Pocket Paragons is that small space on the train table on a journey, that gap between drinks glasses in a pub, that small movable coffee table that is either gently lifted or dragged around the living room floor. It’s almost a microgame in terms of its size and takes the basic rock paper scissors mechanical genre to a newer place with special moves and finishers to wipe out your opponent. Play cards, add or remove life points or energy and then resolve any special actions.
Pocket Paragons is easy to set up and fairly straight forward to play. You’ll have your main character card that will give you clues on what strategy to use, and an ultimate power that you charge up as you play. On a round you and your opponent will decide which card they are playing, play that card and resolve. Certain cards have the ability to counter others in a rock paper scissors style which can trigger additional effects on the cards as well as charge up the amount of energy the player has. Each player usually has some kind of execute move, which if played when the other player is resting will win the game. Each deck comes with its own mini strategy that you are advised to follow if you plan to triumph, and it can take a bit of time to get used to them and how they play. As you get closer to emptying your hand, you’ll need to rest in order to replenish them which is always taking a chance if the other player manages to play their execute card and take you out. There’s not a huge amount of depth here, but that seems to be entirely intentional on Solis Studios part.
Either reduce you opponents life points down to zero or carry out a successful execute move while they are resting will win you the game.
Pocket Paragons is going to be one of those games that you’ll get lucky and be destroyed within five minutes or get even luckier and be locked into a longer battle due to the two characters you’ve decided to play with. The games I played lasted anywhere from around five to fifteen minutes and never feels like it overstays its welcome.
Pocket Paragons wants to be a short sharp shock of gaming that plays quickly and offers a level of longevity that you just wouldn’t experience in games of a similar size. The media pack contained a huge number of decks that was frankly a little bit overwhelming considering the range of play styles on offer. Pocket Paragons reminds me of learning a new Street Fighter game, where I end up picking a random character without knowing their moveset and simply diving in pressing buttons and flailing madly in the hope I land a hit. Sometimes the rock paper scissors mechanic will lead to a monumental game of back and forth as attacks are countered and special moves landed, whereas other decks will disappear back into the box until you can take the time to learn what makes them tick. There’s a surprising level of depth of strategy for how you win with some characters that will need revisited several times before you fully grasp how to play with them. I’m not entirely sure where Pocket Paragons audience is, as the very casual players among us might find some of the decks mechanically confusing. While more experienced gamers might find the short random gameplay a bit too random to want to dig their claws into it, especially if they’re used to some of the more established card battlers out there. My concerns with the game are more cosmetic than mechanical because even when the decks don’t work for you, you’ve not spent twenty minutes of your life waiting to find out you were going to struggle to win. Pocket Paragons aims to serve you up card battling Tapas in bite size chunks which with my gripes aside, it manages to do with a confidence that will endear it to players who want the battling without the extra faff.
This review is based on the media preview version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.
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