Released: March 2018

Format: PC (tested)

Collectable card games (CCG) that can be played entirely in single player mode get my attention more than online-only games. In order for them to work, they need to introduce their rules gently and then reward your progression appropriately. Triplicity is a new and relatively straightforward 1 on 1 car game that wraps itself up in a block puzzle game overworld. It’s an interesting mash-up that’s quick to pick up, tricky to master and holds enough depth to keep you entertained.

triplicity02
Triplicity’s perceived simplicity is one of its strong points

The main part of the game is the CCG. You are pitted against opponents with decks of 30 cards. Each turn you can spend 3 points playing your monsters onto the field and each of up to 3 cards you can play has a cost of 1, 2 or 3 points. The playing field is made up of three spaces for each opponent. Once on the playing field, usually, the next turn means they can attack your opponents’ side and damage or kill off their monsters. Any attack damage left over once the monster you attack has died then comes off your opponents’ overall health and if you can attack a space that has no monster, then that too goes straight to your opponents’ health. First one to get their opponents actual health to zero wins. Note all those threes? Triplicity indeed!

What starts off as a quick-fire battle soon gets very tactical though and this is Triplicity’s strength. Each card has an attack and health stat and when it attacks, no matter what happens the defending card will attack you back – regardless of if it dies or not. The majority of cards are like battering rams and can only attack whatever is directly opposite it so you play your cards accordingly to see if you can out trump what is opposite. This also means cards never stay in play for more than a couple of turns because each card gets hammered quickly. It leads you to the big question – do I even want to attack? Sometimes it’s best to not attack because you’d rather absorb the damage if your card can take it. Your counterattack may kill that opponent and then hurt the overall health. Similarly, you can easily kill off your own cards by going in aggressive. The AI knows this all too well as it often spots exactly which card is going to cause the most damage and goes for you with a flying card which means it can attack anywhere and this is very effective when your stuck batter ramming a card with large health points or a shield.

triplicity03
Shields, fireballs, colour suits, stat changers – all play a part in which card I should place next

As you progress through the game more nuances come into play. Cards have colour suits which can boost health or damage. Other cards can also boost or null either sides attack or health stats and some can attack on the same go as a placement. They are tiny changes but in a game that is all down to getting momentum to your attacks, it is all it takes to sway the battle. The single downside to this is that often you momentum of a game can be swung early on by the random car drawing and you can feel a bit hard done by with what you get if the AI has superior cards. Thankfully, even if you lose you are given a card boost that means you can improve your deck and fight back stronger. If you win, you get given three new cards to play with.

The single-player experience is set out in a Monument Valley style environment with block puzzles showing the way. Each world changes the type of puzzle so you’ll go from block shuffling, to mirror movement, to painting all the tiles in a map and on the whole they are fun to do. If you get stuck, it does mean you have a bit of a barrier to pass before the next card battle but in general – they are nice logic puzzles that make sense and are not too obtuse to understand. The graphics are well put together and the world moves around to reveal a mini diety to take on at the end of each couple of puzzles.

triplicity01
The overworld block puzzles show much more graphical flair and offer a nice change of pace

Once you’ve assembled your custom decks, the game may have a longer lifespan with online play with up to 8 players joining lobbies, however each time I’ve tried to test this feature no one has been playing. Winning those lobby tournaments gives you the choice of some powerful and rarer cards so there’s incentive to get stuck in. It’s a niche game with quick battles so if online takes your fancy, I’d advise advertising a time and date for others to join up as random encounters are going to be few and far between.

Positives

  • Simple to learn, hard to master
  • Hidden depth behind a seemingly simple battle system
  • Can be very quickfire if you want it to be
  • Single player overworld puzzles are a welcome distraction
  • Rewarding losses and wins with improved cards make great replayability incentives

Negatives

  • Card graphics are low res and lacking the flair that the overworld clearly has
  • Online is pretty much dead at launch

Conclusion

Whilst it may not have an online community, and the CCG section itself lacks any graphical flair, the core mechanics and enjoyability of playing the game are strong enough to still recommend Triplicity as a hidden gem.

Enjoy a video review of the mechanics of the game below:

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