Faeria – Review
Follow Genre: Card Game
Developer: Abrakam Entertainment
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Faeria – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Deep and engaging strategic gameplay
Bad: Base game feels like an incomplete package
User Score
6.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 6.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Faeria arrives on the Switch several years late, and as far as we know, this is the first time that the game is playable on a handheld device ever since the mobile server was taken down back in 2018. Most digital card games use a free-to-play model, but Faeria foregoes this in favor of having its players buy the base game, then add full expansions as they see fit. So is Faeria worth the price of entry? 

Story

As is standard for these fantasy-themed card games, there are vague hints of lore and storyline spread throughout the game, but there isn’t an actual story in sight. This shouldn’t necessarily bother people, as this creates an immersive world that leaves enough room for the players to fill in the blanks if they wish. 

Graphics

As expected from a fantasy-inspired digital card game, Faeria features spectacular artwork showcasing a menagerie of creatures. Additionally, there are tons of unlockable customization options, such as player avatars, card backs and other cosmetic enhancements. This turns Faeria into a visual treat, even though the animation is limited. Playing in handheld mode on the Switch does diminish the visual splendor that Faeria showcases. The relatively small screen makes it occasionally difficult to distinguish between your opponent’s monsters and your own, but when played in docked mode, Faeria really shines. 

Sound

Faeria’s soundscape is probably the least exciting element of the game. Voice acting is limited and the game’s music sounds just like you’d expect from a generic fantasy game. It fits the bill, and the sound isn’t essential. Given the competitive online nature of the game, we imagine the majority of players will mute Faeria and put on something else during prolonged sessions anyway. 

Gameplay

Heavily inspired by games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic: The Gathering, Faeria offers a digital card game experience intertwined with strategic board game elements. Players take on the role of a God and take on opponents in an arena where they summon and control elemental monsters and attempt to take out opposing Gods. The core experience involves creating a battlefield by placing down tiles, gathering resources and directing your creatures to either attack opposing monsters or your opponent directly. Decks consist of 30 cards, and stalling tactics where you force your opponent’s deck to run empty won’t work here as any discarded cards are recycled into your deck. Cards typically cost Faeria to play, a resource that can be acquired in a number of ways. Every turn players automatically gain 3 Faeria, and more Faeria can be harvested from wells on the battlefield, while certain cards will grant bonus Faeria or reduce the cost to play other cards. During a player’s turn they must make an action: either place an elemental tile, two neutral tiles, draw an additional card or gain an additional Faeria. Players can also play as many cards from their hand as they like -provided they have the right amount of resources- and have each of their monsters make an action as well. 

Monsters come in the form of neutral cards that will seamlessly slide into any deck, or elemental cards, which will require an indicated amount of elemental cards on the battlefield. There doesn’t seem to be any elemental advantage triangle in play: water cards aren’t extra effective against fire cards, for example. Instead, the key to building an efficient deck is to find the right synergy between cards. Players are free to play any kind of elemental tiles, regardless of which cards are in their deck, but cards of the same element tend to work together better than cards of differing elements. Monsters have both an attack value and a life value: attacking an opponent will cause damage equal to a monster’s attack value, but they will automatically suffer damage equal to an opponent’s attack value. You’ll often find monsters will kamikaze themselves in order to take out foes that have a high attack value but a low life value.

Finally, each God has 20 life points. Your ultimate aim is to take down the opposing God, by crafting a battlefield and getting your monsters across so that they can directly attack and damage the enemy God. Once either God loses all their life points, it’s game over. There’s a decent amount of content in the single-player mode, where you face increasingly difficult opponents. Additionally, puzzle levels challenge you to take down an enemy God in a single turn, using the right combo of moves and cards. These puzzles really help you to learn different strategies and figure out some of the more subtle game mechanics. The single-player mode is great to get to grips with the game, but the main Faeria experience is in facing other players online. Faeria is an eSports experience first and foremost. Card collections are expanded by completing daily challenges, which will reward booster packs of four cards and logging in daily will also earn you currency which can be used to purchase cosmetics. 

There’s a couple of issues with Faeria but these are less about gameplay and more about Faeria’s business model. We’re not gonna delve too deep into Faeria’s 5 year history, which started out as a “pay once, play forever” game, moved into free-to-play for a few years and then reverted back to the pay once model, but this game has been around for quite some time. This puts Switch players at a serious disadvantage if they wish to play the game competitively. The game supports crossplay but playing online means you’ll end up facing opponents that have both years of experience and much more expansive card collections. Although crossplay is optional and can be toggled off in the game’s settings, be aware that if you want to get stuck in, you’ll start the race with a large chunk of the player base having taken a huge head start. 

Existing players should be aware that they are not able to log in to their existing accounts on the Switch version -instead, a new account is automatically generated when they first log in. This obviously means that you cannot access your existing card collection and that you’ll have to buy any expansion you want again. Speaking of expansions, there’s a ton of them, and while this review only covers the base game, you’ve probably already figured out that the key to competitive Faeria involves picking up the expansions as well. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly low entry price: a full set of Faeria cards will cost you a lot more. Given the nature of digital card games, this shouldn’t come as a surprise and since Faeria has given up on its former free-to-play ways, the game doesn’t feel like a money-sucking scam. Finally, the game requires an online connection to be able to access it at all times. While this makes sense on the other platforms, it does feel counterintuitive on the Switch. Deck building or even playing against AI opponents on the go seemed like a fantastic way to get the most out of your Faeria experience, but unless you have a WiFi connection, you won’t be playing Faeria outside. If you can overlook all of the aforementioned issues, then Faeria offers a fantastic gameplay experience with tons of tactical challenges and addictive gameplay though. 

Conclusion

While Faeria’s base game offers a solid experience, we can’t help but feel that it’s an incomplete game. If you really want to get stuck in, you’ll eventually have to buy the expansions and be prepared that players on other platforms are years ahead of you. We would’ve preferred to see a “‘complete edition” package at a slightly higher price to mitigate the disadvantage Switch players start with, or at least the possibility for existing players to use their accounts from other platforms. Still, if you don’t mind toggling off crossplay for the first few months, while you build up your collection and figure out strategies, then Faeria is certainly worth a look at.

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Rating: 6.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Faeria - Review, 6.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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