First impressions: Minion Master

We recently wrote about the upcoming strategy/CCG hybrid  Minion Master, coming soon from BitFlip games. Since our write-up we’ve been fortunate enough to take the game for a spin so we can provide some early impressions of this game as it takes shape.

If you’ve played a collectible card game such as Magic: The Gathering you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of how the game works, but the core gameplay concepts are simple enough that newcomers to the game shouldn’t be lost for too long. Each round Minion Master is separated into a “Play” phase, and an “Action” phase. During the “Play” phase, you are provided with a random hand of five cards which can include the titular minions, which can be summoned to the battlefield to fight for your honor.  Also included are modifier cards that can augment minions already in play.

Each turn you choose to play or discard the cards in your hand. Discarded cards provide Mana, a resource that is used as the cost to play the more powerful cards available to you.  This simple resource system keeps things refreshingly uncomplicated, and also leads to some interesting decisions each round. Should I discard a couple of strong cards and overwhelm my opponent with footmen, or do I sacrifice my whole hand in order to summon that powerful Troll card?

After making your choice as to which cards to play, the “Action” phase begins. During this phase, minions are summoned, and then move about the board seeking out opposing minions to do battle with. Currently, you don’t have much choice as to how minions move on the game board, or who they decide to attack. This somewhat diminishes the war game aspect of Minion Master, making it feel more like a straight collectible card game with a more interesting visual component.

Although this feels like a bit of a letdown at first, the AI is generally pretty good and will move and attack in ways that make sense. Additionally, each minion has slightly different tactics in how they move and who they attack. For example, the easy to summon but weak Kobolds will move towards and attack whichever opposing minion is weakest, while Knights and Dragons will seek out targets who are grouped together in order to maximize their respective “Trample”, and “Fire Breath” abilities.

Throughout my play time, the highlight was in summoning lots and lots of the titular minions and then watching them race across the map to lay waste to my enemies. During these moments Minion Master can feel a little like a match of DOTA, but with a tighter focus and more relaxed pace. Minion Master is still quite early in development, but the core of the game feels solid. It’s easy to pick up and play. Matches are fast-paced, but made interesting with lots of strategic decision points. Minions, even this early, feel pretty well-balanced and offer players a variety of strategic options. Here’s hoping that the gang over at BitFlip keep up the good work,  continue to tighten up the gameplay, and add even more minions.

Minion Master is currently planned for release sometime in late 2012, and will be available for $20.00. Should you choose to pre-order Minion Master, you’ll get five dollars off, and you’ll be able to play it right now and throughout it’s development, so, that’s pretty cool!


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1 Comment »

  • Deadly Habit says:

    this one looks real interesting and def has potential.
    btw also preordered dungeon dashers, have hopes for that one as well


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