WWE SuperCard is a brand new mobile, collectible card game from 2K that looks to keep you hopelessly addicted during all the hours you’re not already sinking into WWE TV programming, browsing the WWE Network, or eagerly anticipating the release of WWE 2K15.
The basic premise of Supercard is to – you guessed it – collect cards depicting WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends. There’s also managers that add bonuses to your stats, and foreign objects (called “support” cards) like ladders and chairs that have different effects. Each card has a value, or “rarity”, that represents how strong it is. This ranges from common, to uncommon, all the way up to legendary. The better your cards, the better your opponents, and the better your rewards will be.
I’m a big fan of the game’s upgrade system. If you get a card you really like – for instance, my Ultra Rare Vince McMahon – you can scrap any card you’re not using to boost its stats. That’s right, it’s a wrestling game where you actively bury people in order to make your hand-picked “chosen ones” into gods and goddesses of the virtual squared circle. You can also combine two of the same card to make a “Pro” version, which vastly upgraded its stats.
When you first log in (you can use both Facebook and Game Center to stay connected) WWE Supercard gives you a pack of ten cards, including one rare, at least one uncommon, and a range of others. It can be confusing at first; I genuinely thought the game considered Jey Uso to be “rare”, while Roman Reigns and former WWE Champion The Miz were at the bottom of the pile. As it turns out, each level of rarity has their own version of each wrestler. I was a bit disappointed that certain stars weren’t exclusively to individual tiers, as its a bit off-putting to see an “ultra rare” Eva Marie or Fandango card running through your deck, like Big Show at an all-you-can eat buffet.
The game’s bread and butter is its Exhibition Mode. Here you take your best seven cards – five wrestlers and two supports – and face off against other people’s decks. Using four stats (Power, Toughness, Speed and Charisma) you battle it out in singles competition and tag team action for points, and whoever scores three points first is the winner. When you win you get two cards; it’s actually pretty simple, and takes all of one minute to do once you get the hang of it. It’s games like this that keep you hooked, because you can play 20 or 40 games while waiting for clothes to dry, or 10 games sitting in the bathroom. The only issue I experienced here was how long it took you to rank up. That said, WWE and 2K are trying for the long-term gamer here, and not creating for the user who plays once, and forgets about the app.
Naturally, the first thing I did was make Bo Dallas my champion, and feed him all my unused cards until his plain old common form was stronger than most people’s uncommon or ever rare Superstars. I’ll admit this probably wasn’t the best strategy, as I could have spent my time improving better cards, but there’s just something extremely satisfying about beating your opponent with characters like Virgil.
My biggest frustration with WWE Supercard is the pay-to-win “pack” system. Although I don’t think it really effected my gameplay experience, there is a heavy push to sell credits you buy with real-life money, that can be cashed in on cards and boosts. So technically, if you want to pay 2K’s astronomical micro-transaction costs, you can sink a few hundred dollars into this game and become world champion in no time. Like I said, I tend to ignore these types of things in today’s gaming culture, and if it negatively impacted my play I didn’t notice, but I still disagree with the system on a fundamental level.
There’s also a King of the Ring mode that I’m not crazy about it. The idea is that you set your roster ahead of time, and the game selects 19 other opponents who face off in a series of preliminary matches. All the matches are automated, so your job is just to check in every couple of hours, healing your guys with energy cards and stat boosts you gain in Exhibition. It’s kind of like SuperCard Fantasy, which wouldn’t be bad, except there’s upwards of 30+ matches per person, which takes several days to get through. I started a King of the Ring game a few hours after launch, and while I’m sitting confidently in first place at 17-1 right now, we’re still technically “qualifying”, and I’ve just lost all interest in coming back periodically. I could see being more captivated by this passive mode if it were shorter, but since KOTR cards are locked in place, that deck is now incredibly inferior to the cards I’ve built up in just the last 24 hours. The prizes you win aren’t worth the time invested – at my level, winning the whole thing nets you a pair of rare cards, and an uncommon support I won’t even use at this point.
Let’s talk software. The game is available on any iOS device, as well as the Google Play store for Android devices. Since release early Thursday morning, I’ve clocked about six hours into the game. While it certainly took an expected hit on my battery – there is a low battery mode I didn’t use – the app ran smoothly on my iPad Air with no performance issues, only a single case of network drop, and the device still felt cool to the touch after a long session. I had a similar, positive experience on-the-go with my HTC One, albeit with a noticeable framerate drop. From a visual and technical standpoint, I definitely prefer the superior experience of the bigger, more powerful iPad.
WWE SuperCard won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the passive mobile game players – people who just want to relax and do something mind-numbing and addictive – it’s a fun experience. Because of the brevity of the Exhibition system, I can see myself pulling out my iPad while waiting for the bus, in line at the grocery store, etc. There’s a never-ending system in place to keep leveling up my cards, keep collecting, and expanding on my gameplay style. As it is, this FREE app feels like a complete and fully realized mini-game with hours and hours of replay value, and if they can tune King of the Ring, it’d be something I wouldn’t mind paying for.