If you’ve ever played a little game called Culdcept Saga, or dialed even further back to the days when Magic: The Gathering first hit its stride (when you used real cards and played with people across a table in the same room! Wow!), you’ll feel a warm and familiar rush the moment you lay your eyes on Orions 2 [$2.99 / Lite]. Or maybe it’s just that you played the first Orions [99¢] back in the day, which had a fairly strong fanbase. And now here we have the sequel, with even more of the addictive card-based gameplay that made the first game a fan favorite.

In Orions 2, you take the role of a Deckmaster, navigating an overworld map between lands called Orions to traverse your way between card battles. As you conquer the Orion Lords, you’ll gain more territory, which will come in pretty handy in your quest for world … card domination.

The heart of Orions 2 is the card battling, of course. In the campaign, this is played out on a board that allows you slots for five cards to be played at a time. You’ll start your game with elemental decks such as Fire, Water and Air. Some contain monsters to summon and some contain spells, and you’ll need to learn how it all works and use it to your advantage if you hope to win some battles. Luckily, a double tap on any card will allow you to examine it closely and learn more about what it does.

On this board, placement matters. Your enemy’s cards and your cards are directly lined up with one another. The cards played represent a barrier between your hitpoints and the enemy, so as long as you have cards down, they do the work for you. Once there’s an empty slot, however, the attacks land on your total hitpoints, and once this happens, death can come fast. Each card has an attack power, a defense power, and a casting power, which you’ll need to make sure you can afford. It’s a lot like the mana system in Magic: The Gathering, in fact.

When it’s time to upgrade your deck, you can retreat to your home Orion to do so. You can also erect buildings and other structures there, which can help you to generate more money by converting sunlight into crystals. This adds a nice extra dimension to the gameplay and allows you to balance your attention between card fights and boosting your own land.

If you get tired at grinding away at the campaign, you can also use Orions 2’s Gamecenter compatibility to engage in the duel feature and fight against real opponents. There are also items to be unlocked in the campaign, which you can see in a gallery. Overall, there’s lots of gameplay to be had here, and it certainly requires more brain power than your average iOS platformer.

Fans of Puzzle Quest and Magic: The Gathering will likely find Orions 2’s gameplay pretty irresistible. The learning curve is a bit steeper than the aforementioned titles, but after a few rounds with the card battles, you’ll find yourself right at home.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/phatbhuda Eric Ma

    So what's the difference between Orions and it's sequel?  What about Orions 2 would make me want to buy it if I'd already played the first one?

    • Grx

      The multiplayer and nearly a hundred more cards than in the original.

    • deadclown

      Plus, the second game is just overall a better game. Lots of little things. I also like the card set better than in the first game.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jia-Mao/100002424131039 Jia Mao

        me too

  • http://gamerlimit.com/ themizarkshow

    Sounds interesting enough (I was really into MagicTG when I was a kid with money to spend). I'll have to check out the lite version sometime to give it a spin and see what I think. Definitely sounds worth while though.

  • Anonymous

    Congrats on your first article! I can't believe how many TCG/CCG's are tying to make their mark on the AppStore. I wonder if the WoTC will take notice and do something themselves...

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Lord-Gek-Jordan/1559737263 Tim Lord Gek Jordan

    I had high hopes for this but feel, in its current state, it was a neat idea abandoned at the steps of the AppStore not fully finished.  Once the devs and Chillingo actually support the game, I might be able to recommend it.

  • Anonymous

    Almost embarassingly I have tried hundreds of games from the app store only to play them a few times on average. But Orions and this sequel I have played hundreds of times (dual mode only). Needless to say I think it is worth considering this one if you like strategy.

  • Quorlan

    I beg to differ about the learning curve. Orions and Orions 2 have much shallower learning curves than Magic: the Gathering, by far. I think the only one's it feels like it's such a steep curve for are those who've never played any CCG or dedicated MtG players who seem to find Orion's mechanics and gameplay remarkably unintuitive, for some unknown.

  • Altrez

    It would be nice if they had an iPad version. I love Card Kombat and have been playing it a few hours a day.

  • Anonymous

    You guys are really on a card-games-reviewing streak aren't you? No complaints here :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/jeffmd JeffD D

    I was looking for the ccg app that would get me interested in the game, and orion2 did nothing but confuse the heck out of me, mainly its pre-game stratagy system of building crap.

    I found shadow era to be much funner, although it cost alot of money to beable to obtain all the decks and such. 

  • Dsf

    thanks for the review

  • Aaa

    so i got this game and got my ass handed to me by the ai, the tutorial is kind of crap imo.

  • http://twitter.com/talesfromhoth Matt Rotchford

    Need an iPad version please.

  • Blueknight1st

    I can only place one card at a time? As long as I still have mana I should be able to place as many card as I want as long as I have open slots.  Delete.

  • http://twitter.com/pocketpcandgeek Masa

    I play Orion's games since the first beta on Winmo and i always loved it. Now, with this new version, news cards and battle online mode, i love it again!

  • lookmark

    Not a big fan of Orions campaign but the game balance and overall design for duels is just great, and the new cards + multiplayer options is well worth worth the price.  Get it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QCP4WHWLUQHFIOP66SLEA7E5CA Hampus

    I basically have one single comment on this game, why is it only for iPhone/iPod?
    This game really deserves the iPads screen and should be iPad only if there are to be any exclusivity...

  • chengkun he
Orions 2 Reviewed by Colette Bennett on . Rating: 4