WASD Coverage April 2024 - Inferni: Hope and Fear

Article by Adam Ray

It's no secret to any recurring reader here on Fantastic Universes knows I love card games. Whether it's talking about card games on the Fantastic Universes Podcast or even virtual or paper card games on this blog, I love card games. The only other genre that even comes close is tabletop roleplay.

The newly formed Village Studio have taken a genre I love, a genre I've dabbled with with fondness, and given it some retro polish. Inferni Hope & Fear is the world's first battle royale card game.

The battle royale genre has been dominated by games like Apex Legends and Fortnite since their releases, but the style of gameplay is still seen here in this game. Sure card gamers may consider mutliplayer formats like Magic's Commander or Flesh and Blood's Ultimate Pit Fight to be battle royale like. This game seeks to bring the battle royale experience to the card game genre.

In Inferni, you play as one of a small pool of different class of battle mage, slinging spells in the form of cards to buff allies and harm enemies. Players spawn in pairs, and take on three other enemy pairs. Last person (or team) standing wins. Simple, right?

The main battle mechanic is done with cards. Each character class has a roughly unique deck. To play a card, you drag the card to the player you want to target, then wait for the timer to cool down. Once it's at zero, the spell flies out to the intended character, and you can go about casting your next spell. Always be casting. I had the pleasure of talking with the team at WASD about Inferni, and they had confirmed there was an incrementally growing mana system in this game which they handily did away with. In an action economy gaming space, the timer mechanic just feels more natural.

There are many factors going for Inferni that really resonate with a seasoned Magic player such as myself. Of course, the art and card design is all reminiscent of 90s Magic, and the gameplay elements are heavily influenced by the team's love of Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh. The big call is that there's even a Draft phase that happens three times a match. The cards get progressively stronger over the course of the match, and the Draft works just like one you'd find in many TCGs: picking a card, passing the pack along, and waiting impatiently as player 5 takes forever with a queue building up. Cos some things don't change.

Moreover, they give the game an unlikely and retro aesthetic by having the characters and maps all look very polygonal and like Runescape Heroes. Simply because members of their team were directly involved in the lengthy process of porting Runescape over to mobile.

Inferni is a blend of things I deeply love all converging into something wildly new and deeply exciting. It's a game I intend to play heavily along my main roster of digital card games. You can add Inferni to your Steam Wishlist right now and expect Fantastic Universes to make even more content about it as the game develops.


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