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April 25, 2014 / Jett

Yomi on iPad Review

Yomi was originally conceived as a means of translating Street Fighter-style combat into a card game. Not long after the game’s successful run as a tabletop battleground, the game came full circle when the online version was made available for players at Fantasy Strike. Now there’s a new way to play the video game version of the card game, as Yomi is available for purchase on the iPad.

At the start of each match, you’ll choose between one of 10 unique characters. Each has their own deck of cards that represent attacks, blocks, dodges and throws. Many of these characters are based on classic fighting game archetypes, so it’s not hard to find a character that will fit your style.

During each turn, players will play one card face down and reveal both at once. Resolving the winner of that exchange is as simple as Rock Paper Scissors. Attacks beat throws, throws beat blocking/dodging, while blocking/dodging beat attacks. Building off of that foundation, the game has systems in place to account for special moves, super moves, combos, counter hits, combo breakers and more.

Having a background in fighting games will definitely help you appreciate Yomi for what it is, though it’s not necessary to get enjoyment out of it. The iPad game has a nifty tutorial that will teach you how to play and the base mechanics are simple enough for many to grasp. However, for those looking for something meaty like a video game fighter, Yomi translate that experience brilliantly. Within the confines of 10 characters, you’re greatly rewarded for learning the ins-and-outs of your character and how to optimize their abilities against an opponent.

Having been created by the lead designer on Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix, he clearly understands what makes fighting games tick. Compared to its closest board game and iPad game competition, which is BattleCon, I think Yomi’s brilliance is even more prevalent. I can’t stand BattleCon because it’s foundation is grounded in the superficial aspects of fighting games, such as movement and cool attack names, while Yomi focuses on the core fighting system that drives every fighting game ever. 10 characters may not seem like a lot, but developing a mastery for the game can take you a very long time.

Playing on the iPad is a great alternative to the physical or PC versions of the game thanks to it’s solid implementation. All of the actions you can do are easily controllable while the text on each card is easily read when you zoom into a card. Even without zooming in, most of the pertinent information can be read without having to get a closer look.

Solo players can play the tutorial, one-off matches against the computer, which has two difficulty settings. They can also try their hand at Survival mode, where you’ll run the gauntlet of AI opponents with one health bar that only refills partially after each match. With an internet connection, you can battle online, or spectate another person’s match. You can even play the iPad version against someone playing the game on PC, which opens the pool of players up that much more. Another plus is that you can even text chat as you battle. The obvious downside here is that there’s no option to play the game locally with a friend. I get the fact that including it could cannibalize the sales of the $100.00 card game, but it’s something that can’t be ignored.

Yomi is one of my favourite tabletop games and I’m glad to finally see it on iPad. For players that want their fix but don’t have anyone to play the card game with, this is a fine alternative on a device that is well suited to handle it. Not having local multiplayer sucks, but you’re also getting a version of the game that’s a tenth of the price of the card game, which can’t be played online. If you’re on the fence, try the free trial on Fantasy Strike to see if this is something you’d be interested in.

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