Card-based video games have become extremely popular over time. From hours of single-player content to casual local matches with friends, all the way to the biggest competitive eSports stages, these unique titles capture the imagination and highlight strategic thinking. With a wide range of classes and deck types to choose from, they often encourage a myriad of play styles and offer something for every kind of gamer.
The Nintendo Switch is now home to a fantastic library of card games, featuring some of the best available. Thankfully, the portability of the console seems to lend perfectly to the genre, so here are some of the best card games for players who want to immerse themselves in hours of intricate deck building, or simply hop into a quick match on their morning commute!
Monster Train is a game that has a big focus on deck building and features some great roguelike elements. When players first board the train they’ll be prompted to select one of two tracks to follow on their grand quest to keep the fires of hell burning so that all the devious creatures living there still have a home. It’s an odd and intriguing premise that injects some great originality into the genre.
The train has four floors to ascend and a burning pyre that you must defend. If the pyre explodes, it’s game over. Enemies will attack the first three floors, where you will need to activate special effects and summon monsters to fight back. There are five clans (deck classes) to choose from in Monster Train, and every playthrough grants players a main and allied faction to select, with the incentive to try different combinations adding to the game’s replayability. Overall, Monster Train is captivating, vibrant, and challenging, and makes a great addition to your Switch library.
Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is arguably the most definitive Yu-Gi-Oh title yet. With over 1,000 cards to choose from, Link Evolution has hours of content for franchise fans to sink their teeth into. The campaign mode takes you through every anime storyline, all the way from Yugi and friends battling Kaiba, to the futuristic VRAINS series.
Fans can partake in every famous anime duel, from both the protagonists’ and enemies’ perspectives — something that effectively doubles the playtime. With the hefty campaign, demanding challenge mode, and an immense amount of fan-favorite cards, Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution is a must-play for any duelist.
Comparable to Hearthstone (and a great alternative), Abrakam Entertainment’s Faeria’s most interesting selling point lies in its self-proclaimed ‘living’ board. Set in a fantasy realm, the game of Faeria is a one-on-one battle affair where players can challenge each other, or hone their skills against AI opponents. The living board consists of four Mana Wells that players can place creatures near to gain additional Faeria (Mana.)
Both players start the match with 30 cards in their deck and three mana points on their first turn. As you ready your creatures for battle, you’ll also create the environment by adding tiles to the living board, dictating where your card moves, and ultimately attempting to limit your opponent’s mobility. It’s a mechanic that can make Faeria’s gameplay a very strategic affair and an overall unique experience recommended for any fan of Hearthstone who’s looking for something just a little different.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
When The Witcher 3 was initially released in 2015, it became one of the best RPGs of the decade. But, more surprising than the game’s immediate impact was the popularity of its in-game card game Gwent. Fans found themselves sinking hours into the side activity and Gwent soon had a dedicated player base of its own.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales capitalizes on Gwent’s addictive card-based combat while weaving an original, fresh and exciting story within the deeply established Witcher universe. It’s a must-play title for Witcher enthusiasts, and will easily appeal to fans of the fantasy genre.
Slay The Spire
Universally considered one of the most interesting card-based games on the market, Slay The Spire combines the strategy of card play with the dungeon crawling delight of roguelikes. The core gameplay loop revolves around the player, who can select one of four playable characters, battling to reach the top floor of the spire, ascending procedurally generated floors and tackling enemies and bosses along the way.
The combat within the game takes place through a collectible card-based battle system. After every victory, you’ll be rewarded with new cards, with the game encouraging the emphasizing the importance of the deck building mechanic in order to create a deck that will most effectively help in your ascent. Slay The Spire is fresh, frustrating, additive, and almost solely responsible for ushering in a new era of card games. It’s a title every card-loving gamer should try.
Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle
Shadowverse: Champion’s Battle is the latest iteration of the popular Mobile/PC digital card game. Released on Nintendo Switch, Champion’s Battle is based on the anime adaption of the original game and puts you in the shoes of a protagonist who’s recently transferred schools. You soon meet an enthusiastic boy named Hiro who’s obsessed with all things Shadowverse. Once he demonstrates the basics, you set off a mission to save the Shadowverse club and become the best possible player. It’s a typical anime storyline that delivers a lengthy, fleshed-out campaign that the card-based battles are built around.
The core Shadowverse showdowns play out the same way as in the original game, with seven unique classes to choose from, an intricate deck-building system, and a handful of ranks to conquer. Shadowverse is one of the most jam-packed card-based games on the Switch, and there’s something for everyone in this infectious anime-inspired release.
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