My love for the Unmatched series of games from Restoration Games is already well-known… at least if you’ve been reading my reviews here on the OG over the years. I wrote an extensive review of the system back in 2020… and then followed it up in 2021 with a review of the next couple of boxes released.
I’ve been a bit more cautious about reviewing the newest boxes (Battle of Legends Volume II and the Marvel sets) as my sons and I were playtesters for those sets… but I’ll get to that at some point. (Short version: Volume II is really great; the Marvel sets are cool but I prefer the plethora of heroes from across mythology and history. That said, I’m waiting for Squirrel Girl to show up – she was a blast to playtest.)
But that’s not we’re here to talk about, is it? Instead, the digital implementation of the Unmatched combat system went live yesterday on Steam (in Early Access mode). And I’m going to spend a bit of time giving you my impressions of it as a rabid Unmatched fan!
The App Itself
While there may a few too many clicks involved, the icongraphy is clear and the play of the game translates really well into the Steam form. Restoration Games & Acram (the online developer) have maintained the same high quality on the cards & board that complement the already solid game system.
My griping about the clicks is really just that – griping. The multiple click points keep you from making a mistake in your card play or movement. Similarly, the game has a “take back” feature for moves that aren’t dependent on the turn of a card or the result of a battle, which is always appreciated for online gaming.
I managed to muddle through the lobby system and get in a couple of games against real live opponents. before discovering where the instructions were hidden. There are options for timed games as well as live games… and the option to password lock your game so only your friend/opponent/mortal enemy can join you for a match. (BTW, the instructions are not really hidden
I was pleasantly surprised that the music, the small bits of voice work, and the animations didn’t detract from the experience. (Too often, app design work clutters up the game space with things to make it “visually and aurally exciting” that get in the way of gameplay – not true here!)
Playing the AI
The AI mode – even on an easy setting – was a decent opponent. I look forward to jousting against the more difficult AI settings.
My single concern about the AI is the speed at which it makes decisions… it can sometimes, well, have AP (analysis paralysis). The game still functions exactly as it should – but it’s like playing with that guy from your game group who wants to think through the implications of each card in his hand before playing one.
If I got three wishes to improve the app, here’s what I’d wish for. (“And ixnay on the wishing for more wishes. That’s it. Three. Uno, dos, tres. No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.”)
- Make “live” games one at a time – where the opposing player can’t be playing 2 or 3 other games at the same time and leave you hanging.
- Figure out how to get the AI to move at a faster clip.
- Hurry up and put more content in there for those of us who love the wild variety of heroes and boards.
The Good News
This is just the Early Access release for Steam… the app will also be coming to iOS, Android, and Switch and will support cross-platform play!
Want to know more? Check it out on Steam!
The quote is from The Genie in the Disney classic, ALADDIN.