07th May2015

‘Nightbanes’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


There is no denying the fact that digital collectable card games are popular. In many ways this makes them perfect for the free-to-play model where money can be grabbed back from the player when they are hooked and need the better decks to aid them in battle. This may sound cynical but by now we all know that there is rarely a truly free game out there. Nightbanes is an interesting game because it takes a more casual take on the game style, should this be a warning sign when it comes to a grab for your cash, but at least it starts off free…right?

Nightbanes starts off like the other card games I’ve played which aren’t that many to be fair. You are given a deck of cards to start your play and in this case this will be the only one you are given for free so choose wisely. These cards come in different designs based on the type of creatures with nature, undead (Necromancy) or vampire (Nosferatu) themes available to choose from. These packs give you a good introduction with creatures strong enough to get you used to the game. As you play you’ll also be gaining in-game currency too though that can be used to boost the pack. You get some free premium currency at the start of the game which is the perfect chance to add a deck to your game, which is an easy way to add to variety.

I’m not an expert at card games of this type by any means but even I know that the idea behind the game is to look at each cards strength pick out your strongest creatures and get them ready to use at the perfect moment to hit the biggest blow. This is where Nightbanes shows a slight weakness, the cards selected for the player feel just a little too random, and don’t really give much in the terms of knock out abilities or even much detail in the statistics. There is also no requirement for mana in the game so you can throw in any card you want straight away and hope to gain a foothold and be the one with the most cards in battle.

The strategy this leads to straight off is the player with the most cards is going to win, as you sit back and see each card throw themselves at each other and take off the hit points. There is no room here for card selection and which card will be attacked, so you can’t aim for the other player’s strongest creature in an all-out attack. What you find instead is that you have to sit back and wait for the attacks to be sent out automatically without you in control. There is a feeling of satisfaction though when you see the rival player’s cards get decimated.


For more hardcore battlers this may be annoying, but I do see some sense in this. I may have wanted to build up more of a strategy in my attack, but if somebody with less experience is starting with the game they are likely to be lost in many of the statistics that are available in other cards games. Nightbanes could be a good introduction to digital collectable cared games before, leading to them moving onto the more complicated versions that offer more in the terms of flexibility in player style.

When it comes to in-game transactions, it depends on how much grind you want from your game. If you are willing to soldier on and build up currency through battles and quests then this is possible, with PVP battles in multiplayer gaining the most experience and currency for the player which is obviously where most will gain their experience. Though not too bad, there is a feeling with the game that just a little too few jewels are provided for each victory, meaning that the player is always going to be considering that move to putting actual money into the game. Looking at the costs of packs though, the prices aren’t too bad if this is the route the player chooses.

Nightbanes feels like more of a casual card battle game than others like Hearthstone, which also features the free-to-play model. With the more simplistic style of play I would say that Nightbanes may be a good gateway game for people with very experience of the game type and want to give it a try. The randomness of the card selection and lack of control over the battle may hinder people of greater experience, and this is where in the end it will be judged. Free-to-play and the ability to play without spending money is always a good way to get a feel for a game though and this works in Nightbanes favour. It is well worth giving it try because there is fun to be found. Just be prepared to move onto bigger and more complicated things when you tire of the lack of complexity in the game.

Nightbanes is out now on Steam.

*** 3/5

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