Orions 2 in Review – The deck masters are back with a vengeance!

Back in my university days, I used to be a huge fan of Magic The Gathering, probably the most well-known and successful Collectable Card Game ever. It always provided an excellent way to pass the time during those boring lectures and it was something to do in-between them as well. I have abandoned it since, unfortunately, mainly because of lack of time. But it seems the iOS is likely to change that, with some superb CCG type games appearing on the platform the last few months. The most recent of which is actually a sequel to a rather successful iOS release from a couple of years ago — Orions: Legend Of Wizards (TMA Review) — and is rather unimaginably titled Orions 2.

Orions 2 is a deep Collectable Card Games with some RPG and Turn-Based Strategy elements thrown on top.  The game takes place in the world of Orions – a group of magical islands floating in the midst of nothingness. Good and evil are fighting over dominance over the islands, each coalition putting forward their best sorcerers from one of the 6 elemental schools. Unfortunately this epic struggle is not supported by any kind of true campaign.

Whatever else is strapped on top, the essence of Orions is card based combat. Each turn you can cast a spell, whether it is summoning a creature into one of the 5 placeholders or a special effects one. Each spell costs a certain number of elemental mana, depending on its domain and level. Mana gets randomly added each turn, negating the need for careful resource management and making the game much more accessible to newcomers to the genre. Each school of magic has about a couple dozen cards, making for a substantial selection and deep tactical possibilities.

Another concession to making the game more accessible to the casual player is the absence of “hands”, with all cards in the deck accessible anytime. To balance this feature the cards in your deck can be used only once, and if you run out, you’ll need to resupply. You can get more cards at the nearby orion, depending on the amount of crystals you have and the buildings, constructed on the islands you own, or as a reward for defeating an enemy wizard. The crystals themselves are earned only through special buildings on the orions.

In addition to facing the enemy AI you can go on the internet and choose a flesh ‘n blood opponent over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, or even hot-device pass ‘n play. The graphics haven’t changed from the original game minus new cards, and while being rich and lovingly drawn, look somewhat outdated on the iPhone 4’s Retina display.

If you couldn’t get enough of the original or are looking forward to getting a taste of the CCG genre on your iOS device, Orions 2 won’t disappoint. The deep tactical gameplay and the wide range of cards available offer unparalleled replayability, dented only by the tedious resource and card management in the campaign mode. The online component, however, further remedies the situation, opening up a huge world of worthy opponent for you to pitch your skills against. If only more attention had been devoted to polishing the graphics and the out-of-combat aspects of the game, Orions 2 would have not only been the best CCGs on the App Store, but also one of the best games overall.

With this I declare Orions 2 officially touched!

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Orions 2Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:3.0
Price:$2.99App Size:29.02MB
  • A LOT of different cards
  • Rich graphics
  • Balanced combat
  • Online match-ups
  • No story-driven campaign
  • Tedious resource management
  • Outdated graphics
  • Not much change from the original

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