Guardian Cross is one such game, and lucky for me, it’s my job to break it down in 500 words or so. This should be fun. Let’s do it!
On the surface, Guardian Cross is probably best described as a card collecting game. But, being a vaguely Final Fantasy-related Square Enix joint, there’s loads more to it.
At Guardian Cross’s heart is a story mode that sees you hanging around palaces and battling monsters in caves and towers and that. Fairly standard Square Enix stuff.
But while the battles are familiar in the sense that they're turn-based, you have little to no control over the action. In fact, there’s no little about it; you simply watch the battles play out.
You enter each battle in Guardian Cross with a deck of cards or “guardians” (hence the name), as does your opponent, and you automatically take turns at hacking away at each other till someone has no cards left. Simple.
Along the way, Guardian Cross rewards you with hunting tokens, and these are ultimately your ticket to enhancing your existing cards – as well as finding new ones.
Each hunt lasts 60 seconds, and you’re tasked with moving a sniper scope around a landscape, with the aim of shooting guardians.
Shooting a guardian adds it to your collection (in the form of a card), and you can either keep it around, or choose to have it absorbed by an existing guardian. Phew.
Special hunting tickets are even better, as the chances of finding a rare guardian on your 60-second hunt are infinitely higher.
So on one hand you’ve got the story mode, while you can always bow out temporarily for a spot of hunting. Still with me?
The third facet of Guardian Cross is the Coliseum, where you take part in ranked battles with various prizes up for grabs. They’re timed events with fixed closing times, and your rank at the conclusion determines your prize.
And that, in a nutshell, is Guardian Cross. Four hundred words or so just to explain the basics, but is it any good?
Well, Guardian Cross is one of those games that defies logic. It is, in many ways, super-addictive, yet it demands no skill whatsoever.
For example, in typical Square Enix team battles, you’d look to attack an ice monster with a fire beast. And while elemental stuff is present in Guardian Cross, it’s purely luck if two such cards end up going head-to-head.
Also, in the main quest, if you lose against a particular enemy, they simply start in a weakened state next time, which renders losing pretty much meaningless.
Still, as I said, Guardian Cross is oddly addictive, and several hours in, I still feel that I’ve yet to scratch the surface (given the sheer volume of cards and my novice status). Even with my review duties complete, I’ll definitely be going back to it with a view to scoring some sexy super-rare cards.
Which reminds me; Guardian Cross is free, and I feel like Square Enix is missing a trick by not selling rare cards directly. You can buy coins (£1.99 for 300) that effectively get you into special hunts, but I can imagine people would fork out good money for, say, a five-star Gilgamesh.
And on that exceptionally geeky note, I’m outta here! Go play Guardian Cross. It’s weird.
- Card collecting is always good; loads of cards
- Tons of stuff to do: story, hunts, Coliseum
- Oddly addictive
- Little to no skill required
- Literally no control over the battles
- Far too complex for casual gamers
Summary: Guardian Cross is a fairly deep – and ultimately enjoyable – card collecting game, let down slightly by the lack of control in battles.
Developer: Square Enix
Price: free @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.