As soon as people hear the phrase "card game" you'll have a massive amount of people running for the hills, which is a shame. As a big fan of deck-builders like Dominion, as well as battle games like Hearthstone, card games can be extremely entertaining if done right, and are often timeless, especially on an intuitive touch interface.

Yomi [$9.99] is a card game that has existed in physical form for some time, and now you can grab it on the iPad for $9.99 without having to juggle multiple decks and learn by way of good old fashioned paper instructions. Without pulling any punches, Yomi plays like a mixture of a fighting game and a card battler, showing the action on-screen by way of simplistic avatars that play out each choice you make.

Yomi 3

At a base level, Yomi is rock paper scissors in a one-on-one fashion, albeit a lot more complicated than the playground game. You'll play one of the following types of cards every round -- block, throw, attack, dodge. Dodges and blocks beat attacks, attacks beat throws, and throws beat blocks or dodges. Once you grasp that concept you can start to understand the more complicated facets of the game, like attack values, openers, linkers, and enders.

Just like many fighting games, combos are the key to victory in a lot of cases. Depending on the card, you'll want to start off the combo with an opener, throw in at least a link or two, then finish them off with an ender, like an uppercut. Since each deck is astoundingly different, all attacks have their own damage value that you'll need to assess, and it's important to not waste high value cards if you think the enemy is going to block or dodge.

Although there's a rock paper scissors-like system, playing cards actually feels quite strategic, as you're not just throwing things down for the sake of it. Some cards have attacks built into a dodge, so the system isn't entirely black or white, which gives it more of a true fighting game feel. You can read the rules for free online, the iPad version teaches you with a more in-depth tutorial that spans multiple stages. Learning on your own can be a perfectly viable option, but there's something about a tactile tutorial interface that really speeds up the process.

Yomi 1

As part of the base game, you get 10 decks (characters) in all. Not only do they have different styles in the form of the decks themselves, but the characters also have latent special abilities -- like the power to send cards back into your hand at the end of a turn, for instance.

From what I've played of all the decks, developer Sirlin Games has done a great job of making sure everything's balanced, and just playing from the base game is plenty competitive. My only real complaint about the decks themselves is that although the cards have beautiful art depicted on them, the actual character models leave a lot to be desired with limited movement animations.

So what is there to do? Well there's an Easy or Hard mode against the AI, a survival mode, and an online quickmatch option. Honestly I would have mostly been okay with just multiplayer, but the AI is fairly tough in that it knows how to use basic combos, which can punish you dearly if you don't pay attention. A spectator mode is icing on the cake for new players who want to really learn how to master Yomi. It helps that you can play against others who are gaming on PC, so the community won't die off even if lots of iPad users don't adopt the game.

Yomi 3

Rather than constantly guilt you into buying premium currency or some other IAP scheme, you can simply buy more decks/characters if you want for another $9.99. Although $20 for the total app may seem pricey, it's worth the investment if you're going to be playing. Yomi has a solid foundation to it, and any card game fanatic should dive in and give it a try.

TouchArcade Rating

  • defunct32

    Looks good but iPad only... *sigh*.

    • DoctorFedora

      Devs say an iPhone version is on its way sooner than later!

  • worldcitizen1919

    Bought this a while ago and found it unique. Glad to see a good review about it. Its a top class game and I love the cards.

    • genevajjones

      My Uncle
      Joshua just got an almost new white Kia Rio Hatchback only from working
      part-time off a home computer. try this C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Eseres

    Reminds me of Urban Rivals, and I quite liked that one 🙂 Great game to play while sitting on the can LOL! Will I get this one? Nah, most likely not. Why? Because I only play on my phone while on the can, and this one is for iPad only 😛

    • kjmathew

      When this game was released, the developer said in the game's forum an iPhone version was in the cards. Idk if that is still the case (I hope so), but given that I've seen recent updates it's fair to say the developer is still tinkering away.

      • Eseres

        Well then 🙂 It seems like I might play this one in "the tiny office" some day after all then 😀 Skylanders Sky Patrol is starting to get boring 😛 Im not ready to start paper crafting birds out of toiletpaper yet LOL!

      • David Sirlin

        The iPhone version is still in the works. It's pretty far along, sorry for the delay.

        After that we are planning to implement the "overpowered, just for fun" EX cards. You can see what those are for all 20 characters in the update posts for the kickstarter of the tabletop version of Yomi:
        (Note that as I type this, the kickstarter is currently live and in its last week.)

      • DemoEvolved

        Curious about this game since I saw the box for in in my flgs. But not 10$ curious

      • bilboad

        If you're on the fence about buying this and want to try the game, you can play the web version for free on a Mac or PC, using a random character. You can play through the tutorial, play against the AI, or against other people. Go to fantasystrike dot com, sign up for a free account, and hit Play

      • DemoEvolved

        Thanks! I will do that

  • milkchan

    Saw Ultradavid talk about this game a little at EVO, it looks really fun actually I'll probably check out that PC version

  • OutSpoken

    Sigh... Just give us a proper arcade fighting game already..

    • DoctorFedora

      Exactly! Those grow on trees, right?

Yomi Reviewed by Chris Carter on . Rating: 4