Welcome Time Wasters!
My time wasting this week is of the mobile variety due to John asking me to check out Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle. I’m a big fan of card battle games, so this seemed like a no brainer for me to cover, but unfortunately, I’m also strict on mobile games.
Let’s get this out the way right off the bat. Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle is a pay-to-win game. I was given free diamonds, the game’s form of premium currency, by the developers. However, I chose not to use it starting out. Instead, I wanted to get an idea as to how the game would work for a free player. Let it be known, you will hit an invisible pay wall. It doesn’t even take that long honestly.
So how was my experience after cashing in roughly $40 worth of premium currency to buy cards? I was blowing through the game like there was no challenge whatsoever. The only time I even started to see a hint of difficulty was doing the Gold Star battles, but even then I was winning easily enough.
It’s not that I dislike the core idea behind this game. Collecting cards, building decks and battling is fun. The game also uses a team system that rewards the player with different bonuses for using cats from the same team. To add to this, players can also unlock different heroes with various abilities to lead their battles. All of these can also be leveled up to make them more powerful. My problem comes from the steep prices that the game expects players to pay for the cards.
Let’s do some math.
The cheapest option for buying diamonds is $5. That nets the player 50 diamonds. That may seem like a lot, but opening a single card pack also costs 50 diamonds. So how many cards does the player get from this pack? One. Just one single card. That pricing is absolutely ridiculous. I can go pick up a pack of real, physical pack of Magic: The Gathering cards for about $4 and that nets me 15 cards that I can also resell later if I so choose. MTG isn’t an outlier here, either. Yu-Gi-Oh card packs offer players nine cards for roughly $3. Yet again, these are physical cards that players can resell.
Just to be 100% clear here. I am not against digital card games. Honestly, they don’t appeal to me as much as physical ones because they aren’t an investment, but I’ve still played and enjoyed them. Heck, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links got a great score from me and was incredibly friendly to its players with its microtransactions.
I do have a few other problems with Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle. One is that the online mode sucks. That’s because it isn’t an actual versus mode. Instead of it being players against player, it’s player against the AI using another player’s deck. While this does make games go quicker and it cuts the wait time for finding an opponent, it’s just not fun knowing there’s isn’t someone on the other side of the screen.
My final problem with Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle has to do with the gameplay itself. It isn’t what I would call a deep game by any means. There’s minimal input from the player as they only choose what card to put on the field each turn. Combat takes place automatically and then it just comes back around to placing another card on the field. It’s the most bare minimum strategy I can think of for a card battle game and that’s disappointing. On the flip side, it does mean that players don’t have to pay much attention to the game, which then begs the question of why are they playing in the first place?
If there is one thing that Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle does have going for it, it’s the presentation. The game features unique and memorable card art and it’s UI is solid. It’s mainly a mobile game, but I was playing the Steam version and it’s fairly easy to navigate. The audio in the game is also well done. That covers both the sound effects and music.
Overall, Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle can be mindless fun, but only for a short time before the microtransactions and paywall kill it. That’s unfortunate as the game is mechanically sound and looks great too, but it’s way too greedy to bother dealing with in its current form.
Tap Cats: Epic Card Battle earns 2 GiN Gems out of 5!