Trading card enthusiasts listen up! The developers of this 3D Free MMORPG put a very unique twist on trading card games. Cardmon Hero may very well be the one you’ve been looking for! With colorful anime inspired graphics, this free to play MMO comes complete with a sweet music score and surprisingly good voice acting.
Cardmon Hero not only offers you something a bit different, it also does a great job of finding those things that are present in many of the popular MMO’s on the market today and keeping the UI, gameplay, and overall experience one that players of all genres can enjoy. So let’s dive in and take a look at how Cardmon Hero rates in our eyes.
Breaking The Mold
T3 Entertainment took a very different approach to TCGs when they created this one. Currently published by Hanbitsoft, CardMon Hero was originally published by Uforia as Camon Hero. CardMon Hero was released as closed beta on November 10, 2010, and went to open beta on January 19, 2011. What sets this FTP apart from all other FTPTCGs, you ask? Well, CardMon Hero has an absolutely original take on card-based gameplay that sets it apart from all others.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that this MMO isn’t like any other trading card game out there. When creating your character—which is called a summoner—you are given the opportunity to choose your hairstyle, clothing style and face. While the character creation seems to be a bit lackluster, things get really interesting when you realize that there are no classes. I actually think this is a refreshing change of pace from gender locks and minimal class selections. Essentially, you are given the rare opportunity to create your own class.
Okay, I know what you’re asking yourself… How can you create your own class? CardMon operates on what’s called a free class system. There are a few other games out there with this unique approach, but not many. The free class systems have no conventional fixed classes. The choice is yours; you can take your character’s career in any direction you please.
So, what is the first step in the right direction for your character? Once you’ve created your character, then it’s time to choose your weapons. You are offered a selection of starting weapons to choose from and each weapon has its own accompanying skills. So essentially, your choice of weaponry determines what direction your character will take. When you are choosing your weaponry, consider your gaming style and how you like to war in PvP battles. While you are free to change your weapons later on (and thus, your skills) remember that you can only uses certain weapons according to the stats you have acquired during level advancement.
Shuffle Up and Deal
CardMon Hero is based on a novel card system that is quite simple to learn. Cards collected and saved in this game have various uses. Skill cards are generally found when questing. There are other methods of obtaining skill cards, such as visiting vendors of finding them as loot. Similar in many ways to weapons, a particular selection of skill cards are only available for use if you are in possession of the correct amount of stats.
The dynamic this creates is awesome; every time you switch your weapons, you’re switching your skill sets. And because multiple skills can be applied simultaneously, the combinations are infinite. This also means that you’ll always be prepared no matter the situation. The card combination system in CardMon gives you the ability to combine skills and upgrade them. In essence, you are creating your own cards.
Straight and Narrow
CardMon has really captured my attention because of its very creative gameplay methodology. Unfortunately, game progression in CardMon is very linear, and I find this to be a real letdown. The map is horseshoe shaped and divided into zones of progression. If you’re a gamer that enjoys the ability to explore, prepare to be disappointed. On a positive note, the linear layout ensures that CardMon is pretty much grind free and you won’t be left hanging and without direction.
No Welcome Mat
As you probably already know by now, I’m pro tutorial. I like to start a game with a warm welcome and some real hands-on training. CardMon has no tutorial… none. Where the developers made up for this was with the development of pop-ups for guidance. The in-game dialogue also serves to help train you. But really, there just isn’t a substitute for a proper tutorial.
The Real Game Changer
Okay, this is really the axis of CardMon; this is what the game is about. CardMon’s most unique feature is its pet system. Except, this time, your pet is actually a mercenary. Mercenaries are obtained through cards and are incredibly multipurpose.
As the summoner, your character can use mercenary cards that you have collected to summon a mercenary to assist in battle. As I mentioned, mercenaries are multipurpose and have more uses than simply attacking for you. There are tank mercenaries, mercenaries that heal, and some that buffer just to name a few.
Once summoned, mercenaries are not constantly with you. They are available for a period of a few minutes and then require time to catch their breath. The use of most mercenaries also requires arc stones. A special loot, arc stones can be found when disassembling a weapon or fighting enemies. Cards are available to upgrade your mercenary, however they will increase levels with your character. Some people may find the permanent cards frustrating because you can use the healing and mercenary regeneration cards constantly; this can result in quick level progression.
Movin’ On Up
Gameplay progression and possession of cards, experience and loot is achieved through battles, quests and instances. Starting around level 20, you are able to play various PvP modes. The PvP modes in CardMon are unique as well with games including water balloon fights! The range of PvP options is wide with modes for 1 on 1 to teams of 16 vs 16. So if you’re a PvP fan, there’s plenty for you to do!
Something that does bug me is the ability for players to enter a PvP match at any time. This means that you’ve been working to get put your team in the lead and some random guy will pop in at the last minute, join your team, and reap the same hard-earned rewards as the rest of your team. Not cool. I’ve experienced it and quite frankly, it makes me want to throw something at ‘em. With that being said, prepare yourself for a little frustration.
I also enjoy the hunting modes where you are nicely rewarded. The hunting modes are reminiscent of instanced dungeons and give you spare lives. So, if you die, you respawn and keep on fighting. At the completion of a hunting mode, you receive a rating and reward. Many times you are rewarded with a chest containing rare items.
Unique Cash Shop
I think for the first time I can actually say that I’m very, genuinely impressed with the developers in regards to the cash shop. So many times you feel sucked in to the item mall, forced to purchase items to progress in gameplay or at the very least, make your character somewhat unique. The CardMon Hero developers have stated that they are more interested in working out the kinks and improving game play than they are with the cash shop. What a nice change of pace! Seriously! Many people feel that the cash shop is where the developers make their living. Others believe that it’s with the advertising. Either way, it’s obvious that these developers have their priorities straight and their heart in the right place!
The Final Word
Ultimately, I really like CardMon Hero. Yes, hearing the developers say what they did in regards to the cash shop made me a bit bias; I’m not gonna lie. However, despite the linear gameplay design, there really is a lot of depth to this FTPMMO. I like the original card-based gameplay and the card casting animations are fun.
Now you probably noticed that I didn’t spend any time telling you about the graphics. That’s very unlike me and there’s a reason why… While I like the use of color, the visuals have a very dated feel and the graphic settings are minimal. They really made me feel kind of blah. I enjoy old school gaming and look past those graphics because they take me back, but I expect more from a modern game, FTP or otherwise.
Would I recommend CardMon Hero? Absolutely! It really is a blast to play. The variety in gameplay keeps the action coming. It really appeals to all different gamers, though there is a bit more solo play in CardMon. I think that the lack of a sound tutorial that covers the game system and offers tips really sets this game back. I also think that the control systems leave a bit to be desired. But, as I mentioned before, it’s obvious that the developers care. They listen to what the gamers have to say and openly welcome feedback. And that, my friend, is priceless! So until next time, game on!