Hellfire
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2013-07-26 Android Card Battle T (Teen) DeNA / Mobage

I've been playing Hellfire for quite a while, and I think it's worth the review considering how much time I've invested into it. I don't remember how I came across the game, but I was curious about the flick mechanics and the artwork definitely caught my eye. In the game, creatures have discovered a way to unlock the Gates of Hell, cross over and invade a once peaceful world. You are a Gate Hunter, and your job is to close the dimensional rifts and banish the creatures.

Hellfire is basically a collectible card game. Each creature is a card with attack and defense stats, and an elemental attribute: Earth, Fire, Water and Death.

You can pick cards available from your collection to form your "party", which is your active deck. You can have up to nine cards in your deck, in groups of three, and you can mix and match the elements as you wish. Once in battle, you will see enemies appear with a little number next to them, representing how many turns before they attack you. You attack with your three groups of three, each represented by an orb in the colors of the respective elements.

To attack, you flick the orb at one of the enemies. You must aim and adjust the speed of the flicking to hit creatures that will be placed all over the screen: aim left and right, flick slowly to hit closer, or faster to hit further away enemies.

There is no area damage, so even if you don't hit an enemy right on, you will still do some damage to whatever it's closer. Elements will also be more powerful against others: Water against Fire, Fire against Death, Death against Earth, and Earth against Water. Remember this sequence, as it will give you a good advantage over whatever you are fighting.

Battle progression is linear. There are a series of "normal" battles before you reach a boss fight. Before every battle you can pick an ally to help you out. You have no control over what this ally does, but he/she will randomly attack one of the enemies on your screen. Sometimes random travelers will also appear, and you get the chance to add them to your ally list after the battle.

You and your allies receive Ally Jewels for helping each other out, and you can use these to summon new creatures. If you browse the summon section, you will see that there are many other ways to summon, some of them using MobaCoins (purchased with real money) and others by using Silver, Bronze and Gold Medals (which you earn by participating in special events).

Special events are pretty common, and the game updates them frequently. You get to explore new dungeons, fight new creatures, capture Reinforce cards and go against bosses with your allies. Everyone earns points and ranks up on the leaderboards the more they participate. These events give you a great opportunity to find new special cards (some even have bonuses against bosses) and upgrade your existing ones.

And how do we do that? Well, there isn't much in terms of tutorial, so know that before you evolve a card (combining two of the same to get a more powerful version of it) you should reinforce it first for better results. Reinforcing will cause a card to level up, which makes its attack and defense attributes increase. Once the card is at maximum level, that's when you should evolve and start all over again. Cards can be evolved 3 times, and when you do this, the art will change. I went on an evolving spree just to see the artwork, which is fantastic.

The downside of the game is that whenever there is a new update, it's bound to lock. My phone has gone into serious heating mode while playing for unknown reasons, and lock to the point I had to pull the battery out. If you notice gameplay slowdown or stuttering, do yourself a favor and stop playing. Try again a little later. I've been stuck attempting to flick an orb for almost 10 minutes, and many times I've lost energy on timed bosses because I was unable to attack it during the 30 seconds of the battle. Frustrating!

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way around this so far, even if they'r releasing fixes shortly after game updates. Even with these frequent crashing and freezing issues aside, I still really enjoy Hellfire, from the mechanics to the art, and especially the ability to customize my deck to suit the battles once I discover that mine isn't effective. I only wish it had a little more music variety.