Faeria gives a great first impression with the gorgeous art found in its opening cutscene, full of vivid colours depicting a fantastical world of creatures and swords – it’s all I ever need to entice me into a game. That, however, is the last time I really notice the beauty of the artwork, the rest being featured within the unnecessarily small hexagonal cards of this strategy card game.
Faeria is designed to be a cross between CCG and traditional board game, in which you build various lands to reach and attack the enemy. In a turn based structure, you and your opponent can play two plains lands or one special land – green forests, fiery mountains, sandy deserts, and watery lakes. There’s an element of strategy that’s needed, as in any card game, but it feels much more important in Faeria than in games Like Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone. I thoroughly enjoyed planning routes to the enemy, and finding new ways to tackle the board.
Each card has a summon cost, and those that can attack or defend have attack and health, shown in the bottom left and right, respectively. This is nothing out of the ordinary, following the standard practice in CCG. You use Faeria to summon creatures to the board, with the unique summon cost being shown in the top left of the card. You collect three Faeria at the beginning of each turn, with the chance to collect more using Faeria wells on the battle maps. You can collect one additional Faeria per well per turn, so long as you have a creature adjacent to a well. In addition, some creatures require a set amount of special lands in order to be summoned, this again being a fairly common feature across the CCG subgenre.
While there is lore within the universe, there didn’t seem to be much of a storyline, leaving you to fill in the gaps. The lore is built very slowly, between information on the cards, and speech bubbles showing interactions between the cards and the enemy “boss”. There’s also lore found after defeating specific challengers in single player, or completing various quests. It’s very much a slow build of information, as opposed to presenting you with pages upon pages to read at once.
Going back to the lovely artwork of the game’s opening, the rest of the game locks this into the diminutive cards that you play. Should you really want to have a closer look at the cards, then shuffling through them in the deck builder is probably the easiest way to do so. The zoom feature on the playing board didn’t really work as it should’ve, only allowing you to see a flash of the cards rather than allowing you to actually study it.
The act of playing cards should be fairly simple, however the mechanism raised several issues for me whilst playing. In several instances, the cards simply refused to be selected or played, despite having the requirements for play. Furthermore, moving the cards across the board created difficulty for the same reasons; cards would simply refuse to be selected. This was nothing short of frustrating, leaving me to ragequit several times. Despite being an enjoyable concept and game to play, the faulty mechanics ruined the continuity and gameplay. Playing via the touchscreen of my Switch helped a little, but the same issues still occurred, albeit less frequently.
From the main screen, you have an option to access the deck builder. Whil you can use the presets as and when you find them throughout the story, this enables you to build your own from scratch. Building a deck with the cards was much easier than actually playing with them, and it was even more fun once I’d actually collected enough to make several themed decks.
Faeria requires an internet connection to play, even if you are playing single player. My 9-5 doesn’t have the best WiFi connection, meaning I simply can’t play on breaks. This isn’t much of an issue really, but does massively limit when you can play, especially if you’re like me, and like to game on transport or at work. The sheer amount of content will keep you going for a while, even if you go at a slow pace.