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.