play in the common area in high school (yep, I was ‘that kid’). With Sealed Deck play you start out with a bunch of Booster Packs that give you a variety of cards and you get to build your own deck from them. This feature allows you to make 2 different decks (more available with in-app purchase) and when you play through the campaign you get the opportunity to open more Booster Packs and to continue to build your deck.
What would a game be now without any in-app purchases. The best part about Magic 2014 is that the game does not lose any gameplay without these purchases, they only enhance the game by making your cards look awesome with a foil conversion or help you skip ahead by fully opening up a deck by using a Deck Key.
Magic 2014 is a full game regardless of where you play it, the Xbox 360 gameplay is the same as Android and on the other platforms. There are some (major) issues but fingers crossed that they will fix this over time.
The Xbox 360 version works flawlessly. Its smooth gameplay will make even the newest player feel welcome. The achievements give you something to work for but aren’t out of this world impossible. The Xbox Live integration works with lobbies to set you up with a match and the gameplay works just like you were playing with the computer.
The Android version…not so much. The first problem is that when they released the app, either by accident or not, it released for everything including phones. According to the game’s information it was made just for tablets. With the card reading and the game hints, this is completely understand able. On the other hand, it did run and I could read the cards information just fine on my Galaxy S3. Another big flaw is the multiplayer. They did describe it now as “Ad-hoc multiplayer” which in the long run means nothing online and you can play locally via Bluetooth. The strange thing is that you have to have an internet connection to play over Bluetooth. This is annoying at best, but not a kiss of death for their new Android fandom. The gameplay is just as smooth on my tablet as it is on the 360. Nothing is changed in the campaign mode and sealed deck. With the exception of the multiplayer everything is there.
If you are new to Magic, this would be a great place to start. The guided gameplay (that you can turn off if you aren’t new) will help you walk through your first few matches in the tutorial and you’ll be off and running. The Sealed Deck gameplay will make any veteran player feel like they have their box of cards on the table ready to make a deck. The best thing is that all of the games on all of the formats are exactly the same. Minus the Android multiplayer, the gameplay across board is nice. If you played before and you buried that inner geek, it’s time to bust it out and let the Planeswalker come back to life. Magic 2014 – Duels of the Planeswalkers is available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PC via Steam, PlayStation Network, iPad, and Android via Google Play and the Amazon App Store.