Universal Star Realms (By White Wizard Games)

Discussion in 'iPhone and iPad Games' started by Talbs, Aug 14, 2014.

  1. Talbs

    Talbs Well-Known Member

    May 1, 2011
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  2. Talbs

    Talbs Well-Known Member

    May 1, 2011
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    Lol. Waiting for the ascension crowd to click this thread and realise what this actually is. It's epic. That's what it is.
    Ps didn't know how to post a proper thread so mods feel free to edit.
     
  3. strivemind

    strivemind Well-Known Member

    #3 strivemind, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Oh heck yes. This has been rejected too many times. Glad to see it finally hit the app store.

    And as an Ascension addict... soooo exciting. I've heard this described as Ascension but with direct conflict between players.

    btw $4.99 Full Version unlock.
     
  4. wfsm

    wfsm Member

    Feb 22, 2013
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    Apple finally approved this? And just a AU soft launch?
     
  5. ste86uk

    ste86uk Well-Known Member

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    Seen people waiting for this for weeks always posting no star realms? No idea what it is but as I went to view and download in the store it seems really familiar. Maybe I was keeping track of this a while back.
     
  6. Makaze

    Makaze Active Member

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  7. Ayjona

    Ayjona Well-Known Member

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    #7 Ayjona, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    I'm afraid playing Star Realms via the iOS app might not be advisable at the moment.

    First of all, and less importantly, the game is currently badly broken on some devices. Registration is unavailable, login in will NOT unlock all the purchased features of the PC/Mac/Android versions (we can play online, but not access the campaign, local pass and play, harder difficulties, etc), and worst of all: cards cannot be scrapped from the discard pile on many devices. Since the latter is an essential gameplay feature, the game currently cannot be played at all on affected smartphones.

    What might be even worse in the long run, while the gameplay really is compelling (the word actually doesn't even begin to cover the tactical depth and strategic fun), the app simply is not made for touch devices. There is no touch scrolling, but pressing of arrows instead. There is lots of wasted screen real estate, but cards are still so small that their information can not be read (not just the text, which we are used to from Ascension, Nightfall and various iOS CCGs, but the trade and combat digits as well).

    With the ONE exception of tap and hold instead of right-click to bring up card info, the smartphone version is a DIRECT port of the desktop client. With all the baggage and un-touch-friendly principles this brings.

    Trite though the advice might be at this point, White Wizard Games should look to Ascension for iOS for the best example of how to do a deck builder for iOS (given Star Realms lineage, the comparison is especially suitable, and might serve as a starting point for an overhaul of the UI, even though I still find Ascension's engine woefully underdeveloped in many ways), and to Carcassonne for iOS for the best possible example of how to port a board game to mobile, and for multiplayer and async principles.

    (Strangely, the desktop client itself is very, very far from perfect, as detailed (among other places) in this Facebook post of mine. Pocket Tactics perfection sentiment surprised me greatly, since the client even lacks what standardized and possibly essential features.)

    The game remains the best deck builder ever conceived, to my mind, but the digital translation is, well, lost in translation. The iOS and Android clients cover the spectrum from clumsy and annoying to unplayable, and the desktop client has AUs and light years to go before I could consider it convenient and smooth and user-friendly.

    The bugs I can bear :) It is the complete lack of iOS design principles, as detailed in the other paragraphs of my post, that unfortunately detracts greatly from the experience. Combined with all the shortcomings of the desktop client (as detailed in my link above), the overall experience becomes clumsy, limited and especially nonconductive to the quick, easily accessible online play the async paradigm usually offers.

    With the incredible base the physical product offers, it would be a great shame if the digital iteration could not be optimized to provide a similarly stunning experience. Star Realms really could replace Ascension (with lots of work), and that is probably one of the current pinnacles of digital card game achievements.

    Diatribe satisfied and internet rage hardon well erected, I now return to Star Realms. Yep, the game itself and it's mechanics really are so good that I’ll keep playing regardless. If White Wizard Games perform a full UI overhaul, and adapt the client to the mobile paradigm, we really will be looking at a new standard in digital deck builders and card games.
     
  8. Talbs

    Talbs Well-Known Member

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    Playing it right now on iphone 5 and I have no problem scrapping cards.
    Though I have to say, my eyes are begging me to close this app down. Writing is just too small. Forget about reading any flavour text.
    It is exactly a copy paste of the desktop version. No screen optimisation really. Some menus even pop up in front of the cards you need to select.
    It's not exactly game breaking though. Just too small, and awkward interfaces.
    Man a 5.5" iphone 6 (rumours) would make this just about bearable visually.
     
  9. Pitta

    Pitta Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2008
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    I don't have any of those problems either (iPhone 4S and iPad Air).
    The app surely shows its PC and multiplatform heritage, but it's ok (the most offending thing is so much space is wasted).
    It took a bit to get used to the two fingers tap zoom and tapping buttons instead of single clicks and swipe...but after a while you won't even notice.
    That said, it could be better of course and for sure it would have been a much better app ff made exclusively for iOS...but they were aiming for cross platform and multi devices from the beginning...so I doubt things will change.

    The game is really good tough.
     
  10. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2013
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    Eh, no. It's just Ascension with spaceship pictures. Which I actually think are much worse than the Ascension artwork, which was pretty weird, but at least unique and memorable. This is just "Oh, look, a generic spaceship! And there, a generic space station! Oh wow, and another generic spaceship!" Ugh, they could have used the same artwork for every card and I wouldn't have noticed really.

    Gameplay-wise not much has been changed. Instead of detracting points from a shared victory points pool, you now detract from your opponent's "life points". I wonder who will be fooled by this to believe that there actually was player-interaction? Because it's just the same old deck-building solitaire thing. Again, just as Ascension. It's maybe even less interesting, though, because in Ascension you at least sort of had to figure out which cards mechanically work well together, build combos etc. In Star Realms though, even this little bit of thinking was taken away from you. There are green, yellow, blue and red cards. Guess what? The greens directly (and only) combo with the greens, the yellows with other yellows, blues with blues and reds with reds. Oh my god, the strategy!! Yes, it's that bad.

    I wanted this to be able to replace Hearthstone as the go-to semi-casual online card game. But not by any stretch. This is one of the worst deck-builders I've ever played. Ascension was already pretty terrible and luck-driven, and I think only saved by the incredibly well-working Playdek iOS app. This is just worse in pretty much every way.
     
  11. SirFobos

    SirFobos Well-Known Member

    Aug 10, 2012
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    #11 SirFobos, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Finally. Playing on a 5C no issues scrapping cards properly. Plays exactly like the pc/android versions. Of course the text is a little too straining on phones but if you've played the game as much as I have you've got the current card pool memorized. Though I can see this easily causing headaches. Haven't tried the full unlock however, I've waited and not purchased it on the other two platforms for this exact reason. I figured with all the rejections and work needed for their login system that it would be super buggy on apple. We will see, some updates and this can be amazing. Currently beats ascension for me.
     
  12. Ayjona

    Ayjona Well-Known Member

    Sep 8, 2009
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    #12 Ayjona, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Star Realms (in spite of the terrible quality of the digital clients) is a very big step from Ascension with spaceship pictures (it was designed as an evolution of the Ascension formula, by an Ascension designer), anything but lacking in player interaction, and anything but simplistic. Even the perceived mandatory faction synergies reveal themselves to be a complex layer (to be ignored, used in the simple manner which you point out, or comboed in strange ways for truly spectacular results) once you have a few hundred games in your metaphorical log (for yeah, this is not an easily mastered game, contrary to appearances and the strong streak of accessibility).

    As for luck, both Ascension and Star Realms feature more randomized elements than I am comfortable with. But the mechanical reliance on luck is quickly dimished by the weight of strategic decisions. But don't take my word for it. Check tournaments and ladders and leagues, and see that there is a persistent consistency in player skill and results. Had either game been luck-driven, any such results would necessarily have been distributed evenly over a greater spectrum of time.

    As it is, we have enough data on Ascension to constitute statistical relevancy for the weight of skill over luck (even the fact that I consistently defeat my best pal more than 9 times out of 10, over hundreds of games, and am consistently trounced by particular opponents online, on a regular basis, is a strong indication) and early results from organized Star Realms play indicates an even stronger current of skill (partially probably due to the game's reliance on more generic, categorical and easily balanced effects and card texts, as opposed to Ascension's huge variety of card effects).

    And don't take my word for the quality of the physical product. Check out reviews for the physical version. It has received the most glowing reviews of any deckbuilder I am familiar with, almost of any board game, and has quickly become a cult classic for its marriage of accessibility, short match times, AND careful, balanced design and depth of strategy. Some laud it as the best deckbuilder in the world.

    EDIT: Anyone hoping to replace Hearthstone with Star Realms (other than as a favourite game or primary gaming focus regardless of genre), however, is probably bound to be inescapably disappointed, the quality of the digital clients notwithstanding. Cards, life points, attacks and all other superficial similarities aside, the underlying mechanical differences between CCGs and deckbuilders are significant (and actually intentionally designed), and I doubt the two games will scratch a similar gaming itch other than "a digital game with cards in it".
     
  13. ojtitus

    ojtitus Well-Known Member

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    Glad it's finally here after so many rejections.:D
     
  14. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    Feb 19, 2009
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    So is the fact that it doesn't recognize that I'd already unlocked the full game via the PC a bug or, unlike what was initially promised/planned, will this have to be a separate purchase on the iOS?
     
  15. SirFobos

    SirFobos Well-Known Member

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    My guess is that it is a "bug" currently but I won't be surprised in the least if it turns into just being a seperate purchase on apple without cross platform multiplayer... Still holding on to hope though.
     
  16. LordGek

    LordGek Moderator
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    Thankfully, there is a work around! (thanks to a kind soul over at Pocket Tactics)

    If you click on your profile name in the lower left (so not sure if this will only work if in the online mode), and confirm, yes, you really are the rightful owner of the device, the "Restore" button there works!
     
  17. Ayjona

    Ayjona Well-Known Member

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    #17 Ayjona, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
    Buggedi-bugged. Resolved for most by going into the player profile in Online Play and pressing Restore Purchases (NOT the other Restore button).
     
  18. abstractgamefreak

    abstractgamefreak Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting this, Tim. Looking forward to challenge you, once I've played a bit more of campaign and bots ;-)
     
  19. venasque

    venasque Well-Known Member

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    I've only played a little bit but been having fun thus far. I admit something built from the ground up for iOS would be nice but doesn't seem to be unplayable or anything like that.
     
  20. Tinsel

    Tinsel Well-Known Member

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    I love deck-builders (and Ascension in particular) and ccgs both, so I was excited when this finally hit iOS.

    I'm a little disappointed in the client (as others have stated above), but I'm also not terribly thrilled with the cards themselves either. I don't care about the artwork too much (though I like Ascension over this, just my opinion). There can be some clever interactions, I can see that just from looking at the card gallery, but really all we're working with here are adding and subtracting two resources, drawing cards, scrapping cards, and two or three "special" effects.

    It's not fair to compare this to Ascension directly as that game has had MUCH more time to release expansions, change the rules up, and print dozens (hundreds?) of crazy cards. But even just directly comparing the original Ascension release to SR as it is right now, Ascension had a lot more clever and "rule-breaking" cards than SR does now.

    With regards to the rules, clicking on the rulebook button should preferably show the rules in-app, rather than kicking us out to your web page. Worse still, the page it throws us to just gives the "basic rules". To get the actual rules, we have to view what I assume to be scans of the printed rules that come with the physical game (and the scans aren't great quality at that). It's not a big deal, but it is a bit sloppy and hopefully is one of the first things you can change.

    If this sounds like all I'm doing is bashing the game, I'd like to end the post by saying that I do enjoy it overall. I have purchased it and would like to continue supporting it in the future.

    I just hope that the first expansion really gets crazy and each card should be more rule-bending and game-breaking than the last!
     

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