iOS, Android •
At some point, Tinytouchtales will release a dud but, to quote Aragorn, it is not this day. Over the past few days, while neglecting my Stately duties, I’ve been playing the beta of their upcoming alchemical card game, Miracle Merchant. It’s pretty freaking great.
Miracle Merchant puts you in the shoes of an alchemist brewing potions for eager customers, trying to earn as much money as you possibly can. It’s a simple game, on the level of Card Crawl, but like that title, has a lot of depth hiding under its playful exterior.
You begin the game with four decks of cards, each deck a different color/suit. Patrons will come to your shop seeking potions requiring one of the four ingredients, with another ingredient being appreciated but not essential. Sounds easy, but they’ve added icons to each of the cards which affect other cards you play in each potion. For example, a card can have another color to the left or right (or both) meaning that if you play that card in the slot adjacent, its value will increase. Get the right combination of icons with what the customer is demanding and your potion price will shoot through the roof.
Sounds pretty easy, but they’ve added a twist. Within each deck are three ingredients that have spoiled, and will subtract from your potion’s total. There are ways to mitigate the damage, but the decks are random and help never seems to show up when you need it. So, you lose a bit of money, big deal, right? Well it is, because if you fail to create a potion that’s worth at least one coin or fail to include the patron’s essential ingredient, it’s game over.
The game creates a nice balance of shooting for high scores while realizing that if you include cards of different colors, you might run out of a color needed for a patron coming later. Do you risk it, and go for the big bucks? This push-your-luck gameplay is right out of Card Crawl’s gamebook, with the search for more and more loot driving the game forward. There are also “quests” you can finish and some of them seem downright impossible which only makes you want to keep trying to complete them all the harder.
Currently, there are no “specials” in the game. Nothing like Card Crawl’s or Card Thief‘s items. I’m not sure if they’re thinking of adding something to spend all that gold on, but right now I don’t care. It’s a fun time waster that’s pushed Onirim off to the side. Damn, 2017 has been a good year.
I’m not sure when Miracle Merchant is set to land on mobile, but we’ll keep an eye out. It’s definitely one you’ll want to nab when it goes live.