Over the Holiday weekend, I came across a fantasy-themed free-to-play auto-battler card game from the Publisher / Developer company called Good Luck Games, LLC. Storybook Brawl went into open beta on June 18th, and I am saddened to state that I just learned about this magnificent gem of a game last Friday. It is like Blizzard’s Hearthstone game but a lot more challenging and there is no deck to make or guide to follow. It involves using your heroes to their advantage and getting whatever cards you can buy to build your army. Storybook Brawl is made by a team formed by Matt Place, Matt Nass, and Josh Utter-Leyton and I am already hooked just from playing the Beta.
When the game first starts, you quickly go through the tutorial, and then you are on your own. You’re thrown into an 8 player battle tournament to learn as you go. At the beginning of the game, you are able to pick your hero to be your leader. These heroes come from all sorts of folk stories, fairy tales, and myths and they each bring a special buff to your cards as you play. Merlin will give you a +1 attack and a +2 health for each spell cast in the game to one of your cards at random which is permanent. Cruel-Ella will give a +1 attack and +1 health to all your evil cards when one of the animal cards is destroyed in a match that lasts till the end of the round. Peter Pan’s Shadow reduces the cost of all evil cards by 1 so you can get them cheaper through the whole game. Each hero makes the gameplay different; some give a very strong early game and some later in the fight, others changing entirely how you play and have to strategize.
Not all the Heroes are unlocked for you and only a handful of them are made ready when you first start out. However, the more you play, the more dust you earn, and you can use the dust to purchase a new hero you want to add to your collection. This makes up for all the games you don’t win, to keep playing.
Now, something else to mention is the beauty of the cards is whimsical and straight out of a children’s book. Each picture is bright and fluid and gives a very child-like cartoony feel and makes it feel like you should have a great time playing, as you relentlessly get slaughtered repeatedly. I should know since I have put in over 38 hours of game time since Friday and I have only gotten the crown 4 times. Crowns are a form of bragging rights. It is all Player vs. Player so you can come in anywhere from 1st to 8th place depending on how the game and the cards fall. But only the person who comes in 1st gets a crown added to them. There is nothing special about it. You don’t get anything extra for it aside from just the right to brag that you have them. To me, that is all the motivation that I need.
So, when the game begins on the board you will get coins to purchase your characters to add to your army to fight the others. Each round you are gifted an extra coin, up to 12 coins at a time. There are Animal cards, mages, monsters, treants, princesses, princes, queens, and even an army of dwarfs. There are good alignments, evil alignments, or no alignments. And depending on what your hero can do it will make you decide which way you want to go.
A Golden Chicken costs 2-coins, and he is an Animal but when he is sold back to the vendor, you get 2 coins back. All other cards when sold back only give you 1 coin back. Monster Book is a 5-coin card that is an Evil Monster and his special ability is called Last Breath: Cast a random spell, so when he dies that is what he will do. Vain-pire is a 3-cost card, that has the ability called Slay, and when he kills a card, he gets an increase in his health. As you can see each card brings a new flavor to the game.
There are also spell cards that can be got during your purchasing rounds. However, unless noted you can only purchase 1 spell card in the buying phase of the game between each battle. Spell cards can give your hero health to make it where you can play longer. You can also get a spell card, that if you win the battle you will be given 1 free card at random. There are many spell cards to cause damage to the opposing team, or you can even get spell cards to increase the stats of your team member or full squad.
When buying your character cards, you also need to try to get 3 of the same ones. Not only does it boost the character to have higher damage and health, but you then get a treasure to help you in battle. The treasure will be the same level as the character card you got, or you can get things to make the treasure worth more and be of a higher value. You can only have 3 treasures at a time, so you will be replacing lower-valued treasures with the new higher ones. This can turn the tide of battle in your favor. I was down to only 9 life points left on my hero, and when my last treasure lined up with my other two and my army on the board, I did win. That was my second win ever. I will reinstate this as best as I can treasures can’t be overlooked.
I was playing all Tree cards when I found a treasure card that when one of my characters dies, all of my other characters are filled full of health. The next treasure I had was when one of my character’s attacks give it a +5 attack and +5 Health this brawl. Then the final treasure I got was my back support does the whole front line. This was amazing because my damage and health went up so much. I was only at 9 health and I ended up dominating the other 5 people I was still battling. This was the best experience for me ever thinking I was down and out to come back and win it all.
There are a few hiccups with the game being that it is still in Early Access. I have encountered that some of the time clocks to pick and choose your cards in the buying phase is chewed up at times when it tries to refresh the list of cards. I have lost 2-3 seconds when looking for cards to switch. It may not sound like much but in a 60 second time window, sometimes those add up. I have also lost out a couple of times when I go to pick a treasure and my time runs out and I never get the treasure or the coin or the choice again. These are just mere squabbles though as this for me is not a big issue at all.
Storybook Brawl is an amazing game and my new favorite game to play when I have time to kill. I will be keeping up on this as it moves forward and can not wait to see where it goes. My only hope is it stays close to the way it is now, I do not want another Hearthstone to play. Honestly, I think this game will appeal to a lot of people out there who like card games and are looking for a chance to try something new. Storybook Brawl is available for early access now on Steam for free.
This early access review was written for Storybook Brawl by Good Luck Games, LLC.