ManaRocks: Is It Worth It?
My goal is to seek out indie games that deserve recognition. We did it with Splitgate in our previous review, and we did it for *Insert*. These game’s typically have something in common. I have a game to compare them to. Usually, the game is a very popular title made by a larger developer and publisher. Their fan base is enormous before launch, but their community outreach lacks. A lot of these popular, triple-A, games are great for a while, but they end up lacking substance. The community voices their complaints, but to no avail. Granted it would be incredibly challenging to make 1 million+ people happy, but it isn’t impossible to make the vast majority happy. There was one game I took issue with over the years, and it is a game that I have known and loved, and that game is Hearthstone.
While the game is phenomenal and has a high viewership on Twitch, I feel the game is inaccessible to a more casual player. If I recall correctly per new season or expansion, I would spend $100 or more to stay relevant in the meta. My beautifully crafted decks would be useless, and I didn’t have the cards to keep up. Hearthstone wasn’t a game I played very often, so I would say I was a casual player. I tried a few budget decks like Budget Tempo Mage, but it still lacked substance. The only deck I could get away with was C’Thuun Priest.
I played a lot of card games growing up. Yu-Gi-Oh, DC, Zatch Bell, and Magic the Gathering, I even play Beast Clans right now. Each of these games required us to buy booster packs to make our decks stronger. Each game also had a set of rules and would phase individual cards out, totally fair. My issue with virtual card games is you don’t own the card outside of the game. If development were to end all your money and time would have been wasted on something you technically own. I still have my deck of Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and I can bust that out at any time. I can’t do that with virtual card games.
ManaRocks is addressing all of these concerns. Manarocks is known as a “seasonal card game” SCG. You unlock booster packs by leveling, and they even give you the number of cards you still need to unlock. Right now I think I have 115 out of 195 cards unlocked. I haven’t received a duplicate card yet, and I don’t even think that is a feature in the game. ManaRocks wants to put every person on the same playing field no pun intended. This is a game that wants to be purely free to play, and I love that. They are the solution to virtual card games being so expensive. ManaRocks is adopting the Battle Royale model of monetization by adding in a Battle Pass. With this, you can level up faster, which unlocks more cards, and you can unlock card skins and other aesthetics. While you get a slight advantage by leveling up quicker, you will still be on the same playing field by anyone else who unlocked all the cards for that season.
I looked at a lot of card games before I choose ManaRocks to play. Gameplay was the key factor. Very similar to Hearthstone, In ManaRocks you have a hero that has an ability. This could be a heal, fireball, summoning a token, and more. You also get 35 life points, and you gain 1 mana every turn. To win you need to take out your opponent's life force. Your creatures will play a massive role in winning you the battle, and they even have a unique way of being played. Unlike Hearthstone each creature has a “ready” stance. Basically, if you didn’t attack with that creature and exhaust them on your turn, your opponent would be forced to attack them during their attack phase. To put it simply each creature has taunt. I loved this aspect of the game. It made me consider if I should go right for the throat with all my creatures or save one or two to make sure I don’t take direct hits. There are also artifacts that act as battlefield cards that you can summon and use a couple of times to your advantage. My favorite was the heal, and it saved me many times.
ManaRocks also received a ton of extra points from me by having a 2v2 mode. My favorite Yu-Gi-Oh episodes were the 2v2s, and I bet you can tell why ManaRocks having a 2v2 made it my favorite card game. In the 2v2 mode, each team shares the battlefield monsters, but they don’t share life points from what I learned. Turn order is pretty standard with each team going one at a time. What got me though was that my teammate could control my monsters and I could control them. If I had exhausted/tapped my monsters on my turn, my teammate could then use them on their next turn. I was amazed by that. My only issue with the ManaRocks 2v2 is that you only have to take out one opponent to win. While it makes sense and playing a 1v2 would be no fun I think it takes away some of the challenge. I would like them to consider testing out a different way to win; I believe both opponents should have to be at 0.
We need more card games like ManaRocks. While I think they have some strict competition with Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering, I do believe they could take the world by storm. ManaRocks is still in development, and they are only in their first season at the moment. I think if they do more to reach out and get noticed by the TCG community they will be onto something huge. Adding some lore elements and a mini story could also help drive some attention. Knowing that I could jump into the game at any season and grind a few levels to get my cards is a pretty great feeling honestly. I was thankful I found ManaRocks and the team behind it seems to be really into the community aspect. They have a discord channel, and I recommend you join it. Their twitter account is @ManaRocksgame, and the game is available for download on steam. Move away from the pay to win card games, and start playing ManaRocks. As always thank you for reading and farewell traveler.