If you like the idea of a RPG with a card-based battle system and own a Switch, you ought to keep Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle on your radar.
Launching this August, Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is based on the anime adaptation of Cygames’ hit strategic multiplayer mobile/PC card battle game, Shadowverse. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before, however; no prior knowledge of Shadowverse is required to enjoy this RPG spin-off.
We’ve been hands-on with the opening hours of Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle, and have been pleasantly surprised by what we’ve played. After choosing and naming your avatar, you find yourself as a new transfer student at the Tensei Academy. And, much to your relief, it doesn’t take long for you to make some friends. One of your new friends, a lively chap named Hiro, loves Shadowverse, and wants to join the Shadowverse club. The trouble is, he doesn’t know if it even really exists. After forcing you to download the Shadowverse app on your phone and engaging you in battle, he finds you’re a natural, which makes him want to join the club even more – with you, of course.
After learning most of the mechanics of Shadowverse, you agree to try and find the club. And you have success. A spanner is thrown in the works, though, when the club is promptly shut down because of poor performance. After demonstrating your Shadowverse skills alongside your new friends, however, the club’s given a reprieve. If you can find more members and win the national championship, the club can stay open. If not, that’s it. Needless to say, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
Like any RPG, your time in Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is spent exploring environments and engaging in battle. You’ll initially be exploring the Tensei Academy and its dormitory, but soon you’ll have access to a shopping area and more. Each environment is fairly small but cram-packed with students and civilians going about their business. To help you along the game’s story, an orange marker makes you aware of your next objective when you’re nearby. Fast travel is possible too, making it a cinch to move from one area to another.
Battles in Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle are, of course, Shadowverse battles. You’ll get into many battles as you follow the game’s story, but you can also challenge random NPCs if you wish. You’ll want to do so, too, as it’s a good way to collect more cards for your deck, earn experience, and more.
Shadowverse battles can seem intimidating at first, but once you’ve got your head around the basic mechanics they’re strategic, engaging, and very enjoyable. Players basically take it in turns to play cards from their deck – each card has a points value, and players can play one or numerous cards in a turn as long as they have the points available to do so, which increase with every turn. Most cards are follower cards, which are placed in front of the player’s avatar. From the start of the next turn they can be used to attack the opponent’s avatar or follower cards. Some follower cards have special effects, such as those with the ward status that prevent you from attacking any other target until they gave been dispatched. To win a battle, you need to reduce your opponent’s HP to zero.
Further deepening Shadowverse’s combat system are spell cards that immediately trigger an ability, support cards that boost the stats of others cards, and a card evolution system that allows you to strengthen a set number of cards once played, as well as trigger special abilities. There’s a lot to consider overall, but the battle system is easy to pick up yet has a lot of depth. In the early stages of the game you probably won’t be challenged, but we imagine things could get tricky as you progress.
Of course, collecting cards and building decks is going to form a large part of Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle. There are eight classes of card available, and initially you’ll only have access to two of them: neutral and Dragoncraft. By defeating opponents, however, you’ll soon unlock the others. The cards you obtain, either by buying them individually, in packs, or by defeating opponents, generally can only be used in decks of the corresponding class. Neutral cards can be used in all decks though, making them versatile.
We’ve only spent a short amount of time with Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle so far, but we’re looking forward to playing more. It has a nice anime art style, pleasant voice acting, and an enjoyable battle system. Obviously Shadowverse fans are going to get the most out of it, but we reckon anyone that enjoys RPGs and card based battles are likely to take a liking to it too. Come back for our full review in August.
Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle launches 13th August in Europe, and 10th August in North America, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.