Totem Proxzor Impressions – Tactical Card Browser Done Right
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Luckily I had the chance to experience a beta session in the newly developed game Totem! In this strategic game, your units are the key element in your playing sessions because these different specialized troops all belong to a different race and offer various strategic advantages on the battlefield. In addition to PvP, Totem goes above the standards of browser titles by offering a full-fledged campaign as well. It is even possible to send one of your units alone on its own mission. The lovely people behind Totem had given me a special account and hefty bankroll so I could experience the variety of units it had to offer in rapid succession.
The first thing I did after logging in was check out the vast variety of troops. I had been given the human race’s top of the line units, and immediately jumped straight into combat to see if these units could carry a newb player like myself to victory with sheer power. Well, my expectations were quickly shattered as I got completely demolished. This game forces you to learn and utilize its strategic elements if you want to win, even if your cards are blatantly stronger than your foe’s.
When you start up a game, both players are given an amount of gold that they can spend on units. Turns out the best units are expensive to deploy so you will want to balance your deck out with some lesser units to survive the early rounds if you ever want to snowball to domination and unleash your true forces. At first both sides start out slow with couple of units as you try to take over the map to earn additional gold.
Beyond cards you also gain some additional skills unrelated to your deck to support your troops. I had a heal on me to heal the units in a small circle on the map as well as an area of effect spell to damage the enemy units if they are clunked up. In other words card placement is one of the key factors you’ll need to consider when pushing your forces across the map. What I’ve learned is that you basically want tanky units to push forward on the battlefield right from the start to establish a frontline that can later be supported by spending gold to add powerful ranged units. Although this isn’t the only strategy I saw used, it had incredible synergy with my heal ability as my superior cards made my tank able to absorb massive focus fire and hold out until reinforcements arrived. Thankfully the game is still fresh and no one knows what they are doing so I often marched to easy victories against players attempting the same tactic against me with lesser cards. I can see this tactic being countered given certain decks that thankfully I didn’t come across as often.
Your pre-match planning if half the battle in Totem. After some practice I diversified my strategy with cheap suicidal damage dealers combined with healers to keep their early assault building up my gold against unready foes. This combined with a heavy powerful tank clearing the way for a second wave of ranged units was extremely effective. But this was based on my Human units and didn’t take into account the two other races that can be mixed and matched to further expand a player’s deck options. Additional units from other races can be unlocked through the campaign and side quests or purchased with your hard earned VIP tokens.
You are able to get better items and units as your VIP level progresses. The VIP level is something that you can level up through recharging. And this is where the real money kicks in. Unfortunately this is where cash shopping creates an unfair advantage as it can take quite some time to up your VIP level by standard means.
Besides acquiring new units you can also fuse your soldiers to make better and stronger units; these units also need gear. You are able to acquire gear through quests, loot bags or you can craft them. You can even enhance the gear to make it even stronger than it was before. You can also enchant the spells used in battle to increase their power or add additional utility.
Totem is unlike most browser games with an unusually heavy focus on PvP elements while still carrying above average campaign/questing elements. I am a big fan of competitive PvP and appreciated the elo matchmaking system to ensure more even matches as the beta continued on. You should never get obliterated once you have time to learn the game. I had a lot of fun playing this game although I do wonder what updates they have in store as it lacks a bit of variety in gameplay outside daily quests and PvP once the campaign is complete. If you are a big fan of the concept of unit cards, and upgrading them to make your deck stronger than you should definitely check out Totem as few browser titles do the genre justice like it.