Spellweaver is a game that is unassuming. It is the type of game that one usually takes for a spin due to it being free, and ultimately leaves it discarded and forgotten. However, once one gives this title a closer look, they might discover a surprise. Spellweaver is a potential heir to the TCG throne, but with the admittedly rough edges that one may expect from a new release.
To begin, its best to understand what exactly Spellweaver is. Spellweaver is a free-to-play TCG (Trading Card Game), sharing the same genre of titles such as Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering. Both games have their share of fans, but the two games have clear and defined roles in the market. Hearthstone is generally aimed at the more casual player, while Magic the Gathering is for the more hardcore players.
The title's indie nature is immediately apparent, as its ‘settings’ menu has literally just enough to justify the term, with some volume sliders, chat censors, and windowed/fullscreen options. That’s it. Spellweaver also has a 30FPS lock, which along with the little to no graphics options could have easily spelled (heh) its demise, but it's saved because Spellweaver is a card game and doesn't exactly need the advanced options. It's not the end of the world, but it is still worth mentioning.
Players who have sunk hours into Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering will feel right at home here, and after a somewhat rushed tutorial and some casual games under their belt, intermediate-level players will be playing with a relatively high degree of understanding.
What’s different? There are a couple of things. There are 'Heroes' that can use spells, a feature ripped straight out of Hearthstone, although players can add another spell to their hero here, which is interesting. While the cards themselves have the basic health/defense mechanics, there is a unique mechanic for added complexity, as each card has a certain level of speed. What this means is that to block an attacking card, your card has to have at least the same speed as the attacker, which brings a whole new element of thought into building one's deck.
Each Hero starts with a spell that a player can use, and as mentioned before, another can be earned through a played card. There are two Heroes to each deck so far, (one comes with the deck while another doesn't) and they really do change the way one approaches a game. Each hero belongs to an Aspect, of which they are mostly self-explanatory; Order, Nature, Corruption, Wisdom, Dominion, and Rage. To explain the Heroes, the basic Corruption Hero allows a player to be able to 'slow' a card's speed down one notch to be attacked, which can quite easily change the course of a game if it is utilized at the right moment.
So basically, if you go Corruption, you will have slower but more powerful cards. If you go Nature, you will have a lot of quick attackers, but not as high level damage dealers. Each Aspect has its strengths and weaknesses, and each Aspect plays differently as a result.
There are two drawbacks to this, though. While it is a great idea on paper, the metaphorical Corruption versus Nature battle could lead to frustration. At the moment, there isn’t a lot of removal (either through spells or creature speed) for certain decks, so it can sometimes be quite easy to have a ton of unblockable super-fast creatures that slowly (or quickly) whittle down a foe’s health.
Another negative is that there isn’t a lot of variety in the game at the moment. There are six Aspects to experiment with, but not that many cards between all of them altogether. It is enough for now, but after a while it will start to get a little dull. More cards are confirmed to be coming in the future, hopefully soon.
The turns themselves play out a little stringently. Each player has a set amount of time to play before they lose, which is nice. What is not nice though is playing against a player that takes two minutes to figure out that they want to press the ‘accept’ button before switching to the other player’s turn. Something to looked at, potentially.
There are also Tournaments and a Crafting system in the game. So far, the Tournaments have been going relatively smoothly since a disastrous early tournament that resulted in some players not being able to play, and points not being counted for others. The Crafting system itself is fine, which is all I have to say about it. It does its job, it crafts cards. There is also a Trial mode as well, which is basically the equivalent of Hearthstone's Arena mode, although in Spellweaver players pick two Aspects and a Hero before drafting a deck. The objective of this mode is win as many games as possible, and if one reaches a certain amount of wins they get in-game prizes.
Regarding monetization, the in-game store is somewhat expensive, although this is offset by how easily one can fulfill quests and achieve decks/cards if they are persistent players. No, players cannot obtain every card for free with ease, but you can certainly be competitive if one goes the free-to-play route.
On a final note, the graphics and sound are fine. The card quality is noticeably sub-par in comparison to Hearthstone and Magic, but it isn’t as though they are painful to look at. The sound lets one know when a player is attacking or defending or placing down a card, and the music is appropriately ethereal. It isn’t mindblowing by any means, but it gets the job done. Not much else to say really.
Overall, Spellweaver is a title that is bursting with potential, but is also a title that is not quite there yet. If you have any interest in Hearthstone or Magic the Gathering, there is no reason not give this game a try, and every reason to come back to this every few months to check in on its progress. It’s free, with one of the fairest free-to-play models seen on a market that is notorious for its price-gouging. Give it a shot if you are in the market for a new card game to play, and give it a shot if you aren’t anyway. You literally have nothing to lose except a few hundred megabytes and a few hours of your time.
Spellweaver is a free TCG that will feel familiar to fans of Magic or Hearthstone, but brings its own surprises to the table.