Urban Rivals, by developer Boostr, is somewhere between a collectible card game and a board game, but no matter how you slice it, it’s an iPhone app that is a lot of fun. If you’re a fan of cardboard style collectibles, or of massively online multiplayer experiences with a global focus, Urban Rivals is the perfect (and free) iPhone app for you.
Concept and Gameplay
As stated, Urban Rivals is most analogous to classic collectible card games from your childhood, though with heavy online RPG elements mixed in. In game, players control an army of characters, which act as virtual avatars for their masters, duking it out turn-based style with online competitors. As players compete, their characters gain experience points and levels, obtaining new powers and better abilities. In this sense, the game offers a lot of roleplaying potential, as well as an instant drive to play just one more match.
The game mechanic itself is excellent, and reminiscent of rock-paper-scissors: Players are given so many attack points per round to allocate to their roster. These points add up to damage, and if the player’s toon bests their opponent’s, damage is done to the loser’s life points. Each unit comes with their own special abilities, as well as a clan bonus that clashes or is negated by the enemy card.
It’s a fun concept, and one that’s complimented by a truly massive list of available characters. There are currently 500 available across the entire game, each with their own statistics and quirks. Users can only select eight at a time to keep in their deck, but with so much potential for leveling up, it’s a wonder fans of Urban Rivals ever see the light of day.
The game does require an internet connection, but even with one present, I occasionally found myself bumped out of a match. These bugs were infrequent, but very troubling when encountered.
Design and Layout
Urban Rivals features one of the coolest card game layouts we have ever seen on the iPhone. The combat system is flawless, and managing characters in the user’s roster could not be simpler. A great amount of effort has obviously gone into making the game look gorgeous on the iPhone’s Retina display, and the end result is an eye-candy rich experience.
Collecting new characters can be a bit of a paint, though, especially for newcomers. There are multiple game modes that encourage leveling toons, but if users want to jump straight into the fray, they’ll still need to fork out a few dollars for a bonus pack of characters.
Urban Rivals is a lot of fun, and as a free app in the App Store, fans of MMORPGs and CCGs alike will find a lot to love about the app for a very low price. The game isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly one of the smoothest experiences we’ve ever seen on the device.
Urban Rivals requires iOS 3.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone app reviews rating: