Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is a console adaptation of the hit Japanese mobile card game Shadowverse, aiming to market itself to a younger audience by adding a Shounen Card Battle anime setting into the mix. Taking control of a nameless transfer student, it is up to you and your new friends to save Tensei Academy's Shadowverse Club from being disbanded. As an unapologetic fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, I was intrigued enough to try it out but will this addition be enough to get people hooked into spending money on digital card game crack?

The Good

If you’re worried about needing to learn a new card game system to enjoy Shadowverse, well good news for you, Shadowverse is just Hearthstone but without the annoying overpowered RNG card mechanics, which means that if you’ve never played Hearthstone before, then Shadowverse will be the easier to learn alternative. Cards have the same layout as Hearthstone where its offense and defence are shown in the bottom corners of the card while it’s cost is in the top-left and a lot of Hearthone’s Keyword mechanics are copied here, some even keeping the same names.

Shadowverse’s cards come in seven different classes, all which have their own unique mechanic and playstyles. Dragoncraft decks focus on powerful late game cards which get even stronger if you have at least seven play points available; Swordcraft cards are categorised as either Officers or Commanders which tend to have abilities to assist one or the other, leading the deck to have a snowball-like strategy where constant field presence is key to victory; Forestcraft is a more combo-style deck where cards obtain stronger effects when more cards are played in a turn; Runecraft cards have the ability to either strengthen their abilities or lower their cost whenever a spell card is played; Shadowcraft focuses on board control and uses defeated cards as resources for powerful necromantic abilities; Bloodcraft is a high risk, high reward style deck that get stronger abilities when the player is below half health and finally, Heavencraft uses a lot of Countdown cards which do nothing when played but, as the name suggests, counts down each turn to unleash powerful effects when hitting zero, leading to a mid-to-late game beatdown strategy. Alongside these class cards, you also have neutral cards which can be played in every deck to either bolster your strengths or make up for its weaknesses.

What sets Shadowverse apart from its near identical counterpart Hearthstone is its Evolution mechanic. Each player gets a few points to spend on evolving their cards into stronger versions of themselves; the player going first gets two points while the player going second gets three to offset the disadvantage of going second. Evolving a card will give it stronger stats, give it the ability to attack other cards the turn it’s played and in some cases, gain new abilities.

TL;DR

  • Easy game to learn
  • Multiple unique deck strategies
  • Evolve mechanic to set it apart from competitors

The Bad

Most of this game’s downsides stem from the added Shounen Card Battle Anime setting. The characters are very tired anime troupes with nothing else added to them to flesh them out. You’ve got the ever excitable protagonist who’s whole world revolves around Shadowverse, the dimwitted but loyal best friend, the girl one, the creepy shy kid, the condescending brainiac that always adjusts his glasses with his ring finger and the strict class president. These characters became very tiring to listen to very quickly and I found myself skipping all the dialogue after the first hour.

The game’s story makes no sense in the context of the world. In what universe where a world is obsessed with a card game phone app to the point where it’s become a national sport, has more public card vendors than bathrooms and also has coliseums everywhere holding official tournaments for said mobile phone card game would have a school club for the game that no one knows about, only has one member and is about to be shut down due to a lack of interest? It makes no sense whatsoever and was clearly the only thing the writers could come up with to add narrative stakes.

With all the anime shenanigans out of the way, I can finally talk about my one gripe with the card game itself and that's its small card pool. I don’t know how many sets the actual mobile game of Shadowverse has but in this entry, there's only the Classic card set and two small expansions, leading to the overall card pool to be a little over 500 cards. While that does seem like a decent amount for a small game like this, most cards are unimpactful at best and downright awful at worst, leading to the game feeling like there's only 150 cards worth playing and making every match feel very similar.

TL;DR

  • Flat, lifeless characters
  • Story makes no sense
  • Lack of impactful cards leading to little strategy

Final Score: 5/10

In the end, I did enjoy my time playing Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle but every time I had to interact with the world, I felt my brain turn to mush and just wanted to get back to the card game bits. All in all, I want to check out the mobile game now just to see if it has the depth that I was hoping for here, which I believe is what the developers wanted... So mission accomplished, I suppose?

Thank you for checking out our Shadowverse: Champion's Battle Switch review, thank you to Marvellous Games for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: