Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is the latest entry into the digital Magic TCG series of games. While some may be put-off by not having the cards physically in their hands (something which would usually bother me) the digital version is able to make up for the lack of physical cards with some very cool features…

Trading card games have been going for 20 to 30 years now, and Magic: The Gathering is one of the oldest, if not the oldest of all these games. While the game may have lost some of its fans to competing card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon, the game has maintained a large core fanbase and bounced back in recent years to increase the size of its fanbase. While the digital releases of these games will probably never feel quite the same as holding that genuine rare card physically in your hand, we are coming closer and closer to making up for that loss with the benefits the digital version can offer in lieu.

We have reviewed some Magic content in the past, but, we will still give a preview introduction to the game in order to familiarize a few more people with the game. Magic consists of players placing land, and then ‘tapping’ that land in order to play creatures. The more land you have to ‘tap’, the more powerful creatures you can play. These creatures can then attack, and your opponent can choose to block your attack with their creatures (if they have any). You must attempt to bring your opponents life points to 0 using continuous attacks, supplemented by additional cards which may add something like an item to boost attack power of creatures, or reduce the attack power of an enemy creature, for example.

So, the first benefit to the digital version is the first thing you will meet; tutorials. Obviously, with physical cards, interactive tutorials are not a possibility, however, through the digital versions, players can learn quickly and effectively through the included interactive tutorials and in that way, the digital version becomes a great resource for beginners. So, as you work your way through the single player campaign, the game will offer tips for effective strategies to help you get acquainted with the game. Unlike in real life, with the digital version of the game, you do not need to worry you are using a card wrong, making a mistake in your calculations or keep count of life points; the system can take care of that for you, as you would expect. This, as subtle as it may sound, really makes the game more enjoyable and connected.

There are a number of new game modes in Magic 2014, such as ways in which you are given some random booster packs and are asked to make a deck from it – but then the impressive bit kicks in; the computer is able to inform you how powerful, balanced and effective your deck will be, and will help you adjust it, or even choose the best cards for you. This is a very helpful feature which will give new players a great idea on how to build an effective, balanced deck if they decide to move on to the physical card version. Just on the topic of physical cards, there is another advantage the digital version brings; connection. While Magic might still maintain a large fanbase, the fans can be quite difficult to find, and so there are no experienced players with whom you can have a game. The digital version of course allows you to connect up with random players, some of whom you might become friendly with and play with again in the future. The digital version, in that sense, makes it very easy to organise a game – much more so than in reality.

The digital version of Magic 2014 is especially helpful for beginners to the Magic world; but don’t let that discourage regular players – there are a lot of other benefits to playing the digital version, which is available at the price of just $9.99/€9.99, an incredible steal! While I will admit that it just doesn’t have the same feeling as the physical cards, the benefits it offers over physical play make up for this. The game is a fantastic buy, so if you want to start playing Magic or if you are a fan, you’ll definitely want to hit purchase!