John Cena, I choose you!
One of the recurring thoughts I had while playing WWE SuperCard was that the game’s developers deserve a pat on the back. Not because they’ve handcrafted a be-all-end-all card battler, nor because they’ve innovated all that much. It’s not even as if SuperCard is some must-have collector’s dream that die-hard wrestling aficionados will play into the wee hours of the morning.
Instead, SuperCard understands the mildly farcical nature of its likely concise design documents, and builds itself up accordingly. The game is not terribly complex, but you do get to collect goofy pictures of shiny, muscular men, and witness playing cards physically fight each other in a mock WWE ring. I mean that literally, by the way—the cards themselves waddle around and fight. That should give you an idea of the tone WWE SuperCard is going for.
SuperCard has two modes, a standard Exhibition and King of the Ring. The former is basically a one-off encounter against another real-life player’s deck of bronzed brawlers, while the latter is more like the franchise or season mode you’d find in a typical sports title. Completionists will want to spend most of their time with King of the Ring (it’s the best and quickest way to get rare cards), but for most players, Exhibition will probably be your main jam. I don’t know about you, but for me this is a game I’ll whip out on the train or at the doctor’s office, rather than as a prolonged gaming session.
So how does one go about building an unstoppable WWE army of digital rectangular paper? Well, the answer lies in the cards themselves. Cards have stats, as you’d expect, and the Strength, Speed, and Toughness of your selected superstars will be the determining factors in the outcome of a given match. Each encounter is divided into rounds, with each round sporting a particular stat-based theme. As commander you’ll decide which Superstars, Divas, and Legends are sent into battle when, and as you develop your strategy you should be able to anticipate the opponent’s move effectively. As a casual fan, I had a rough time with the Diva battles, because despite the stats to help out, I still had no idea who most of them were. With the more familiar wrestlers, I could at least go with my gut or make a guess. WWE fans probably won’t have this problem.
There are item cards to play as well, and if your matchup in, say, the Strength round is looking rough, you can play a chair to subtract 7 Strength points from the opponent. There are also ladders and tables to smash opponents with, and if you thought inanimate cards beating on each other was funny, just wait until you get a load of inanimate cards of inanimate objects doing the same. The humor wears thin quickly, but the mechanics themselves should be solid enough to keep you coming back, even if it’s just in short intervals for quick exhibition matches.
After a while the fun of SuperCard shifts mainly to collecting all the cards, and when you get your first Legend card, I’ll admit—it’s exciting. Some legends will actually be the same wrestlers you’ve already found (there’s both a “common” and “rare” version of Hulk Hogan, for example), but the rarer cards are always more powerful and more useful to you in the long run. I imagine the bigger a WWE fan you are, the more often you’ll be pumped up over a new card. Getting the legendary Hulk card was sweet.
Still, the same lightheartedness that makes SuperCard worthwhile is also what limits it, and the game may not grab your interest at all if you have no interest in the sport. The card fighting mechanics, though respectable, are quite simplistic when you break them down, and if you’re here for card battling primarily, there are plenty of free options on both iOS and Android that will engage you in far cleverer ways. Not only that, but the soundtrack is enough to drive any music fan nearly insane—muting your smart device is, unfortunately, a must.
I’ll be pleased if SuperCard improves over time (I’d like to see individual fighter entrance music or additional modes), but with over 400 cards in the current version and collecting as a heavy focus, I’m not sure anything beyond extra wrestlers or items can be reasonably expected. SuperCard is entirely inoffensive, and at its best it’s a well-made distraction. In the end, though, its lack of depth makes it hard to recommend to anyone who’s not a fan of WWE in the first place. Lucky for the game’s makers, that’s one group of people there’s definitely no shortage of.