Mystic Vale Grows onto Steam – Early Access

We heard back in June that Nomad Games would be doing a number of Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) titles.

These titles included Cat Lady (recently released this month during my blog hiatus), Space Base (an awesome game), and the card-crafting game Mystic Vale.

Imagine my surprise when I heard from the illustrious Stately Play site (really, the luster just shines!) that Mystic Vale has hit Steam in Early Access.

That was welcome news to a lot of fans (including me, who had played it once and really wanted to try it again). 

Of course, “early access” means that while it’s certainly playable and everything, there could definitely be bugs. You may essentially be beta testing it (though it’s probably past that stage, there will still be issues with it I’m sure).

It all makes sense…eventually

Since this is basically a News post and not any kind of review (or even first impression), I’m not going to give a great big description of how the game plays, but basically you will be playing cards from your hand until you have three Blight symbols. You leave the last card on top of your deck face-up.

On your turn, you can either play with the energy and symbols shown on what you’ve played in front of you, or you can “push” by playing the top card on your deck (which you know already has a blight symbol) and revealing the next card. If it also has a blight symbol, then you’ve “spoiled” your turn and you don’t get to do anything. If it doesn’t have a blight symbol, then you have the same decision to make: “push or stay”?

The cards consist of clear “sleeves” that are either completely blank or have one third of the card taken up by the symbols in the game. You’ll use energy produced each turn to buy more “sleeves” that have symbols on different parts of the sleeve. You’ll put these together with a card that you’ve played this turn, essentially “crafting” a new card.

One of those cards is complete!

I’ll save the rest of the description for any review I may eventually do (Editor – Spoilsport).

I have to say that it does look pretty good. The cards are really nicely-rendered, if a bit fuzzy. They’re not totally crisp, but still definitely look nice.

I’ve played a couple of games of it so far to try it out, and it needs some interface improvements, feedback which I assume Nomad Games is getting already.

In a game against other AI players, it’s not exactly intuitive how to see what the AI player did. Of course, one of the conceits of the Mystic Vale game is that you basically deal out your cards in front of you at the end of your turn. You can always click on the AI’s symbol to see what’s played in front of them.

However, you can’t see whether they pushed or not. All you get to see is what the AI player buys.

Secondly, and most importantly right now, the game desperately needs a tutorial.

There is some semblance of an incomplete one (I received two pop-ups that told me about how playing the cards work), but you don’t get any idea of what all the symbols mean, how a tree symbol actually cancels one blight, or what those big cards are at the top of the screen and why you would want them (hint: they’re end-game scoring cards or cards that will give you benefits during the game)

That “Learn to Play” button looks strangely dim…

There may be one coming soon, and I hope there is.

If you’re not going to have a tutorial, you really need either a rulebook or a link to the rulebook somewhere.

The game plays pretty smoothly, or at least in the two games I played. Once I figured out (or remembered) what the symbology means, it was a pretty good experience.

Overall, for an early access game, Mystic Vale is well-refined already.

Some issues definitely, but as long as they’re all fixed while in early access, I think Nomad Games and AEG have a real winner on their hands.

Mystic Vale is available on Steam for $10 US ($11.49 CDN, so we Canadians get a deal on the exchange rate!).

Again, it’s early access, so take that for what’s it worth. Don’t come back to me complaining that it’s buggy mess.

3 Comments on “Mystic Vale Grows onto Steam – Early Access

  1. Pingback: App Review – Mystic Vale – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  2. Pingback: News to Catch Up On – Dude! Take Your Turn!

  3. Pingback: Mystic Vale App Gets Stormy With Mana Storm Expansion – Dude! Take Your Turn!

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