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The industry is full of modern military shooters of both the first and third-person variety. With so many choices available it can be hard, even for an iOS title, to stand out but turning a military shooter into a collectible card game is certainly one way to go about it. Rivals at War is essentially like playing a Big Win Sports game with guns instead of goals, which turns out to be a fantastic combination.
Players begin their Rivals at War campaign with a brief tutorial designed to get them up to speed and put them in charge of a decent starter team of soldiers. Anyone who’s previously messed around with Hothead’s other card-based titles knows the drill, but for the unfamiliar it works like this: it all boils down to the cards. Cash earned from each mission can be used to buy more card packs and acquire more cards, while utilizing better cards earned through card packs can give players more of a fighting chance. Soldiers themselves are represented as cards and each has their own class (Commander, Radioman, Medic, Breacher, Saw Gunner, and Sniper) and stats to consider when putting a team together. In addition, many of these soldier’s stats can be enhanced using special skill cards to boost their health, damage, and so on.
Each of the four available mission types is essentially a “go here and hold this position” style scenario with two teams competing for control. Whichever team holds the control point long enough wins the match, then experience and coins are divvied out before the process begins anew. The process is entirely automated, however, so the only real influence a player can have on the outcome is to craft a well-balanced team and supply a few helpful Tactics cards to increase their odds of success.
Some might take issue with the hands-off approach to the gameplay but I personally really enjoy it. Rivals at War is a card game, after all. And since the outcome of each match-up is decided instantly there’s no need to watch the outcome every single time. It really keeps things from feeling like a grind, but of course anyone who wants to is free to watch to their heart’s content. And watching wouldn’t be a bad idea from time to time anyway as it can give players an idea of what sort of tactics their soldiers are employing and how they might be able to tweak things to their advantage. Plus it’s pretty cool to see a well-orchestrated team completely decimate its rivals.