The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Magic 2015 for iPad

Just like all of the games in the Duels of the Planeswalkers series before it, Magic 2015 [Free (HD)] on the iPad is an awesome way to play Magic the Gathering. What started as an Xbox Live Arcade game released in 2009 has since turned in to a yearly iteration, with incremental improvements to be had and new cards to unlock with each installment. Magic 2015 is no different, and really, our review of Magic 2013 two years ago basically still stands, as Magic 2015 is similar enough that everything I wrote way back then still applies.

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Magic 2015 is the perfect introduction to the card game for anyone who has found themselves curious about Magic. It's a complicated game, and there's not as much of a learning curve as much as there's a learning cliff- Particularly when it comes to knowing the rules well enough to attend an actual real-world Magic event and knowing both what to do and what to expect. Beating Magic 2015, like all the games before it, will teach you everything you need to know to go pick up an event deck and find a Friday Night Magic to go to.

Anyway, Magic 2015 comes with a bit more IAP this time around compared to previous years. It's still free to try, and $9.99 to unlock the single player campaign, but you can pay a little more if you want to unlock everything. $34.99 will get you the whole enchilada, and there's other IAP options going down to $1.99 "premium" card packs which can get you bonus cards you can't otherwise unlock while playing. Don't worry though, all of this aside from the same $9.99 unlock is totally unnecessary and you can basically pretend it doesn't exist if additional optional IAP items irk you.

The big new feature this year is the ability to finally fully customize your decks from scratch, which is a massive welcome from previous installments where you were limited to adding cards you unlocked various themed decks. A deck builder will even intelligently fill in the blanks for you if you just decide you really like a couple creatures and spells.

All the criticisms from previous years are still in there, which likely will only impact veteran Magic players. The card pool is still rather small compared to playing Magic proper, and you won't have access to the entirety of it unless you dip in to the IAP. With that being said, if those things are a concern to you, you're probably better off getting the full Magic experience on Magic Online... But, at the same time, Magic 2015 was never designed with the scope or intention to replace Magic Online, so, there's that.

Additionally, if you've got any questions about what went in to the design of Magic 2015, lead designer Nik Davidson did a fascinating AMA on Reddit yesterday which is worth checking out. Oh, and if all this Magic chat has got you excited to the point of going out and buying some physical cards, M15, which is the set of cards inside of Magic 2015 is having pre-release events all weekend. Use the Friday Night Magic finder to locate a shop near you. Most shops run sealed events where you pay in the neighborhood of $30 to get six M15 booster packs, then you play in a swiss tournament bracket with a deck you make out of those cards. Depending on how big the Magic scene is near you, there might be more going on, but I'd call ahead to make sure there's room and/or they're not doing some kind of event pre-sign up thing. Amusingly enough, the $30 sealed pre-release event sure makes the IAP in this game feel cheap in comparison.

Oh, and I realize this week's pick is an iPad-only game. If you're an iPhone or iPod touch owner, check out the new Minecraft update. It'll soak up your weekend just as much as Magic 2015 will.

  • Bruciato

    I found it a bit slow, I don't really like the interface and yes the game is just the same as years ago, with good and bad things.. It can't have 5 stars imo, 4 is a fair amount.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I told the lead designer when I met him at E3 that the thing I want the most in future versions is a button that just totally passes priority for the rest of the turn. Essentially, a "Land, go" button. I think that'd help immensely, particularly in the early game where you're doing nothing but waiting for all the turn phase timers to tick down.

      • http://www.zucchinipeoplegames.com/ Nicholas Yu

        That would be a stellar addition!

  • hourglass

    I've played a lot of people who tried to play the physical game after trying the video game. Most of them thought they were pretty good until I destroyed them.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I know the exact kind of Magic player you are.

      • hourglass

        Yes, the good type. The type that started before a videogame made it popular.

      • Dr. Woodenstein

        Did you really just say "before a videogame made it popular?" Magic started in 1993. It wouldn't have lasted this long if it only just got popular in the past couple of years. Also please don't brag about how good you are, what's the point? If you want to brag go find a card shop that runs legacy games. If you can keep up, brag to them, not us.

      • Reignmaker

        Beating noobs is nothing to beat your chest about. Actually it just makes you look like a chump.

    • armilla

      And how long have you been playing compared to them? Wouldn't be that proud if I were you.

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  • Phoenix24

    Another awesome GOTW, and seems to be by far the best iOS version of the game so far.

    IAP seems to be skewing opinion, however the entry price is the same as before and the fun of the game as I see it is achieving the cards, not buying them (apparently unnecessary premium boosters aside). Performance has been perfect so far on iPad mini iOS 6x.

    If you like strategy / card games and have an iPad, definitely check this one out.

  • worldcitizen1919

    I really, really am stoked with this year's version. I always has difficulty getting into this but not this year. And I'm super glad it got Game of the Week. Thanks for a terrific forum Eli where I can ask questions and get a good idea about games.

  • mkdms14

    You guys didn't even review this game. Although I think this is the best version of the game to date mostly for the reason you can now customize your deck anyway you like unlike before where you were restricted to adding a handful of predetermine cards to an existing deck.

  • speedyph

    HEARTHSTONE TAKES A

    • CooleTeeps

      That is so not true

    • dancj

      Hearthstone is a pale imitation.

    • Reignmaker

      When it comes to overall presentation, I tend to agree. I don't enjoy how the cards in Magic 2015 look kind of grainy and pixely. I mean, it appears to support retina but I guess not all retina support is created equal. Also don't like the board setup where you're forced to double-tap on all of your opponents cards just to see what it is.

  • CooleTeeps

    This is definitely well deserved. Btw, can anyone answer my question about the IAPs? Does Theros and multiplayer mode come included in the $9.99 IAP? Or do you have to buy Theros and multiplayer separately in the $2.99 IAP?

    • Gabriel.Voyager

      Theros and multi and full deck building are included in the 9.99

  • vectorarchitekt

    Why aren't more people playing Pixel Burger? :)

  • shcgzb

    Compare to hearthstone which I played since launch(almost 1 year), magic definitely is more complex. More strategy, more possible future outcomes, more things to concern and keep eyes on, and more planning as well. It almost feel like chess in some situation, where hearthstone is like trouble board game.

    I paid my first $10 for the game because of full deck construction. I personally find it is much enjoyable than hearthstone. They are not even on the same level.

    • andrew9oh7

      Well yea it's more complex it's been out for much much longer.....

      • Onikage725

        True. If Hearthstone hangs on, it'll evolve. I remember how simplistic Yu-Gi-Oh was back at launch. It's grown almost too big for its own good haha, but def has a lot more strategy than it once did. The same is true of any game (even comparing Magic now to the old 4th edition days when I started).

  • MasonHurst

    Its been far more complex from the very start. I can't believe I was playing in back in its early days... That must have been around '96 or '97. Haven't played it in ten years.

    A load of card games hit the scene right after hoping to capitalize on the Magic craze but really none survived. So at least Magic proved its staying power ;-)

  • life2ifeless

    I would say Hearthstone is the gateway drug to Magic.
    I love both. But Magic is the mother of them all.

  • TripMX

    Where the hell is Magic 2013?! Has it truly been pulled from the AppStore!?

    • h1ryu

      It sure looks that way, they didn't support it anyway. It stopped working for me when iOS 7 came around and was never patched.

      Also Magic 2014 had just about the poorest support I've ever seen on the App Store, it took weeks / months for game breaking bugs to be addressed and smaller yet still significant bugs were never addressed.

      Good games, terrible support. When a big company cares less about it's products than indy devs and small companies then there's something wrong...

      • dancj

        I thought that was the norm.

  • Jake7905

    Magic: the card game of choice for high school virgins.

    • dancj

      "High school virgins" the insult of choice for "high school virgins".

    • Drew Stogsdill

      Takes one to know one.

      • Jake7905

        Sounds like I hit a nerve with you guys. The truth hurts.

      • thundermole

        It certainly looks like you've put forth effort making fun... I hope you get everything you've ever wanted.

  • Bewi

    Magic 2015 is a great game but I think Siralim deserves the GOTW trophy a lot more.

  • g0omba

    I wish they would make this iphone compatible. Such a good series but I'll stick with last years version.

  • Reignmaker

    So does this have cross-platform support? Meaning if I spend $30+ to unlock everything on iPad, will I be able to play it on Steam as well?

  • Hypocrypha

    3 years and still no iPhone version as promised.

  • echo_pdx

    This game is pretty crappy, honestly.

    Cards earned through grinding are distributed in random packs with a rarity distribution just like real Magic booster packs (you get one per win), and you can even get more copies than you could possibly use for a card. There's no way to exchange duplicate singles for the cards you need in a set, either. Good luck ever getting the four copies of a rare you need to be competitive without shelling out for the high-end iap.

    And buying the full unlock doesn't actually get you everything, there is still a good chunk of cards locked up in the premium boosters at $2 a pack. With no singles market or trading capacity, the iap in this game is outrageous. It might actually be more expensive to build a competitive deck in DotP 2015 than it is in Magic Online. Think about that for a second.

    On top of that the game has some awful bugs, in particular mana selection. There is a planeswalker in Theros who can turn your lands into islands. The game will not use these for colorless mana selection until all of your other lands are used, making it a lot harder to get your off-blue cards on the board and basically breaking the card that planeswalker is using. This can happen to you even if you turn on manual mana selection.

    Terrible choice for GotW, sorry guys. I've been playing DotP every year but they've gone off the reservation with this entry.

  • lmqack

    Guys I need some help on my magic 2015, I unlocked all the chapter but I can't use autocomplete on my deck building... I completed 4 chapter already... Can someone help and guide me on how to enable my auto complete for deck building... Many thanks in advance

  • vid_icarus

    One thing I am surprised that no one is talking about is how much this game crashes. I really like this edition to the Planeswalker series, but it crashes a ton! I have played it on my iPad 2 AND my iPad mini, and both crash with regular frequency.

    On an unrelated note, I think the IAP price model in this game is actually pretty perfect. It's basically a free demo. $3 to unlock multiplayer, or $10 to unlock the full extent of single player content, or $40 to unlock all the content in the entire game and some bonus stuff. It really is up to the player to decide how much they want to invest based on how much they like it. It doesn't feel like a cash grab at all, to me. You can earn a TON of awesome cards just playing through the $10 single player stuff and have equal footing with online opponents. I prefer this much more than Hearthstone's pure blind buy model.

    People who complain about IAP models like this seem to think they are entitled to an entirely free experience, and don't really realize that it actually does require a decent amount of money to make a game like this.

  • GreyJedi

    I did the 35 dollar full enchilada....but multiplayer doesnt seem to work, and as far as I can see, no support or way to write a ticket. Kinda bummed.

    That said the single player campaign was fun, but I beat it in 2 days, so hopefully they add more eventually.

    • vid_icarus

      Did you do all the "explore node" battles for each area? They don't really make these conspicuous, which seems like an oversight.

      • GreyJedi

        Oooooh. Ok cool, thank you. Yeah they need to make that requirement clearer lol

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