The Warhammer series brings another card game into the mobile gaming space with Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf, an interesting squad-based strategy card game that’s free to play. It’s full of intriguing content, but you will eventually find that you’ll have to pony up to enjoy it to the fullest.
This turn-based deck builder finds you taking turns attacking other players until a goal is met or you reach an objective on the map. With multiple objectives to complete, there are several goals to finish out with each level, and with each new squad member you’re dealt a new hand of cards. You can play 2 cards per round, and the cards range from weapon and gear, as well as providing movement.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the game than simply selecting and playing cards. There’s a deep and intricate strategy system here that you’ll need to take some time to appreciate. Luckily, it’s simple to learn and control, and the touch controls make it very easy to get into the game in a manner that isn’t immersion-breaking or frustrating to those just starting.
However, there are some strange aspects to Space Wolf that are a bit difficult to understand. For instance, you must take aim and shoot right through your enemies; you can’t move through them. And despite how small the maps are, even your long-range weapons don’t feel very effective. Some maps can feel downright cramped, and the attack radius of several weapons don’t allow you a lot of freedom.
In a game that wants you to use one or two buttons to complete most actions, there are some that take several taps, and this interrupts the flow of gameplay. Also, the aspect that seems par for the course in these types of games as of late is a free-to-play layer that will undoubtedly frustrate you. At some stages you’ll feel forced into upgrading and buying premium content simply to pass a level. When faced with such frustrating roadblocks, it’s pretty obvious what the layman player is going to do — and it isn’t “spend $20 on new content.”
Space Wolf is a gorgeous and full-featured card-based strategy game with layers upon layers of finesse that fans of the Warhammer 40K universe will no doubt eat up. However, it relies on a hefty amount of “buy Y to do X” sensibilities, so if you can’t get behind that, you might be better off with another strategy game.