iOS, Android •
When December finally rolls around, I think it’s safe to say that Tinytouchtales will have two contenders for Game of the Year. Back in March they released Card Thief, a complex stealth-based card game about looting castles and avoiding the guards tasked with protecting said loot. Next week they’re releasing GOTY contender #2, Miracle Merchant, a card game whose complexity is more akin to their previous GOTY winner, Card Crawl.
Miracle Merchant is a rather simple card game that Tinytouchtales have somehow turned into a clever high-score chaser. You play as an alchemist trying to make your customers happy by brewing them potions made from cards of four different suits, or ingredients. The customers will have a suit that must appear in the potion, and another minor ingredient that they’ll pay handsomely for. Each card also has icons on it, upping the value of other cards in the stew. Your goal is to make everyone happy and, in the process, make yourself rich.
Of course, there are a few problems. First of all, each potion can only consist of four cards, so wrangling the most cash out of each one will take a bit of clever mixing. Also, each suit is limited so, you might want to add a bunch of red to a potion because it’s the customer’s favorite minor ingredient and they’ll pay you double, but what if that next customer needs red in their potion and you’re now out? Lastly, each suit has its share of spoiled ingredients, which will decrease the price of the potion and, possibly, prevent you from adding a necessary ingredient.
If you ever manage to make a potion without a customer’s required ingredient, or if the price of the potion is less than one gold piece, you’re fired and the game ends. Thus, you must find a way to conserve cards to ensure you can meet your customers’ needs and use your brain to mix and match colors to make the most money.
Unlike Card Crawl and Card Thief, the art in Miracle Merchant wasn’t created by Mexer, but is the work of Thomas Wellmann. Gone are the dark, serious tones, replaced with colorful and cartoon-like caricatures. I love the art in Tinytouchtales’ previous titles, and was slow in warming up to this new artwork, but it definitely works well for the theme, and offers a lighter, sillier experience. If you’re a fan of Card Crawl, keep an eye out and you might see a character or two from that title reappear as well.
The only thing Miracle Merchant is lacking from its predecessors is a reason to keep making potions. Both Card Thief and Card Crawl had reasons to play on, be it unlocking new castles or unlocking new cards, respectively. Miracle Merchant has none of that, but instead is offering up a high score chase where you can compare your results with people around the world. There is also a daily quest where everyone is given the same decks and can compare how they did. While some “special” content would be nice, Miracle Merchant holds up nicely as a quick, standalone game that you can play when you have a minute or three to kill.
Miracle Merchant will be available for iOS and Android on August 3rd and will run $2. We’ll try to get our “official” review up when it launches, but I’ve been playing the beta and can tell you now that it’s worth picking up when it goes live.