The latest iOS and Android release from Square Enix is an odd mix of an RPG/FPS/Card battler called Deadman’s Cross. Focusing on a city overrun by zombies and zombie animals, the game sounds like it features just about everything you could want in a game, until you soon remember that “Oh yea, it’s Free-to-play” and that means that you won’t be playing it for long periods of time unless you want to throw down some real cash.
The main game is broken up into two different sections: Hunting and Jobs. For the Hunting Area, you will need to use a permit to access it, one of which you get free every day. If you want to access the Hunting area more than once a day, you will need to acquire more permits. For the standard area you can’t actually buy a permit, need to wait a day to get a free one or earn one, but for 300 coins you can enter the Elite area where you will find more rare and legendary cards appear more frequently.
Once you enter these areas you will switch to a first-person view in which you look through a rifle scope. For this section you are only allotted 60 seconds, but there are certain enemies you can shoot that will each gain you 10 seconds of additional time when they are taken down.
For each shadowy enemy you defeat, you will gain their card to add to your collection. While you don’t know what you are shooting at the time, when you earn their card, you will receive 1 of 5 different rankings, the highest being the rarer of the bunch. Once the time is up, you’ll return to the main screen and choose whatever activity you have left to perform.
The second main part of the game is the Jobs section. Here you visit the Last Drop bar where the hostess Lara offers you various jobs you complete for rewards. Jobs vary from visiting the Hunting Area and racking up kills of different animals, capturing a unique animal, or to going on a story based quest — which more often than not involves looking for a family member or loved one inside a building. When you get these types of missions, you will need to scroll across the map to the marked building and proceed in a FPS view through the hallways—all of which look exactly the same.
Here you will move forward one step at a time, each step either revealing an enemy or an uncovered item. Each step will cost you 5 stamina points out of your starting 50 and if you happen to run out while on job within a building, you have three choices of how to proceed: you can buy an energy drink for 100 coins, drink one you already have, or wait for your stamina to replenish on its own. If you choose to wait, it takes three minutes to refill one point (2.5 hours to refill 50 points) … so unless you feel like throwing down real money, that’s where you stop playing for the time being.
When you encounter an enemy while on a job, the cards you collected in the Hunting Area come into play. The enemy you face will also have a set of cards that you will battle against, but the problem is you don’t get to choose which cards you use during each turn. You organize your cards in a menu beforehand – you can also just have the game “suggest” your best cards– and it will build you the best formation it deems fit.
You can upgrade your cards by feeding them, but this is essentially a way to get rid of extra cards. Feeding involves sacrificing duplicate cards to increase the strength of your base cards– the rarer the card fed, the more XP the kept character will receive. You are also able to boost characters by giving them found objects such as (as silly as it sounds) shoes to make them faster, or helmets to increase their defense, and so forth.
When you come to a battle, you sit and watch—more often than not with your finger on the fast forward button, since there’s nothing else you can do. After each battle, your characters are back, revived and ready for the next battle.
There’s no sense of loss if you come up against a tougher foe. If for some reason you fail in battle, you will lose 5 stamina points, but you will also be able to jump right back into the fight where you left off … but with your cards all replenished. There’s absolutely no sense of suspense or threat since if you fail, “OH WELL” you can try again right away.
The other sections of the game are merely social, where you can participate in “The Boneyard” battling to win three rounds against other ranked opponents. Again, as in the previous card battle, the game can “suggest” what cards to use for the rules the Boneyard throws at you: no duplicates, etc. It’s not terribly compelling since it’s just straight card battling, and holding down the fast forward button.
It’s not a tough game and holds nothing of significant interest. The reveal of the enemies you “capture” in the Hunt area is the most interesting element, as each character card has amazing artwork to go along with it and it’s a nice reveal to see which characters you end up with — but that’s really all that can be said about the game.
The gameplay is nothing special — in both the card battle and FPS sections it’s simple taps to the screen that take no skill whatsoever, and the character upgrades don’t hold any real appeal since plowing through level 16 characters with level 2 characters isn’t unheard of.
As mentioned it is a free-to -play game so you don’t have to worry about spending your hard earned cash on it unless you choose to. The lure of trudging through the same hallway over and over doesn’t seem like an appeal that would cause players to shove money at their device, but the collection aspect of getting all the available cards and seeing their fantastic artwork holds some promise.
It’s not a game I’d necessarily recommend for its action, but the artwork and conversation with people you come across are at least worth your time to check out.
Title: Deadman’s Cross