FusionPlay Heroes (NFC Cards and Android Device) Review

I’ve been sent a rather interesting new card game to take a look at from our friends at FusionPlay, the developers behind Konrad the Kitten which we reviewed earlier this year. It’s the world’s first mobile NFC card game which is a combination of physical NFC enabled action cards and an Android application which displays the outcome of your choices. Created as a “digital homage to classic fighting games of the 16-Bit era”, FusionPlay Heroes creates a seamless interaction between physical and digital to ensure every game you play is different from the last.

I’ll delve deeper into the mechanics of the game and how both components work, but if you want to pick up the game today, you can order it from here: https://www.getdigital.eu/Fusion-Play-Heroes-Smartphone-NFC-Card-Game.html

fusionplay heroes 1

Excuse my very old phone!

Before you begin, there is one requirement to play FusionPlay Heroes – you need to have an Android Device which has NFC reading capabilities and is on Android 4.0.3 or higher. As I’m an Apple guy, I had to dig out my very old HTC phone from a number of years back which luckily met all of the criteria I needed. The application side isn’t anything fancy – it doesn’t have 3d graphics or any intense sequences – so as long as your phone has the above, it will run the app just fine – regardless of how old it is or how small the screen is (mine is about 3.5 inches!)

There is a story which goes along with the FusionPlay Heroes card game, one which reminds me a little of Mortal Kombat if I’m being honest! The rather crazy, yet genius Dr. Sengenberg has been fiddling with the ‎Large Hadron Collider within the CERN laboratory. As he was being devious, he caused the device to create tiny black holes which sucked in various people and creatures from throughout time and space. These beings materialised within the lab and Sengenberg decided to make this more entertaining by only allowing the last standing to return to home. That’s right – it’s Battle Royale in card format as our four unlikely heroes fight to the death in this rather sad tale of survival against their will!

As with most card-based games (digital or physical), the story is presented in the insert which comes with the game but not brought up again at any point. The story is all for your own interpretation at the end of the day anyway as all it comes down to is a fight between the two heroes you choose.

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The contents of the box + expansions

What do you get in the pack?
The FusionPlay Heroes base game pack comes with two character cards (Donar and Sir. ShieldaLot) and their six action cards – so a total of 14 NFC enabled playing cards in total. You also get a short but sweet Game Manual and a Strategy Card which is used as a quick guide to what the various symbols on the cards mean. You also receive two rather ingenious ‘Smart Phone Trays’. These are two branded plastic stands with rubber legs which you place your phone on top of so you can easily slide your chosen card under the phone in order to be read by the NFC reader.

The base game also comes in a small metal tin so you can carry your cards around safely and in a container which won’t allow them to be accidentally scanned. I know this won’t be an issue in most places but here in the UK, some of our shops have NFC readers on the doors to catch thieves, so the case will block them from getting picked up if you’re carrying them around with you.

Also, if you wish to expand your collection and play with a few different characters, you can also buy two expansion packs to the game, Kim Oh No and Titchy & Snooks. Each pack comes with the same strategy guide as above and a new character card along with their six action cards. 

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The stand makes it easy to slide your cards under – faced down.

So, How does it work?
I won’t lie here, it took me a while to get my head fully around all the mechanics within FusionPlay Heroes but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll begin to have a lot of fun with it. My advice would be to leave the strategy guide pamphlet on the table as you play as it offers a lot of info on what each symbol means. So, what do you do?

First of all, both you and your opponent needs to pick a hero card, this can be any of the four characters, and then you scan them into your Android device after you’ve started up the app. Once you’ve both scanned in your chosen competitor, the app will show both of you along with a visualisation of your base Strength, Mental, Defence, and Dexterity as well as your current Health and Energy. The great thing about having a hybrid physical/digital game is that as the game goes on, the stats will alter on the screen to adjust to what the outcome of each round is. 

Next, you’ll be asked to pick your first card – this is where strategy comes into play and it’s also the part I got confused with at first. Unlike other card games like Pokemon or Magic the Gathering, FusionPlay Heroes doesn’t give away exactly what each card will do. For example, there is a card which states “you deliver a right hook to the opponent’s face” yet it has no number indicating how much damage it does. It does, however, have symbols which tell you it’ll do a medium attack which is increased based on your characters ‘attack’ yet reduced based on your opponent’s ‘defence’ and it will give you a slight buff to your overall defence as well. 

This is where the game gets really interesting as yeah, you only have six action cards per character, but over time the cards will deal different values of damage to your opponent. In the example above, if you’ve already used other cards which buffed your attack points or you’ve reduced the enemies defence, then the same attack will deal more damage. However, if the enemy has a buff in place to boost their defence, then this card won’t be anywhere near as effective. 

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The app updates with live stat changes and impact information.

What does the app do?
As described above, the app isn’t anything fancy, it’s more like the Games Master, it tells you what your current stats are and how much health and energy you have. Each card has a set energy required to use them, so you can’t just keep spamming the same card over and over or you’ll run out of energy quite fast! It also informs you what effect each card has based on the variations in your buffs and stats in comparison to your opponents and it shows you what the last three cards were which you scanned in.

The reason it shows the last three cards is because you can line up combos in FusionPlay Heroes. Each character card shows you three combos you can perform if you play certain cards in a set order. If done correctly and then you play your hero card, you will perform the super move and deal large amounts of damage or receive some big buffs. A combo can be blocked if your opponent plays their hero card in the same round you were about to play yours in order to initiate the combo. However, if they try to block you when you didn’t even play your combo then they will ‘pause’ their turn – this means they effectively sacrifice health for ‘energy’ and the amount they sacrifice increases with each wrongful block they make. 

Each of the characters has their own set of unique moves and combos yet overall there is no one player which is OP compared to the others. FusionPlay Heroes has been designed to be a fair game no matter who you choose to play as, it all comes down to skill and how you play the cards in terms of who is the better champion.

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You can’t really see it, but the web is embossed and the cards all feel high-quality.

Innovative design:
I know I mentioned this above, but the way the cards have been created and designed just shows how much care has gone into creating this game. Each card has a couple of embossed designs on them, one is the FusionPlay logo and the other is the actual image of the action itself. So in Titchy & Snooks (who’s a spider), you’ll notice the webbing on the cards protrudes the card and adds a bit of extra texture to the surface, Donar has embossed waves around his hammer and Sir ShieldaLot around his shield. There are other effects on the cards but you get my drift.

Also, as the game is meant to be played competitively, and you don’t want to give your opponent an advantage by seeing what card you’re about to play, all of a characters cards, including the hero card, have the same design on the back. That way, when you scan them into the phone upside down, your opponent doesn’t know what’s been played until you have both put your cards in. Another neat design choice, in a similar vein, is the way the app works. You can either have the app display both characters and their choices in a side-by-side fashion with the same orientation, or you can have it flipped so you both sit opposite each other and have the app auto flip your opponents display so it’s the right way up for them. 

I’ve gotta say, I really do like the two stands you get to raise your phone up as well as it’s something I wouldn’t have even thought of yet it works great when you’re playing as it holds the phone up at a perfect height. Oh, and the metal tin you get with the base game – it fits all four characters and all their cards, plus a strategy guide and the two stands perfectly.

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Each character has their own personality, yet a few like hitting you in the balls…

Personal Opinion:
I’m not a massive card collector/gamer these days, I used to play them all the time back in school and throughout my teenage years, but as life went on, I strayed away from card-based games and moved into my video games instead. I have tried many of the card-based games which made the jump to the digital platforms but none of them really grabbed my interest as I quickly got tired of Hearthstone and the Pokemon TCG. However, FusionPlay Heroes grabbed my attention and I ended up having a lot of fun playing the game, once I fully understood what I was doing! I got a few mates around and we spent a couple of hours playing through it and we were all surprised how even with a limited number of cards, every playthrough was different due to the digital aspect of the game. 

We also loved how the developers have managed to give each of the characters their own personality which comes across not only in the types of moves they perform but in their voices and reactions via the application – oh yeah, the app has voices for each of the characters and cards. Overall, it’s a very charming game which is sure to keep anyone entertained with its humorous illustrations and characters and it’s innovative take on the card-based game genre. 

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
FusionPlay Heroes is a really innovative combination of a physical card game being played with the aid of a digital Android app. The base game comes with everything you need for two players to begin ‘battling’ each other, yet two other characters are avaliable separately to purchase as well. Each card is beautifully designed and hides an NFC chip which is used in combination with the free Android application in order to play the game – as such, you need to ensure you have an NFC capable device running Android 4.0.3+

Due to the design of the overall mechanics, no two games will ever be the same and there is an infinite amount of combinations you can perform with the six action cards which are included for each character. If you’re looking for something different to play with your friends or family and have an Android device to hand – check out FusionPlay Heroes and see who will emerge the victor and win the chance to return home!

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The base game and expansions were kindly provided for review purposes

FusionPlay Heroes

8

Final Score

8.0/10

The Good:

  • Innovative design both digitally and physically
  • Works in a way to ensure no two games are the same
  • Will work on pretty much any Android device as long as it can read NFC and is above Android 4.0.3
  • Very interesting take on card-based gaming
  • The characters all have their own personality

The Bad:

  • Requires an Android device to play
  • Can be a little confusing at first

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