Duelyst is a multiplayer turn based battle game, released in April 2016 worldwide, as a free to play title. Developed by Counterplay Games. This team had members in who worked on the Ratchet and Clank series, and the main developer of Diablo III.
Gameplay is a really easy to understand concept. You start off with a deck of cards, drawing a new card each turn. Turn based style combat, with the use of mana points to cast various spells or summon minions to aid you in battle. The combat system is really simple, your creatures and generals have an attack stat, and a health stat. You simply do the attack stat in damage, they do theirs back in a counter-attack, and that’s it. It would have been nice to see some sort of bonus if you are attacking from the rear or flank though. Even though the game is turn based, it is still relatively fast-paced. A single battle will last between 5 and 10 minutes. This means you can find yourself 10 battles in to your session before you even realise it. The deck building aspect isn’t really very prominent unless you purchase extra cards through the microtransactions store. I found the decks you start with to be more than capable in the multiplayer mode, maybe if you want to reach the really higher ranks you may need to drop a couple of quid here and there to get extra cards though. There are hundreds of cards to keep you collecting for a long time though. The player’s General, comes in the form of one of six different classes. Each of the classes has a significant level of variety in the way you play through different abilities and deck archetypes.
Duelyst’s visual style is just gorgeous. A wonderful, colourful retro feel. The background location look remind me very much of Bastion. The sprite models are again, a really simplistic style, pixelated, but pixelated with care and passion. One of my favourite looking games to come out in 2016 so far if I am completely honest. There isn’t much to talk about in terms of character animations, as they are all pretty much 2D.
The game’s tutorial system is excellently put together, you find yourself being able to complete the tutorial in a matter of minutes and after completion, you have pretty much learnt all there is to know. It is just down to you to put your tactful mind to use and master the system. I really liked the solo challenge mode which gives you a certain target and an allotted amount of turns to do it in. This almost always turns out to be a sort of puzzle game, but it is a nice additional game mode when you want to try something different to the core game mode. That core game mode is the ranked ladder. This is the PVP mode where you take on other opponents across the world. Finding a match only takes a matter of seconds, and you can work your way up the ladder within an evening’s worth of progression. The game appears to run in seasons, meaning your rank will probably be reset at the end of the season but you will be rewarded depending on how high you finished.
Do I see myself playing Duelyst long term? Possibly. The matches in the game are going to act as a huge bonus point for the longevity of this title. The free to play model has worked wonders similar games like Hearthstone so I really don’t see how the same style of model won’t work for Duelyst. I personally don’t see me dropping any sort of money into the game though. I am more than happy with the free to play side.
The technical side of the game is sound. The game is a standalone download and comes with its own launcher which keeps the game patched and up to date. The game it self is only 53MB on your drive, so you can tell just how technically demanding it is. I actually preferred playing this game in a smaller scale windows mode but full screen is available.
Duelyst is a game which card game fans will want to be checking out. If you enjoy Hearthstone or Final Fantasy style games, then this will be right up your alley. The free to play benefit means you can easily just test it out to see if it whets your appetite some more before you plunge hours into it and maybe even some money. You can try it out for yourself here - https://duelyst.com/