iOS Universal, Android •
We’re not huge fans of hyperbole here at Stately Play–the best damned site in this or any other universe–but when a game like Meteorfall shows up, it seems appropriate. Meteorfall is good. Dare I say, super-duper good. So good, in fact, that I’m sticking it in the running for Game of the Year and it’s not even the end of January yet. Why am I telling you this? Because it’s a review, dummy. [Dave fell on the ice, hitting his head on the concrete yesterday and has been calling everyone–even his wife and kids–“dummy” ever since. We’re hoping the concussion symptoms go away soon but, until then, please take no offense. -ed.]
Meteorfall is a deck-building roguelike which seems to be a thing lately. Much of my time lately has been spent playing Slay the Spire on my laptop–another game mixing these two genres–but it’s been replaced by Meteorfall on my phone.
Meteorfall has you pick between the four archetypical fantasy RPG classes and go on a romp until you either beat the Big Bad or die trying. Your class determines your starting hand of cards, and you’ll pick different locations to explore, each with its own boss waiting at the end. Each location has its own deck full of monsters and monsters and monsters. You might even fight a monster or two. It’s not all fighting however, you’ll also fight monsters. [Did we mention that Dave has a head wound? -ed.]
Seriously, it’s not all fighting, but combat is the gooey nougat center of Meteorfall and, luckily, it’s real tasty. Playing each card from your deck costs both Time and Stamina. Time replenishes each turn, but Stamina needs to be replenished via discarding. Thus, when a monster appears, you draw a card and then swipe it left or right, Reigns-style. Right means you’ll use that card’s ability (costing both Time and the Stamina cost). Left means you’ll simply discard the card without using its effect, gaining some Stamina (you’ll still spend Time, however). This back-and-forth of either using cards for some effect or discarding them to build Stamina with the hopes that some of your bigger hitters come out is the meat of the game. There’s nothing worse than using up your Stamina by playing a weak-ass attack card only to have that sweet new card you just bought pop up next with no Stamina left to execute it. Once you’re out of Time, the monster gets to throw down cards and try to bash your skull in. I don’t recommend this.
Killing critters earns you coins used to upgrade cards at the Blacksmith or cull cards at the Temple. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across Shops which allow the buying and adding of cards to your ever-growing deck. You can also stumble onto Treasure which will offer you a chest with new cards free for the taking. You might even come across random events during your journey, adding a bit of “where the hell did that come from” to your card collecting. As time passes you’ll craft your deck into a finely honed weapon or, if you’re me, into a bloated mess of ineptitude.
Each location has a certain number of encounters you must face on the way to that area’s boss, with each fight offering you the ability to flee or stay and fight. Fleeing will allow you to rest and get some HP back at the cost of forgoing whatever coin the baddie was holding. Whether you fight or flee, however, you still move one step closer to the boss. Flee too often and you’ll not have had enough time or money to upgrade your deck and the boss will do with you as they please. Win some duels and you’ll earn gems to buy cards you can permanently add to your starting deck for future runs.
While the gameplay of Meteorfall is rich and addictive, that’s not all there is to love. The game has a comic art style similar to last year’s Miracle Merchant. It’s not the same artist, with Meteorfall being drawn by Evgeny Viitman instead of Miracle Merchant’s Thomas Wellmann, but both have a colorful, playful style that draws you in and immediately indicates that you’re here to have fun and chew bubblegum and, you guessed it, we’re all out of bubblegum.
Meteorfall is one of those perfect mobile titles that begs you to play it for a few seconds while waiting in line at the market, or for hours while planted on your couch. The roguelike nature with a clearly defined end (killing The Lich, a creature I have yet to come close to even finding) give it that, “I’ll just try one more time” feel that most games don’t manage to pull off. If the year ended tomorrow, Meteorfall would take top honors. Of course, we have a lot of year to go before we start voting, but it’s going to take something special to knock Meteorfall from its perch.