Minion Master might be weirdly familiar to those who have played a card game before and have at least some interest in the idea of mixing its core concepts with tactical battles, but the game has enough style and variety when it comes to units and spells to keep players engaged for quite a lot of hours.
The game is a nice weave of interesting choices and cool units and while it takes a little time to learn all the mechanics and the ideas that power it, it is then rewarding as long as the player understands and accepts its limitations.
Minion Master is a combination of straight up card game mechanics and an action phase, with the player asked to manage just one resource (mana), which can be used to affect the action both directly and indirectly.
The main decisions are linked to cards: there are five of them available at each stage and mana cost needs to be discarded in order to bring into play new units, to add new effects on those already in play and even to force a certain type of tactic on those already present in the field.
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|Battle field ||Card selection |
The presence of a timer in the upper hand corner means that the decision making is always done under pressure and that plays havoc with my mental process, which certainly introduces an element of uncertainty to Minion Master.
Initially, the limit and the discard mechanic can lead to some frustration, but then they quickly become second nature and present interesting tactical and strategic choices.
Once cards are played, units are added to the battlefield and they move around of their own volition, targeting enemies.
As units are defeated, the player who brought them to the match loses hit points and defeat is that much closer for the player who is unable to keep his weaker characters long enough to score hits on the enemy.
I was initially too focused on summoning, but Minion Master really rewards players who are able to mix their card focus and know when to add hit points to their lowliest monster in order to make sure that it stays active one more turn.
The main requirement for success is a balance, both when it comes to card play and to overall tactics.
Those who like the base package, which can be downloaded for free from the official Minion Master website, can then also choose to pay in order to get more card packages and expand their options when playing the card and tactics mix.
I am pretty impressed with the presentation of Minion Master: the colors are bright and well applied, the interface offers a lot of information, the cards are beautifully drawn even if they owe a little too much to classic fantasy concepts.
The soundtrack and overall sound design is less inspiring, but Minion Master is clearly not a game that aims for total immersion, so any kind of favorite music will do for short sessions.
Those who quickly become tired of the single-player battles can also go online in order to fight other humans.
I’ve tried a few matches and I can report that the small number of players who is available for online matches has a solid grasp of Minion Master and defeated me quite easily a few times.
Minion Master has a number of interesting ideas and is really fun to play in short sessions, with either the computer or reasonable human opponents, but the game needs an extra coat of polish in order to achieve its full potential.
If you like what Minion Master has to offer, then vote for the game on the Steam Greenlight service from Valve