A new app just arrived in both the Google Play store and the Amazon Appstore , and no, it’s not another “life counter.” It’s Magic 2014, subtitled “Duels of the Planeswalkers,” which for the past few years was the main title of Wizards of the Coast’s PC and console game series.
Magic 2014 is a faithful representation of the offline Magic: the Gathering card game, and lets players unlock new cards and decks by defeating characters from the game’s setting. So with its debut this year on Android, you can finally duel pyromancer Chandra Nalaar on your Kindle Fire.
New this year
Features which are new to the 2014 Magic video game include sealed deck mode, which lets you build your own deck from randomized packs of cards the way players do it at sealed tournaments. There is also a campaign mode featuring a story which spans the planes of the multiverse, and the game features the cards from the new 2014 core set of in-person Magic cards — including 10 new Sliver creatures.
Not the first tablet version
Originally on PC (through Steam), Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, the Duels of the Planeswalkers series made the jump to mobile when its iPad version debuted last year. The Android version will run on tablets as small as the 7-inch Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, although it is limited to local multiplayer via Bluetooth.
The Android version of Magic 2014 would technically run on smartphones as well, but many gamers complained of crashes and tiny, unreadable text. The game’s entry in Google Play now says it cannot be installed on my (older) smartphone.
Magic 2014 is a free download from Google Play, but you only get a demo version that way. The full game must be unlocked through a $9.99 in-app purchase. This purchase is good for all subsequent installations, however, and unlocks the entire game … although there are plenty of smaller purchases on offer if you want more cards to play with, or to unlock full decks faster.
Different from Magic Online
Magic Online is Wizards of the Coast’s Windows PC-only online digital game, which is meant to simulate the offline card game as closely as possible. Instead of unlocking new decks and cards by beating computer-controlled opponents, you pay money to buy cards just like you would at the store, and then play against other people online. With pay-to-enter tournaments that offer card prizes, Magic Online is much more expensive to get into than Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers, and is not as accessible to the new Magic: the Gathering player.