Spells of Genesis (iOS)
Spells of Genesis is a new puzzle/TCG/RPG hyrbid that combines elements of brick breaker games and TCG's to offer a completely new mobile gaming experience. The game also features a Blockchain based in game economy where Bitcoin is used to purchase in-game currency that can then be used to buy IAP's.
+Brick breaker and TCG gameplay that requires precision, speed, and skill to master
+Hundreds of cards (orbs) to collect and use in the many battles in the game's campaign
+The game does feature a story as players navigate the world map taking on bosses and dungeons in a rich, fantasy world.
April 20th, 2017
While we don’t often review mobile games for Geeks Under Grace, I recently had the opportunity to play Spells of Genesis, a unique brick-breaker/Trading Card Game (TCG) hybrid. The game features a hand of four cards, each with individual stats and abilities, similar to Hearthstone. However, Spells of Genesis really shows its uniqueness when you factor in the brick breaker elements and its Bitcoin/Blockchain-bases economy, which is explained in detail on the game’s website.
There is absolutely no questionable content in Spells of Genesis. It is possible that the spells and magic used could turn away some Christians. There are mentions of violence in dialogue (as seen above), though this is only mentioned as there is no actual violence portrayed in the actual gameplay. There is no foul language and the only gods mentioned are those in the game’s story and some god-like bosses that players will face.
Spells of Genesis is a pretty solid brick-breaker/TCG hybrid strategy puzzle game. It follows the formula of your standard mobile puzzler with players navigating from point to point on an over-world map while the story is told through brief descriptions before each battle. Combat shakes things up by having players choose a hand of four cards. However, instead of playing each card individually like in most TCG’s, each individual card in a player’s hand acts as a character in your party, much like an RPG. The object of each combat encounter is to shoot your spells through blockades or ricochet shots off of walls to take out enemies. One point of damage is done for hitting an enemy but ricocheting shots off of walls or other enemies allows players to land multiple hits and potentially finish the round in one turn. Rare cards might have special abilities which buff damage or protect characters from incoming damage from enemies.
Much like in Hearthstone, each card has an attack and defense value that determines how effective it will be in combat. For example, a 1-2 card will probably get easily destroyed by a 3-2 card as the latter would have two more attack points than the former. However, this is where quick fingers and strategy prevail as sharp, strategic play can turn a bad situation on its head. For example, each card has a specific element, and that allows for powerups to appear on the battlefield if an enemy is present with a weakness to that element. These powerups take the form of fire balls or ice projectiles, that if shot by the player, will do damage to the nearest enemy. Keeping track of an enemy card’s strengths and weaknesses is easy thanks to the ability to simply tap the enemy bubble for a quick view of its stats. If it is weak to fire then players should seek out the fireball power ups to finish it off quickly.
Boss fights are present in Spells of Genesis and play out a bit differently than other fights. Here, the environment might change and boxes might block an otherwise clear shot at a boss. Some bosses and enemies can even wipe out an entire team in one attack so speed, timing, and good aim are very important to overcome these challenges.
Spells of Genesis contains hand-drawn art which is pretty much on par with other puzzle RPGs on iOS. The character designs are well done and there are some unique looking creatures and characters that stand out from the rest. Sound design is pretty standard with the same basic music track playing over most battles and on the overworld screen.
What I do not like about Spells of Genesis is how the IAP or In-App Purchases work. The developer has opted to forego standard currency purchases by forcing players to use in-game currency that can only be obtained with Bitcoin in order to purchase separate cards and packs. Though, like with most free-to-play games on mobile, additional cards and other items can be earned through regular gameplay, later stages feel like a paywall if players wish to forego a very monotonous grind to continue progress. The developer explains the economy system and how it all works on their website, but I feel like Bitcoin is still at a point where it is mostly known for a seedy reputation. In other words, Bitcoin isn’t mainstream enough yet for a developer to devote their entire in-game economy to it. There is also the requirement to link to a totally separate app, called Book of Orbs, which doesn’t even seem to be related to the same publisher of the Spells of Genesis. This seemes a little shady to me and only further increased my desire to never spend any actual money to obtain more cards in the game.
Despite the game’s economy, I do recommend Spells of Genesis to fans of mobile gaming and especially those who enjoy mobile TCG’s and puzzle games. The gameplay works well and the added twists to the two combined genres works well and requires a fair bit of strategy to master. The game is also free to download on both iOS and Android devices so if players are looking for a new mobile game to play while on the go, or while in the bathroom (you know you do it) then they need look not further as Spells of Genesis is an excellent addition to any mobile gamer’s collection.
+ Unique combination of TCG and brick breaker gameplay
+ Tons of cards to collect, each with its own abilities, element, and rarity
+ A surprising level of strategy and skill is required to overcome the more challenging puzzles and bosses
- A separate app download is required to keep track of player's personal collection of cards
- A shady, in-game economy built around Bitcoin might scare some away from purchasing additional IAP content