Some truly inventive combinations have come from the mixing and matching of gaming genres. However, it can also create bizarre game hybrids that try to take on too much and falter in one or more areas. TVX Games’ newest endeavor, Cradle of Magic, unfortunately seems to fall in the latter category.
The Kickstarter campaign, (seeking $50,000) starts off strong with an interesting pitch video, and while it doesn’t tell us much about the game, it does invoke a sense of excitement to learn more. Unfortunately, what follows doesn’t do much to maintain that sense of wonder.
Cradle of Magic bills itself as a “3 in 1 role-playing game.” Essentially, it combines roleplay elements with resource management and a hefty dose of card collection. How does that work out? Not surprisingly, it feels a bit cluttered and confusing.
Players start out by selecting and customizing a hero. The hero is then used to go through levels and collect magic cards to aid them in battle. Cards can be bought and traded with other players or snagged during fights. Some cards have creatures on them which the hero can summon to fight alongside them and power-up.
In order to power up their hero, players also get to manage a camp where they can mine resources and store the spoils of battle. Honestly, I’m not sure which part of this combination of game mechanics feels the most tacked on, but something feels decidedly off with Cradle of Magic’s formula. It wasn’t until I browsed through the rewards and stretch goals that I figured out why this was.
Putting the (game)pieces together
Even low level reward tiers offer a 3D model (shipping not included) to backers. This is a cool edition, but as you go up the tiers there are also coins and larger models on offer, which is when I started to wonder. Sure enough, the final stretch goal confirmed my suspicions. Cradle of Magic is ultimately planning to make the jump to a board game. Which might actually work better than trying to shoehorn so many different elements into a micro-transaction waiting to happen.
To be fair, I have no idea if Cradle of Magic is planning to offer players the ability to buy their way to better gear and followers with real money. The Kickstarter never mentions this one way or the other. It just feels like the natural progression of a game where you collect resources and cards to advance. This was a bit of a let down after watching the trailer.