Warhammer: Arcane Magic

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Warhammer: Arcane Magic Game Poster Image
Not-so-magical combat card game is all show, no substance.

Parents say

Not yet rated

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive messages

There's a basic idea of fighting against evil creatures but not much explanation as to why fighting started, continues.

Positive role models & representations

Players' wizards aren't necessarily presented as heroic or even "good." In fact, half the wizards aren't even given names. Instead, more like they're simply not as blatantly evil as creatures they fight.

Ease of play

While seemingly simple, mechanics are a convoluted mess. Tutorial only walks player through commands of one specific game without really explaining how it applies to future games.

Violence

Fantasy violence between humans, supernatural creatures. Players, enemies use spells, melee attacks, sometimes with effects such as setting each other on fire. There's no extensive gore, but creatures, spell effects could be too much for young gamers.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Based on popular Warhammer franchise, specifically Warhammer Fantasy series, other tabletop games, video games, other licensed merchandise. Also pushes in-game transactions, charging users real money to access roughly half available heroes, packs of virtual cards to help expand players' abilities.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Warhammer: Arcane Magic is a downloadable hybrid trading card and tactical strategy game. Players take control of wizards who battle various demons, creatures, and other evil characters in turn-based combat. The characters fight with medieval and supernatural weapons, sometimes using fire, poison, or elements in their spells. The violence is frequent but light on blood and gore. The game is set within the popular Warhammer Fantasy franchise and also encourages using real money purchased to bolster the gaming experience.

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What's it about?

Deep in the forests of the Old World and the Chaos Wastelands, a war is raging between the arcane spellcasters of the Warhammer universe and demonic forces eager to take over. In WARHAMMER: ARCANE MAGIC, players create their own legend as a wizard from the lore of Warhammer, or they take control of one of its legendary characters. Players customize decks of cards, representing their spellcrafting arsenal. On the battlefield, they'll face down evil creatures, from lesser minions such as Harpies and Ghorgons, to Greater Daemons such as the Lords of Change and the Keepers of Secrets. Players reap the rewards from battle, earning new spells and artifacts, building their strength, and ultimately freeing the world from the grip of darkness.

Is it any good?

The Warhammer Fantasy franchise has always been rich with characters and lore, laying the foundation for epic stories and grand adventures. Unfortunately, that doesn't carry over to Warhammer: Arcane Magic. Originally released as a mobile game, Arcane Magic feels like it had a lot of potential that it just never lives up to. From a visual standpoint, the actual gameplay looks great. Plus, the general mechanics are pretty solid. Unfortunately, that's not enough to make up for an almost anemic level of content.

Right from the start, the experience feels a bit empty. For starters, while technically telling players what to do in the tutorial, it falls short of ever explaining much about how to play. Then, once you finish, you run headlong into the game's "pay to play" model. Players can create teams of up to three wizards to take into battle but only start with two generic ones. Three other generic characters can be only unlocked after you play through a substantial chunk of the story, bringing the total number available to five. There are four other wizards available -- legendary characters from the Warhammer lore, but to use any of them, players have to shell out real money. By the same token, players can endlessly grind matches to earn a few coins to upgrade their decks with card packs, but to have a chance of really building anything worthwhile, they'll have to spend cash in-game to buy better card packs. And the icing on the cake? The only reason players have to upgrade their characters or decks is to fight against the same computer opponents over and over. A game like this is aching for some sort of multiplayer component, but like most of the Warhammer: Arcane Magic experience, it's sorely lacking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in entertainment. Does fantasy violence with magic have any less of an impact than more realistic forms of violence portrayed in some forms of entertainment?

  • Talk about types of gaming. What are some other types of gaming besides video games? What are some of the positives about, for example, card games and board games?

Game details

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For kids who love role-playing games

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