I look at Ironclad Tactics!

Ironclad Tactics is a card-based strategy game, you build a deck of twenty cards from two factions, featuring a mix of Ironclads (strong robots that can equip parts), tactics, parts and infantry (lighter units that are useful on their own), you then take this deck through a multiple of scenarios where the goal is mostly to get your ironclads to the end of the screen to score Victory Points, some missions require you to kill a boss or survive, but most of the time you'll use multiple ways to gather VPs and win.  You get AP every turn to use your cards and some maps include ways to make AP faster. I've felt disappointed by IT, but I loved it.


The game has a bunch of levels and in each level you can complete various objectives to gain cards for your deck. I love the idea, win 8 victory points using only mortars, don't use Ironclads, use a native-only deck, it's a nice way of making players replay missions. That being said, the game's biggest offender for me is that about half the cards are locked behind multiplayer. And not random multiplayer where you can search for a match and play versus someone on a specific stage, you need to know someone that owns the game. Either skirmishes (1v1 fight) or Nemesis (where one player has a special boss deck) you need to play with someone else to get everything. And it's not a small part, there are tons of cards hidden behind multiplayer, and no-one in my friend list had the game, so I was bummed that there were no way out. To make this work I'd add random matchmaking, you see a list of maps people want to play in and you go, and you get your cards. It's not even "Win in multiplayer", it's just "play in multiplayer", a shame.

Oh man I love cards! That shotgun mercenary's funny too

You have plenty of card choices depending on what you like to use (almost) and some cards get upgrades when you do specific things with them, such as hitting enemies X times, winning X victory points, dying X times. Upgrading your cards gives you new cards, not necessarily better, but different (a trumpet that increases defense of units hearing it turns into a flamethrower, for instance)  but after too soon, I had ran out of upgradable cards, I wish there were more, or that the upgrades took longer - and had better rewards - because it was fun to try all of them and expand my deck.


You use the cat to move fast then you use the armor to kill the other guy

You use the cat to move fast then you use the armor to kill the other guy

The flow of the game - get a card, play a card, all units attack, then move - is dynamic enough and you need to stay on your toes. To hone your strategic skills, puzzles are spread through the game and they all more-or-less have one unique solution, they're fun, but I'd rather have a quick restart button instead of having to go back to the world map then back in. Bosses are also puzzles in their own rights and the first time you encounter them, it might feel overwhelming, the trick I found is to never try to get optional goals on the first try, it gets way tougher if you do.

You get extra AP when enemies score victory points (to try and rubberband you back into action) but it's not enough sometimes

And my second problem with this game is a strange paradox between the type of game it is and the gameplay it offers; It's a collectible card game with decks you build and tons of mix and match possibilities but the levels are built in special ways that more or less require you to use some specific type of cards. This level has invincible snipers that will hit your units, this one requires you to use drills, this level has engineers always behind ironclads to repair them so you'll need multi-target attacks, you'll need to bang your head against some of them and remake your deck, and that's not always fun. 

I got wrecked by these guys until I used armored units (I never did before)

To fix all of this, I'd remove the multiplayer-only cards and double the number of levels. To make the extra levels even more meaningful, I'd just make them straightforward vs AI fights. No special elements on the field, just your deck against the AI. You could get all the cards by yourself and you could get more usage out of that deck you really liked instead of having to break it down to add more trumpets. When I finally beat the game, I wished there was more to do, so I would say that I enjoyed it.