By Vincent Haoson (Ojogo)
The world of Tekken has taken on the mobile platform with Tekken Card Tournament, a card-collecting, deck based “fighting” game. Using a select set of characters from the franchise, Bandai Namco hopes to recreate the console and portable experience on mobile with this app using eTCG based gameplay mechanics.
Tekken Card Tournament’s core gameplay mechanic relies heavily on being able to anticipate your opponent’s moves, just like in any Tekken title. The key difference in Tekken Card Tournament is the way you input your moves and the limitations of your move list at any given time.
Just like in any card based game, you will have to draw cards at random from your created deck to key-in combos and signature attacks of your chosen character. The options you will have are highly dependent on the cards you put into your deck, which you can get from digital and physical booster packs.
The core gameplay mechanic is a modified rock, paper, scissors where you can focus, strike or block. Focusing allows you to draw cards. Striking uses the cards in your hand starting from the leftmost card to the right. Blocking on the other hand allows you to negate the first two attacks from your opponent.
Major game modes include ranked PvP and stage-based PvE. You can also “customize” your characters looks just like in the main Tekken game. This customization is mostly just for show and to share your visual swag.
The game’s current roster features 12 characters. The list includes the three main Mishima characters: Heihachi, Kazuya and Jin. You also have the more popular characters like Lili, Xiaoyu, Yoshimitsu, Hwoarang, Law, Paul, Asuka, Panda, and Nina.
The game provides you with a random starter character. The starter set comes with a full 15 card deck. As you open more packs, you can then edit the cards in your deck and even specifically create cards.
When you start off, you only have the solo character option. But when you reach level 8, you can unlock the tag option that allows you to mix it up with moves and combos just like in Tekken Tag.
Just like in a TCG, cards in Tekken Card Tournament have varying rarities. Starting from bronze, the rarity goes up to silver, gold and then SR.
One unique feature Tekken Card Tournament has compared to other eTCGs in the market (not published by Bandai Namco) is the option of purchasing physical cards for your character. Just like in Gundam Duel Company, you can use the code found on the card and register it on the game to acquire it digitally. This pretty much fulfills the collectible card game feature that Bandai seems to be doing with their IP based apps. I would’ve included a photo of the physical card like I did with my Duel Company review, but I was unable to get hold of one.
The card variety is huge, with almost every move each character has having its own card version. I love the fact that the cards, while chopped down to their most basic of moves, provide a variety of abilities and options that you can maximize. I also love how the moves are intertwined so that individual cards can build up combos that look really awesome on screen.
Battles are surprisingly complex even if Tekken Card Tournament sounds like just a simplified rock-paper-scissor game. While the options are few and the actions are restricted, the game feels like a virtual game of chicken to see who yields first, especially in the higher tiers of the game.
On the other hand, the normal single player combat is a bit more linear. The game’s map follows a predetermined set of stages that not only allows you to net in-game currency, but accomplish daily quests.
Matchmaking is pretty easily determined and the game itself tells you how it’s done. However, the game’s matchmaking doesn’t necessarily put you always on equal footing with the opponents you meet. There have been times that I’ve been faced with players who had a better set of cards and are even 3 levels higher than me. So there will be times that there’s a clear difference between those who played the game for free, and those who actually invested by either paying for premium boosters or getting lucky with the physical cards they get. So you really need to spend if you want to get to (and maintain) your top spot in the rankings.
Another feature in Tekken Card Tournament is the emphasis on team work, or at least the bonus you get for being part of a team. There’s a clear bonus that you can earn this way and unlike other games that have this team play included as a game feature, you are really encouraged to be part of one.
Overall, my experience with Tekken Card Tournament has been fun. I personally think that the game could really use more characters. But based on the response of the dev team, it’s highly unlikely we’re going to see the other characters in the roster.
I also love the fact that the game gets regular updates and the community is actively participating. With a fighting game like Tekken Card Tournament, it’s integral that there’s a vibrant community that keeps the game afloat, and this title has that player support.
My main issue with the game however is the stark difference between those who really spend a lot in real life cash and those who don’t. Level differences are also very easy to see in matchmaking. People can really snowball with their cards, especially as the higher rarity cards get unlocked. The sheer advantage is really astronomical, no matter how good you are in guessing your opponent’s movements. The game does balance this quirk with the randomness of the cards you get from each booster pack, and gives the option of just going through the campaign till you have a better deck. But if you’re looking to get to be competitive immediately, it’s going to be a difficult time for you to reach and maintain the top spot.
All in all, Tekken Card Tournament is one of the more decent IP based mobile fighting games out there. If you have the perseverance of really trudging through the early stages of the game then this is a real good game to invest time and resources into. If you’re a fan of the franchise and looking to bring that experience into your smart phone, this game is a must download for you.