More like a slight breeze

Winds of Destiny – Duels of the Magi is one of the most straightforward games I’ve ever played. Seriously, the game is on par with Checkers as far as complexity goes. A single match in Winds of Destiny can be completed in minutes, and the entire single-player game can be knocked out within a half-hour or so. Best of all, the game’s brevity comes without penalty. It’s clear that the developer, Stupidgizmo, realized the key to a good smartphone game is succinct gameplay, and they capitalized on that knowledge here completely.

Players start the game out by choosing a guardian from one of three class types: healer, protector, and “damage.” There are eight guardians in total, and the only difference between them (apart from varying cosmetically) is that every character possesses a special ability which can be activated during battle. Once a guardian is selected, players meet Custos, the leader of the guardians! Custos introduces himself and it is quickly apparent that his own special ability is conjuring up walls of text out of thin air.

Winds of Destiny - Duels of the Magi

Once Custos’ history lesson is over, players are plopped right into their first battle. There is no tutorial in Winds of Destiny. In lieu of a tutorial, Stupidgizmo uploaded a video onto YouTube that runs through the basics of the game. The video is linked on the main menu, which is inaccessible during gameplay: a fact I discovered straightaway. I found myself starring at a hand of cards, some with numbers, some with pictures, and I had no idea what to do.

Luckily for me, and probably the good chunk of players who failed to see the tutorial link on the main menu, Winds of Destiny is really easy to figure out. At the start of each turn, players choose three cards from the hand which has been randomly drawn. If the player selected three numbered cards, the numbers are added together and that is how much damage is dealt to the opponent.

Some cards have images on them. Using a card with a green potion on it restores health, using a shield card adds damage mitigation, and a book card fuels the guardian’s special ability. A vigilant player will be able to chain attacks together by matching the damage output from the previous turn. So if I dealt six damage in my first turn, and then select cards that add up to six in my second turn, my attack will actually deal slightly more damage. That is all there is to Winds of Destiny.

Winds of Destiny - Duels of the Magi

There is no deck management, no character customization, nothing but the basics. Players who find enough challenge in tackling the game’s three difficulty settings will find plenty of replay value within Winds of Destiny. Players who need a more customizable carrot-on-a-stick are better off looking elsewhere. The reward for beating the single-player game was a quick little cutscene and a front-row seat to the end game credits. Old man Custos weaved such an epic tale of the exciting life of a guardian, and right when I finally earned my title of Guardian, the game ended.

While it was disappointing to learn that my adventure with Admiral Frolan was over before I even realized it began, I hesitate to penalize Winds of Destiny. The game, as a whole, is an easy-to-play card game that was made to be played over and over by a variety of players. Stupidgizmo just happened to coat that enjoyable card game with colorful graphics and a tease of an epic adventure. Had the characters and the story not been included in the game, Winds of Destiny would have been just another impersonal card game. 

Winds of Destiny - Duels of the Magi

Apart from the single-player mode, players can partake in single battles with their favorite Guardians and collect stats for each character. Beyond those two options (story mode and single battles) there is nothing else to do in the game. The multiplayer mode is basically nonexistent. There is a matchmaking service available but I was never able to connect with any other players, which I attribute to a low user base. If two friends have Winds of Destiny they can connect directly to one another on their own devices. Unfortunately a local mode is unavailable, making pass-and-play impossible when it easily could have been included.

Winds of Destiny – Duels of the Magi is a simple card game that some players may find to be too basic. Other players, however, might find the game’s simplicity to be the best part.