Weekly Challenge #3 - Shelf (app?) of Shame
A little while ago I downloaded the #Sentinels of the Multiverse App while it was going free in the app store.
I have never played the game on a table, but have often heard it held up as a great example of a deck based game. However, I love deck building games, and as there is no actual deck building in the game: you just get prebuilt decks for each hero, which to me seemed less interesting. So, I downloaded 'just because' but then didn't play it at all until last week and was pleasantly surprised.
So the free bit comes with 10 heroes, 4 villians and 4 environments in which to play. You pick 3-5 heroes, 1 villian and 1 environment and away you go. This actually gives a fair bit of variance to how the game goes, each of the options is highly asymmetric and varying in difficulty. The heroes, while kind of forced into a certain play style, interact with each other in a pleasing manner and you can create some really satisfying combos. There is the usual amount of luck based on card draw: especially the environment decks which can absolutely ruin you if the timing is bad. However, there are characters that can interact with both the villian and environment decks so you feel somewhat in control of how swingy they are.
Once you get past the easiest couple of villians and environment pairings, the game gets genuinely tricky to win, and I have often stopped playing partway through after getting almost wiped out and the villian still being near/on full health. There is often a bit of a tipping point as once you get enough permanent cards down you are able to control the game better (especially if you have the characters that can interact with the villian/environment decks, as you can prevent the worst of their cards from coming out) I have found it most enjoyable with 5 heroes to allow for maximum combo-ing, and have been playing it exclusively solo: I think it might drag a bit with each player just controlling 1 hero, and again the ability to just stop a game when you realise you are doomed rather than dragging it out is useful.
Overall, I have enjoyed the foray into this game, I think I still prefer deck building (something like legendary Alien deck builder is much more enjoyable) and not sure I would ever buy or be desperate to try this game IRL. Likewise I won't be buying any extra content on the app. However, it killed a few hours and I am glad to have experienced a game that is often mentioned as a precursor to a lot of the deck-builders available now.
P.s. I am having trouble hyper-linking games on my mobile, when I press hashtag it types '# :' and if I type it doesn't bring up options. Somehow managed to get it to work once in this article but not sure how.