New video details Kard Combat’s gameplay

If you’re among the throngs of card-based gamers who are eagerly awaiting the worldwide release of Kard Combat, Hothead Games has put together a new video the whet your appetites even further. The game’s producer Hamish Millar (read Gamezebo’s interview with him here) has put together a nice little 4 minute video walking viewers through the basics of Kard Combat‘s gameplay – and Gamezebo readers are getting the first look!

Hothead Games is still remaining tight-lipped about an international release date, but gamers in Canada can still grab an early look by following the iTunes Canada link here. Don’t worry though – Hothead tells us that things still seem to be on track for Kard Combat to release worldwide sometime this month.

Kard Combat: An upcoming iPhone card battler from Hothead Games

Card combat games are something of a niche market on the App Store, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their devoted followings. Shadow Era managed to knock our socks off when it was released earlier this year, with more than a few of us on the Gamezebo staff still playing the game regularly. And while not quite as impressive, releases like Orions 2, DeckMake Fantasy, and Battle for Gundabad have shown that card combat is a genre that’s just waiting to explode on the iPhone. The aptly title Kard Combat might just be the game that’s ready to light that explosion.

Developer Hothead Games have teamed with Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield to create Kard Combat, a game that’s as much a successor to their previous PC release Spectromancer as Spectromancer was to 2002’s Astral Tournament.

Kard Combat Kard Combat

Players in Kard Combat will take up the role of a wealthy mage vying for control of the Black Tower, a position from which they can rule the entirety of the forbidden kingdom. With each floor of the tower they climb, they’ll duel a different mage in card combat who, upon defeat, will provide players with new cards and items to help them on their journey.

Gameplay here is fairly unique, with both cards and characters possessing hit points. Players will spend five different kinds of mana on five different factions of cards, and these mana points will let them select cards to put into play. Players will need to defeat any cards directly across from them before they’ll be able to damage their opponent, and the first player whose hit points drop to zero loses.

In addition to the single player campaign, Kard Combat will also feature a free online multiplayer mode that will let gamers duel against each other in real time.

We’ve recently had a chance to go hands on with a Canada-only early release of Kard Combat, and we definitely liked what we’ve seen. The card art here is stunning – easily among the best we’ve seen in an iPhone card game. And the gameplay is unique enough that few would confuse it with Garfield’s past monster-success, Magic: The Gathering.

Unlike Magic, Kard Combat isn’t a collectable card game by any means. With only 120 cards in the deck, the challenge lies not in owning the right cards but in knowing what to do with the cards you’re dealt. The emphasis here is on strategy, not shilling out money on booster packs.

Kard Combat Kard Combat

Kard Combat Kard Combat

Still, that’s not to say there aren’t in-app purchases to be made. In fact, Kard Combat seems to be freemium in the truest sense of the word. With only five levels of the main campaign available for each mage to play initially, players will need to purchase individual mages (also available bundled together) if they want to face all 33 battles in the campaign mode. Likewise, there’s an in-app option to let you unlock every card and item in the game should you want to be fully prepared for multiplayer without spending time in the single player campaign. Multiplayer itself, however, as well as a single player Duel mode that mimics it, will remain free.

Gamers who are itching for another great card game to call their own won’t have to wait long. Kard Combat will be available worldwide by the end of June/early July.