Whenever we allow our feeling of skepticism to get the better of us and remark that something is impossible and couldn’t be achieved in practice, the future is there, just a few light steps away, to refute us and make us look like utter fools. Believe it or not, with the obvious exception of “simple” (in technical sense) card games such as Poker or Solitaire, there was a time when people actually assumed that computers and card games shouldn’t be mixed – and yet games such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon showed us that they are actually a match made in heaven, which was only confirmed by their enduring popularity.
Likewise, I bet that some of you thought that computer card games and old-school card games – you know, the ones with actual, physical sets of cards that you need to touch and move with your hands – are an impossible mix, kind of like oil and water, two entirely separate dimensions of existence that can never be merged, no matter how hard we try. Nevertheless, Leipzig based developer aptly named FusionPlay had managed to do just that – to combine, or fuse if you will, a virtual world of video games based on advanced technology and complex gaming interface with actual physical cards. The result of their visionary effort is a cute and engaging game called FusionPlay Heroes (not to be confused with games such as Fusion Heroes or FusionFall Heroes), and the only thing that you’ll need to enjoy it is an Android smartphone with NFC support and a required set of physical cards.
Now, how does it all works? The game is designed for two players, although, of course, it requires only one mobile phone. You take your smartphone and start the FusionPlay Heroes app. Then you choose one of four available heroes and slide it under the phone so that device can detect it, and your opponent will do the same. Every card is equipped with an NFC (Near-field communication) chip which basically allows communication between your phone and cards. After that, the FusionPlay Heroes app will display both heroes on the screen, and the duel may begin.
Each hero comes equipped with six cards, and each of those cards can be used for a certain action (i.e. special attack of defensive maneuver). Essentially, all you need to do is to choose a card with a specific action, slide it under the phone face down so that your rival can’t see it, and if all goes as it should you’ll deal damage to the enemy hero. Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds, and the game actually requires lots of finesse and tactics. Every hero has a number of basic attributes such as health, energy, strength, defense, mental and dexterity. Each action will cost you energy, and when a hero runs out of health, the game will be over. On top of that, the game supports a wide variety of different factors that can determine the outcome of the duel, including a bunch of direct effects, indirect effects and effect modifiers.
As you would expect from a game with only four heroes, the lack of choice is more than compensated with an abundance of mojo and personality – the heroes are simply oozing it. Donar is none other than a Germanic version of Thor complete with his fateful hammer and abilities that go along with it. Sir Shieldalot is an unusual knight armed only with a shield, Kim Oh NO is a samurai prone to temper tantrums, and Titchy and Snooks are…well, frankly, I actually don’t know who or, rather, what they are except for the fact that one is a girl and the other is a big ass mutated spider the size of an average dog.
Artwork by Christine Faust is colorful, cartoonish and is all that you would expect or require from a cute game such as this. FusionPlay Heroes is the very first mobile card game base on the NFC technology. Today it might seem like a weird combination of two concepts, a peculiar experiment ahead of its time – tomorrow it might be remembered as the initiator of the entire new gaming genre.