Laying a numerical Smackdown
So inbetween iterations of WWE 2K games, 2K Sports has decided to release this free-to-play card game which features a large portion of past and present WWE wrestlers. To be totally honest I was expecting a half-arsed cash in but in all due fairness you can tell that, while maybe not the most challenging game to make, at least some effort has gone into makeing this game something of an enjoyable experience for its users.
Essentially this game is a version of War (or Top Trumps if you prefer). You take a set of five cards consisting of four male wrestlers and one female while also carrying two support cards. With your cards you must win a best of three contest by using a card that has a higher numbered stat than your opponent's card. All the cards have four different stats (Power, Toughness, Speed and Charisma) and some have the ability to randomise a boost to one of these stats. This is also where your support cards come into play. For a single round you can play one of your two support cards and they will either boost your own stats or debuff your opponents. It's pretty much a simple experience and can be pretty addictive from how easy it is to play and how quick the games take to complete (roughly five minutes per game).
The game in total has two game modes. The first is exhibition, this is where you play the game as mentioned above against an AI controlled opponent based on a real life player's deck. From there the game will pick one of three types of rounds. There is solo (where each player chooses a single card to play in the round), tag team (where each side chooses two cards to play in conjuntion) and finally Diva (where each must play their female wrestler card). The game will randomly choose which stat will come into play before you choose your card.
Upon the end of a game you will get to pick one or two cards (depending on whether you won or lost) from a deck of turned down cards. This will add new cards to your deck which can be either playing cards, stamina cards or boost cards (more about those later). The deck you draw from will reset if you either draw a playing card of Rare Rank (or higher) or a Boost card. The better your deck become will see your rank increase and when this happens you have a better chance of unlocking better variants of the cards.
Allowing the player just to unlock all the cards this way for free is a great move, as it emphasises what free-to-play should be all about. Not forcing the player to pay-to-win. While people do have the choice to pay money to unlock better cards, it won't make you any more provledged as you will end up only playing people with the same sort of cards.
If there was anything negative I discovered it would be either of thse two things. The first is that the figures are somewhat iffy. A Batista card doesn't out match a Shawn Michaels card of the same rank in Power for example. The other is that the Diva round is pretty much dependant on you being lucky enough to have your Rare Card pick up be a female card. Despite advancing a few ranks in the game I see some people are still using the lowest form of female cards. I see this probably due to how few female wrestlers have been chosen to represent in this game making the chance of drawing a higher leveled version of the cards harder than putting together a team of high ranked male wrestlers.
The other game mode is King of the Ring which is a Tournament where 45 players go at it to qualify for eight slots in a knockout tournament. You will win a prize depending on your final position in the tournament and how strong your deck is. This mode also adds more of a strategic edge to it as in addition to your main hand of four males, one female and two supports you will also have a bench of sorts allowing essentially double the cards to come into play. Cards will also lose stamina as each match played lowers your card's stats in the tournament as it depletes. This is where the Stamina and Boost cards (mentioned earlier) come into play or how you choose to utlise your bench.
Stamina cards will restore a chosen card back to maximum power, while a boost can give your cards a single match pick up to all your cards for a single stat. If you are lacking either of these, between games you can swap out cards in the main hand for those on the bench. While on the bench they can regain stamina per game allowing them to be utilsed again later on.
Sound pretty awesome for a card enthusiast right? It's a shame then that all games are randomised. You merely pick who is going to play and then the computer will play a game with itself. What makes it worse is that each game is played after only an hour of the previous one completing. So unless you want to miss two nights of sleep and maybe a couple days of work you won't be able to really manage this as well as you should. Also the prizes aren't really that great until you get to the higher levels so until you have built a massively strong deck there really is no point to this mode.
Finally it's worth mentioning that in total you can only hold onto 100 playing cards at one time. Someone might find this disappointing but as your decks get stronger you will have less use for lower ranks cards and then you can covert them in XP to make your better cards even stronger. Besides the game keeps track of all the cards you have ever held in the Catalogue so if your a 100% enthusiast there is this.
WWE Supercard is an additively simple card game. It's nothing revolutionary but it's hard to argue against a free game thats done well enough. It will pass the time when you want it to and if your into collecting sets it's worth the time. My own major complaint is the lack of true multiplayer, even if it was done like those old email games where you waited an eternity for your opponent to choose their stat.
Either way free is free and for the wrestling enthusiast it's worth checking out.