Prismata is a card game with a visual novel story thrown into the mix (minus the choices). I went in expecting a sci-fi take on Hearthstone and walked out not knowing where the hell I was and who I had just talked to. And I mean this in the best possible way.
Prismata has swagger. You can see the swagger in the protagonist’s shades. It knows what it wants to do. It knows how to teach you how to play. And it knows how to put all the things you like about tabletop games, collectible card games, and real-time strategy games into a blender and spit out awesome-sauce for your spaghetti.
Currently, in Early Access on Steam, Prismata is ready for the big time. The story is there. The sounds are there. The exhilarating swipes to get gold, build units, and crush your opponents are all ready to delight and dazzle you. It’s a game small in scope but heavy on fun and brain computing skills.
Matches usually start with lower tier units and some resources. These units generate gold, ether (not crypto), and X each turn. You swipe across your card at the beginning of each turn to gather all the resources (so satisfying) and then you build new units while attacking and defending against your opponent.
Your units (aka cards) are broken out in a few types and follow a tech tree. There are the worker units that give you the resources you need to build, there are the fighting cards that come in doing damage, and then there are defense units like Walls that protect your cards from death. There’s also a variety of larger cards you can work up to that dish out heavy damage to the enemy or provide sweeping effects.
Turns have two phases for you and the enemy. You start by collecting resources, dropping a few units, and then activating all your damage dealing cards. The damage dealers will add up to a total attack number. This number, let’s say 10 damage, is then spread across your opponent. So if your opponent has two 3hp walls, your damage will go through the walls first and you get to distribute the remaining damage points however you see fit.
At the start of the match I’d rush out the workers and build walls as quickly as possible. Once enough resources were coming in, I’d drop my offensive units and more bases that in turn provided me even more unit variety. I’d then go on the attack, gutting my enemy’s defenses, hoping to get a shot at his base.
Primsata makes it clear quite fast that to get ahead in harder challenges or tougher opponents will come down to your ability to do the math as well as manage your resource gains versus spend. Feels familiar? It did to me. I felt like I was in an intense 1v1 Starcraft match taking place on futuristic iPad.
There are some minor hiccups around polish (like the chat windows overtaking a lot of screen presence) and the UI could be a bit better on explaining what’s what between matches, but during my playtime I didn’t experience any bugs and the tutorial is strong enough to get you to swagger status in no time.
If a card game RTS set in the future sounds up your alley, you’d be wise to not miss Prismata. I look forward to seeing how the game progresses as it moves through Early Access to release. I also hope for a tablet release, as the mouse swipes felt satisfying, I could really see myself losing tons of time if I could take Prismata on the go.
*** A PC code was provided by the publisher ***