Walking with the Planeswalkers

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iol scitehc july 12 magic game

London - Anyone who thinks that videogames rot your brain should try a round of Magic: The Gathering Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2013 (PC, Xbox, PS3, iPad).

It is a devilishly complex numbers game disguised with a light frosting of Tolkien. It has a baffling array of monsters, tokens, numbers and magic points, all shrouded in layers of jargon.

Most players clearly devote far too much time to learning the ins and outs of every different-coloured deck of monsters, landscapes and spells. Online, new players don’t stand a chance.

Invented by a maths professor, the card-based precursor to Magic: The Gathering’s virtual incarnation has been selling well in the dingy basements of comic stores since

1993. It was bought up rapidly by the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons and is still played by more than ten million people worldwide. Such games have had a new lease of life from touchscreens such as the iPad reaching audiences who wouldn’t be seen dead walking into a comic shop.

In Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2013, stay away from online battles and confine yourself to the (thankfully mute) computer opponents, and the game’s nothing like as ferocious as it first seems.

In fact, compared to most games it’s downright relaxing; the number-puzzle fascination of Sudoku mingled with an addictive dose of virtual card-collecting and a healthy splash of luck.

Matches vary from complex four-player battles to one-off challenges (with this year s update offering more variations on the theme) and the slow pace means it’s easy to leave Magic running as you make dinner.

The hokey atmosphere is daft no one over the age of ten could possibly believe in the game’s world of Planeswalkers , ultra-powerful wizards who can summon magical monsters.

Little effort has been made in terms of scene-setting the odd spurt of flame and a few grinding noises are all you get in the way of special effects .

But the game itself is clever enough to keep you coming back. - Daily Mail

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