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Shadow Era Review: A Successful TCG on the iPhone

I’ve never really been into TCG; maybe collecting cards, but never trading.  When I was young I had some Pokemon cards, but other than that, trading card games were never my thing.

Enter Shadow Era, one of the first TCG games I’ve seen on the App Store aside from Orions (a game that I never tried).  And boy oh boy, I really can’t say anything but good about it.

The first thing Shadow Era does right is that the gameplay structure is built so that you keep playing: level up to be able to use more powerful cards, along with earning coins and experience after every battle to be able to buy new cards.  You can buy money through in-app purchases which in turn are used to buy more powerful cards, but you can always earn your way to buying cards.

While there was some lag on my iPhone 4, and the UI could use some improvement, the overall game has got me into the trading card game genre.  And best of all, it’s free.


Graphics: We’ve come a long way graphically from Battle for Wesnoth.  The artwork is—for lack of a better word—amazing.  The 3D effects when playing the actual game is not too shabby, and the visuals have really impressed.

Cards: There are a large number of cards.  And that’s probably the biggest understatement of the year, as there’s at least 200 cards to choose from.  There are so many decks, booster packs, and single cards that it’s somewhat overwhelming to try and choose which deck.  There’s just so much here, along with the fact that each card is aesthetically appealing.

Free: I don’t really know how well Shadow Era is doing financially, but for me, this is the ideal freemium title.  You can earn your way to buy the things you can buy with really money, and if you’re lazy, you can just quickly purchase more powerful packs.


Multiplayer: It was tough matching up in a multiplayer match, and it would be nice if the developer streamlined it a little more.  It’s not bad, but it does take a while to actually play someone.  Also, it does look like you can’t challenge a specific person.

Slow: The game does get a bit slow when casting spells such as the Fireball, and it would also be nice if we could skip through the AI’s turn.  Just a better performance overall would be nice, but the speed right now is bearable.

Shadow Era is a fun, enjoyable TCG game.  Like I said before, I’ve never really been into TCG until now, and the experience has been nothing less than positive.  I would like to see some improvements in speed and multiplayer match-ups, but other than that, Shadow Era is a game that you won’t want to miss out on.  Plus, it’s free.  You can’t really get any cheaper than that.

Shadow Era was developed by Kyle Poole, and I played through version 1.23 on my iPhone 4.  The price is free with varying in-app purchases.

  1. Mook on Sunday 27, 2011

    My only issue at the moment is having to always be online, even for the single player, so my underground commute basically makes playing it impossible. Poor me.

  2. Shadow Era Crystals on Sunday 27, 2011


    actually you can now play offline but it will not give you experience nor cash rewards..

    after the update we can now create private session

  3. [...] I would like to see some improvements in speed and multiplayer match-ups, but other than that, Shadow Era is a game that you won't want to miss out on. Plus, it's free. You can't really get any cheaper than that…. – read full review – No DPad [...]

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