While I’m not at all a “competitive” gamer or a huge fan of online-only gaming, every one in a while I’ll get something cool to peruse in my inbox that makes me stop and click away on a few links. Counterplay Games’ DUELYST not only got me to click away on a few links, I actually signed up to check out the beta of this free to play card battle/strategy game and came away pretty impressed. Given that lack of time is a big factor in getting me to even look a most online games, DUELYST grabbed me right away with its gorgeous pixel art style and short matches that take around 5 to 10 minutes to play.
Once you create an account, the game recommends you dive into a three stage tutorial in order to learn the basics. This is great advice to follow as the game takes off the training wheels should you choose to hop into it feet first. As with any good turn-based strategy game with card battles, positioning is crucial as is having the proper cards. Early solo play pits you against each faction and defeating them unlocks them and their cards. This gets you a nice starter deck as well as lets you choose which group to join. That said, the AI is pretty fierce. Expect to have your rear end passed back to you a few times when the AI outplays you or you run out of good cards because you haven’t built up a nicer deck.
As you can see above and below, both the animated cut scenes and in-game pixel art are lovely indeed. It’s certainly appreciated here that the game seems to contain a full story mode. One reason I’m not a big fan of most online games is the focus on MP and PvP content leaves little room for an engaging story other than “kill or be killed”, which gets stale fast. That said, given that PvP is after all, a huge part of a game called DUELYST, there are already some master players getting big attention for their skills. I’ve no intention of taking any of these folks on, but it’s great to see a game still in beta getting a fiercely loyal bunch of players who are already a force to be reckoned with. DUELYST officially launches April 27, 2016 – go take that beta for a spin in the meantime and add the game to your list of soon to be mega-hits if you like what you see and play.
Screenshots & Character Art: