Varhara Review: No Frills Mobile Card Collecting
Cheng Kun | On July 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Varhara is the newest title coming out of Singapore-based The Mobile Gamer that endeavors to tap into the lucrative mobile collectible card game genre. This comes of the back of record-breaking behemoths like Rage of the Bahamut which exceeded the 10 million user mark earlier this year and Puzzle & Dragons which attained a market cap of $15.1 billion in May, leading many to strive for similar success in the genre.
Launched on its proprietary KotaGames mobile social network, the game is steeped in a mixture of fantasy and medieval influences that revolve around acquiring units to wage endless battle in the world of Varhara. On a whole, its card game mechanics do not deviate much from the norm and are relatively easy to pick-up and understand.
Your main goal in Varhara is an endless pursuit of collectible cards to create the ultimate attack and defense card deck. These can be acquired in a variety of ways and further enhanced via a process of “merging”, a familiar option in other mobile collectible card games. Although the game is free to play, you can expect the traditional slew of in-app purchase options embedded within.
The bulk of your cards are obtained through a questing procedure that is somewhat reminiscent of a scaled down old school text adventure. Singular lines of text – “Found an entrance to a cave and a corpse of a traveler” describe your journey moving from one area to the next. Along the way, you pick up loot in the form of various cards that get added to your stable and gold coins that serve as currency for card merging. The whole process is a simple and straightforward one without you having to plan or strategize much. These cards collected from questing are normally weaker in status and will primarily be used to strengthen your better cards through the “merging” process.
As you are frequently attempting to bolster your deck with superior cards, the core monetization mechanic for Varhara offers a “Gacha” section, providing an opportunity to receive a randomized premium card with better stats. Everyone gets one free card per day while serious players can purchase the in-game currency to receive additional cards for a more well-rounded deck.
A limited pool of “command points” determines the amount of questing one can undertake at a single point in time. It took less than 30 minutes for mine to be fully replenished although the game provides the option of an instant top-up via in-app purchase for gamers who do not wish to wait.
To keep players vested within the realm of Varhara, a variation of events is conducted every 4-7 days like boss raids – a list of bosses spread across a range of difficulty levels are generated for players to combat, a PvP arena among players and a battle between entire factions across the game’s universe. The scores are tallied at the end and the participants are ranked by points with rewards being spread out from top to bottom. The game tries to encourage adding new friends using level-up bonuses for every new person invited to the list and the option to enlist their aid during boss fights while questing.
Outside of these special events, there exists the customary PvP arena. A list of other opponents scaled closely to your level is generated for you to pick from and the combat is simulated automatically by the system. This is the part where your attack deck comes into play and determines the outcome of the duel. Conversely, your defense deck is activated when another user initiates a battle with you. The victor is rewarded with the usual spoils like gold and experience. Similar to the questing mechanic, dueling is regulated by “valor points” that will deplete and can be replenished via an in-app purchase or a short wait for it to gradually refill.
As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Varhara is one such title that plays on obvious conventions of standard social collectible card games. Although it is not everyone’s cup of tea, fans of the genre and light users who do not want to be mired in deep strategy formulation will probably find the game an acceptable fit for them.
(Edited by Anh-Minh-Do)