I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for card games. From Pokemon to Yu-Gi-Oh! to Magic the Gathering, I love ’em all. The strategy and customization have always appealed to me but I didn’t always have a lot of friends to enjoy sparring against and so I also had really enjoyed digital card games a lot. Computer opponents were always ready to face you and collecting new cards didn’t even cost any money so deck building was completely fun and didn’t contain any painful stings after losing part of your paycheck. Missile Cards is unique and different from those kinds of card games, which makes it even more special. There isn’t much in terms of deck building. There’s no story. There’s no walking around. Instead, you’re treated to retro style graphics with loose inspiration pulled from the Atari classic Missile Command as you battle against decks that grow increasingly difficult. There’s no multiplayer or deck building; instead, it’s just pure solo card battling bliss–and I love it.
Missile Cards works by having a grid on the left side of the screen that represents the sky where hazards will fall towards your base. Each turn they’ll move closer so you’ll need to destroy them before they hit and cause damage to or destroy your base. On the right side is where your play area, hand, and attack points are located. Missiles require charging and so you can’t just draw them and fire them off. You need to plan your attacks but you also need to hope you draw the right cards. This is a card game after all. You might draw a bunch of missiles and then not draw any for a while so you’ll want to make sure that you place them in your play area to start the charging process so they’re all ready. Another thing to take into account is that the closer hazards are to your base, the more points you’ll earn when you destroy them. Theoretically, it’s best to destroy every single hazard in the space closest to your base but you’re also gambling with your missiles, your play area, and the possibility that you won’t have space freed up quick enough to place new missiles in the old spots and have them charged in time. There were plenty of times I made this mistake and while I was earning a lot of points, I always wasn’t prepared in time to destroy new hazards that appeared. I was forced to watch the destruction of my base just a few turns later. Missile Cards can be very difficult at times but that challenge is what helps bring a lot of the fun and replay value.
The tutorial works very well but this is definitely a game where it doesn’t take long to learn the basics and mechanics but it will take much longer to learn the strategy of the game and truly master it. I learned a lot of neat tricks and got better with my timing and planning the more I played but I’m still far from perfect. Something else that can take time is saving up the in-game currency that you’ll pull in with tractor beam cards. There’s no name for the currency so just be like me and call them “Space Bucks.” Anyway, as you collect more and more space bucks you can use them to purchase more powerful cards that can be added to your deck. This is the only element of deck building and it’s very light as there aren’t too many cards. It’s less than ten cards but they’re extremely powerful. I’d look at it more like levelling your deck up as these cards can really help you out if you end up in a tight spot, or just need an edge against the computer. Remember though, this is still a card game. There were times where I didn’t draw my new shiny card I added to my deck which was a bit of a bummer but it’s part of the game. You can’t rely on these cards but you can definitely appreciate the power of them when you see it appear in your hand. You can also upgrade your base with new abilities and increased defenses with experience points you’ll earn as you complete objectives. These can range from earning a high amount of points, beating the level in a certain way, or just completing the level for the first time. This is an exciting mechanic too as the progression helps reward your efforts while also giving you a new found sense of power and growth in your battle against space debris.
This music is out of control. I love the retro feel of it and how it helps the game flow. Believe it or not, it even adds to the intensity and atmosphere of Missile Cards. It may be a very retro game with clear inspiration from the Atari era but the gameplay and music are still very intense at times. This was definitely a game I enjoyed playing loud and with earbuds in the entire time. The sound effects are very satisfying as well; from the conveyor belt bringing new cards into my hand to the explosions from my missiles, it’s all very satisfying.
Everything controls fine but I couldn’t help but hope this comes to Nintendo Switch or 3DS and Vita at some point. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great on a computer. I just know this would be a fantastic portable game as well. I’m hoping it’s successful enough where Nathan Meunier is able to port it to additional systems and handhelds so more people can check this game out, and play it on the go too! This is a really entertaining game. The difficulty, graphics, and strategy are all things that will keep me coming back to this game for quite some time. If you like digital card games at all (especially when they feel a little different than the typical physical card games) then I’d absolutely recommend checking this out. If digital card games aren’t usually your jam but you really like strategy and/or difficulty then this should be a great match for you. You won’t even have to blow up your wallet as Missile Cards is only $4.99 USD on Steam!
- Engaging and intense card battles with missiles and space debris
- Easy to learn the basics but it will take time to master
- Love for the Atari era is sprinkled across the graphics and music in best way
- Earning XP and adding new abilities to your bases is a good progression system
- Difficulty is satisfying and will keep you coming back for a while