CardMon Hero Review
By MMOHut's Jaime Skelton
Pet systems have been popular in MMOs, particularly free-to-play MMORPGs, for a long time. They let players fight alongside a faithful companion that they can control, and that will never ditch them in the middle of a battle or fight over loot. CardMon Hero – a game initially to be published by Uforia as Camon Hero, and now being published globally by Redbana/T3Fun as CardMon Hero – appeals to that sense of having constant companions with a unique summoning system, utilizing cards for both summoning a friend to join you in combat and in managing skills. This unique take on a classic MMORPG combat system has its quirks, making it stand out from similar MMOs like Soul Master.
There are three essential elements to CardMon Hero’s combat system: the summoner (your actual character), skill cards, and summoned mercenaries. To start with, every player must first create their summoner. Character creation is moderate in selection, offering about four hair styles, six clothing styles, and a few faces that can be mixed and matched together.
Since there are no classes at all, players can instead select the weapon they’d like to start with. Summoners can use anything from magical weapons like staves and orbs, to physical weapons from swords to bows. If your initial selection doesn’t fit you, you can change your mind, but be aware that each weapon and skill type (physical or magic) requires certain stats, allocated when the player levels up. Some flexibility can be used to switch between physical weapons or magical weapons as the situation dictates, which means that if you’re the kind of person who prefers fighting up close and personal, but sometimes like to take a back seat at range, you can adjust your stats and skills to do just that.
Once you begin playing, you’ll start to acquire skill cards. Skill cards can be found as quest rewards, as loot dropped from enemies, or from vendors, and can range from restoration skills and buffs to attacks and defensive skills. Like weapons, some skills require stat requirements, so that there’s limits to how much a player can cross into the realms of physical and magic skills at once. Some skills also require a specific weapon to be equipped, which adds a further dimension to battle – the ability to switch between weapons means entire skill sets can be swapped for the situation as well. Skills can also be upgraded and combined, just like regular summoning cards, and dozens can be equipped at once – meaning that the player should never be without the right tool for the job. Some skills can be used freely, but others require the use of items or money.
CardMon Hero is nothing without the summoned mercenaries, the backbone of the combat system. Mercenaries can be summoned from either permanent or one-time use cards, and can range in power and abilities, from tanks and physical attackers, to ranged and casters, and even mercenaries who will only stay by your side and buff you. Unlike many pet systems, mercenaries do not remain out permanently at your side; they only last for a few minutes, and have a cool down on use. Most mercenaries also require the use of arc stones, special loot that can be obtained both as loot from enemies and from disassembling weapons.
Mercenaries level with the summoner, but can also be upgraded through a card upgrade system. The card upgrade system itself is quite similar to the game’s equipment upgrade system, which lets items and cards be upgraded by the use of arc stones and catalysts to stabilize the upgrade and prevent it from failing. By using recipes and the right formulas, however, cards can also be combined to make newer, and more powerful mercenaries. Like skill cards, dozens of mercenaries can be slotted for quick use at one time.
Battle on, heroes…
Progression in CardMon Hero utilizes a combination of questing, battling, and instances to gain experience, loot, and cards. The map of the game – formed in a large U shape – offers zone-to-zone progression that helps players keep on track with the enemies and quests they need to complete their job. While this lends to a bit of linear gameplay, especially for fans of questing, the end result is a fairly smooth gameplay that doesn’t leave gaps for grinding or “where do I go now?” moments. It also reduces the sense of grinding, even if there are options available for players to do so, particularly the Bulletin Board system.
… and battle heroes, too
For those looking for PvP, there’s plenty of options. PvP begins at level 20, and offers various modes, from survival and team battles (1 versus 1 to 16 versus 16), to water balloon fights and personal-skills only battles. These modes are found in the Battle Board system, which is limited to a certain amount of actions per day per player (like many browser game action point systems). While the game isn’t centered around PvP, there are plenty of options to test your skills against other players, for fun and for climbing in the rankings.
Final Verdict: Good
CardMon’s twist on classic MMORPG combat and pet system is surprisingly fun. There’s depth to the combat system that requires both pre-planning and reactive skills, and enough to do to keep both casual and hardcore players entertained. Although the game takes the route of anime-style graphics, the animations, art, and voice-acting are also great. What’s holding this game back is a smooth explanation of the game systems through tutorials or other in-game hints (some things are reasonably explained, and some are merely assumed) and an awkward control system that ends up with poor camera and movement controls, as well as difficult managing mercenaries at times. If you can get used to the controls, however, this game is definitely worth putting some time into.
Pros: +Original card-based gameplay. +Command multiple characters in combat. +Great card casting animations. +Great music and NPC voice acting.
Cons: -Visuals feel a bit dated. -Limited graphic settings. -keyboard movement feels a bit off.