Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle Review
Shadowverse was initially a digital card game that was released on many platforms back in 2016, with its anime debut in 2020. Developed by Cygames and liked by many players when it first came out, Shadowverse utilizes beautiful anime artwork to illustrate its cards, with the gameplay not unlike the popular Hearthstone. In this newly released RPG, Shadowverse: Champions Battle takes the first released game and combines it with the anime, introducing a storyline to take us through the events of becoming the greatest Shadowverse player. By giving us a solid (albeit cheesy) plot and a handful of sidequest battles, Shadowverse is a sensational digital card game that is deserving of recognition with this new release.
As with many anime protagonists, we play as a transfer student new to the world of Shadowverse. This means players aren’t expected to know the game inside out, and the introduction given is very welcoming to newcomers who have never heard of Shadowverse before. In the story you are introduced to Hiro, an energetic student with a strong passion for Shadowverse, and he and his friends willingly teach you the basics of the card game. After meeting more new friends and reviving the school’s Shadowverse club, you will quickly learn how to build decks, master different classes, and defeat your rivals to become the champion of Shadowverse.
There are three types of cards in the game – followers, amulets, and spells – and the goal is to bring your opponent’s defense down to zero. Followers attack the enemy, but most followers cannot act until the next turn unless they have a special ability. Amulets stay on the field and cannot be interacted with, but these amulets can summon cards or assist in other ways in the battle. Spells are relatively straightforward and can benefit yourself or damage your opponent in the same turn.
At the start of each battle you draw three cards, and you are allowed to swap it once before the game begins. Each player starts out with a specific number of points, and all cards cost points to play. With each turn that passes, players will gain one extra point. On the top left corner of every card, there will be a number displayed which shows how many points it takes to put the card in the field. This means that higher-skilled cards, which require more points to play, cannot be used until the player has enough points to play them.
With incredibly helpful tutorials and an intricate set of well-defined rules, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is surprisingly easy to learn. By no means is the game simple as there is a lot of material to cover, but the pacing and learning curve of the game is commendable. Starting as a blank slate and a basic set of cards, you are introduced to the different play styles in the game, granting you the opportunity to experience all the different classes and allow you to start building your own deck. Each win grants you some cards or even a deck code, and losing allows you to retry the battle with your current deck or to regroup and use a different class. The more you play with a certain class, the faster it will level up.
Never-ending Challenges and Opponents to Defeat
There aren’t a lot of negative consequences in the game, it is pretty wholesome and an altogether relaxing experience. While it can feel slightly repetitive with the whole point of the game being playing Shadowverse, the variation and randomness in every battle makes it easier to enjoy and retry. Your opponents will never use the same moves in the same sequence ever again, and your cards will not always show up in the same order. There is no one way of winning, and it is always a fun challenge to be creative with your approach in how you want to defeat your opponent. All RPGs have an element of repetition and grinding involved, and Shadowverse is no different. The only downside is one card game may be longer than a random enemy encounter in other RPGs, so it feels more obvious.
If you ever get tired of playing against NPCs and want a different sort of challenge, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle supports online and local matches as long as your friends also have a copy of the game. This allows you to try rising to the top in real life with ranked matches, earning points for rewards (and personal clout). The rules of the game are the same, so while that may not help with the repetition, playing against real people can be more fun and unpredictable as NPCs tend to make the “perfect” call. If online and multiplayer matches are not your thing, there is enough content in the story mode to satisfy all your Shadowverse needs without requiring you to go online, ever.
On the surface, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle looks like a children’s card game with glorified animation, but it is actually more than that. With solid battles and structured rules, a large variety of cards, and a lot of NPCs specializing in different classes, every time you challenge someone it feels like a completely new experience. While following a cheesy and fun storyline in this RPG, the card game remains consistent and the characters predictable, making it easy to focus on strategizing and advancing to the top. Sure, there are moments where the repetition is evident, but there aren’t many RPGs that don’t require grinding.
***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***
Organized and well-defined rules
Great tutorial with excellent instructions
Good variety of opponents and battles
Story is predictable
Grinding takes a while
Nature of the game can be repetitive