Review – Magic: Duels Is Just Boring

By Madeline Ricchiuto

Magic: Duels Origins debuted last week for iOS and has come to Steam and Xbox One, which is great news for everyone who tried to play Duels on their phone and realized that the screen was too small to even be remotely useful.

Magic Origins Set Logo

I downloaded the game to my iPhone 5S, since the app wasn't built to handle an iPad mini apparently. The problem with playing this game on an iPhone 5 or older is that the smaller screen makes it more difficult to chose which of the tiny cards you're actually planning to use. That results in a lot of frustrated tapping and confusion.

Not only was the screen of my iPhone 5 rather too small for this game, but the game is also kind of glitchy. Buttons stop functioning, the game gets stuck in a loop, and you often have to select a card and or target several times, which also means that you're prone to making errors.

Another of the issues with the iOS version, is that the game is prone to taking itself offline and is then unable to reconnect with the servers while you're in the middle of a game. So you can win a story match and find out that none of your progress was saved. Its a real treat, let me tell you.

The version of the game on Steam and Xbox is at least a bit more useable since you don't have to worry about touch-screen issues or connection problems. You just have a relatively boring game.

The cutscenes that play once you've unlocked a storyline are almost cringeworthy. The biggest sin however, is that Duels takes any possible fun out of Magic The Gathering because you suddenly have to focus on the game, which is actually pretty boring. Its a turn-based card game where luck and money allow you win. The story battles force you to play with a deck that is pre-determined, which is frustrating when playing a deck so completely opposite your own playstyle. And those decks aren't customizable in any way, which adds further frustration.

4-Two Headed Giant Gameplay ENThe thing I really do not understand is the story mode. Yes it is helpful in teaching players how Magic works, but it all revolves around the backstories of characters that, as a new player, you wouldn't care about. It's also slightly unbalanced.

Duels is absolutely fantastic at teaching people to play MTG, but that's really it. Duels is perfect for new players and people who are too cheap to actually pay to play a game with their friends. So, I'd give it a 5/10.

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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