I'm so tired. Last night I stayed up late playing Lightseekers, which has become a pretty regular thing lately. Actually last night I played until the battery in my Switch warned me that it was time to quit. The game has only been out on Switch for a few weeks now and I've racked up over thirty hours. I like this game. A lot.
I'm a sucker for digital card games. I liked Gwent more than The Witcher 3. I played Poker inside of Red Dead Redemption for far longer than I'd care to admit. Card Fighters Clash was probably my favorite Neo Geo Pocket game. I spent a couple of years glued to Hearthstone and have tried many of the free-to-play games that have come out since like Duelyst and Elder Scrolls Legends. But I tell you this: I am hooked on Lightseekers.
I knew I was in trouble about a week ago when I caught myself checking local stores for actual physical Lightseekers booster card packs. You see that's one of the interesting things about this game - it's based on an existing card game and you can actually scan in your physical card collection to add them to your digital collection. Pretty awesome.
The game itself is great, though. It's like Hearthstone but different enough to feel unique. Other card games I've played recently have had one of two issues... Elder Scrolls Legends felt TOO MUCH like Hearthstone for me to get into, while Duelyst felt TOO DIFFERENT for me to really ever get totally comfortable with. This game is a nice blend but has some very unique things going on as well.
Instead of having a set number of heroes, the decks are built around classes of heroes. So for instance, a Nature deck will let you pick from either the starter hero that you earn from doing the tutorial, or about a dozen other Nature heroes that you might end up with later. Each hero has very unique abilities that can take advantage of the various action cards you'd include in your deck. There also exists rarer heroes who can actually blend two classes. I just happened to open a booster pack that included a Nature/Tech hero for instance. And this is where the deck building can get very deep.
The deck you build will consist of 1 hero, 5 combos and 30 action cards. The action cards are further broken down by Attack, Defend and Buff designations. You can pick any thirty of these, so it gets interesting. Do you want an aggressive deck, or one that uses a ton of buffs? There's also action cards that can be used by ANY class. The possibilities are staggering and I believe there are upwards of 900 cards in existence. I assume expansions come regularly given that this game has existed as paper cards for a while now.
This is how I know I really like Lightseekers. Even when I was super into Hearthstone, I was pretty bad at even thinking about deck building. I had one deck for each hero and that was it. I barely tweaked them. I never bought cards. I never looked up new cards. But with Lightseekers I'm finding myself researching cards; crafting new ones that I want or constantly swapping things in and out of each deck, attempting to find something that works well for me. I love my current Storm deck, and I'm pretty happy with my Astral deck right now. The others all need work, but I'm having so much fun figuring out how to improve them.
I also barely played ranked mode in Hearthstone - and never in any of those other competitive games. But in Lightseekers, it's basically all I've played for the past two weeks. I use the casual mode as a way to test new decks, but that's it.
Oh! And I forgot to mention the single player content of which there is plenty. There's rotating campaigns that have unique circumstances and will make you really think about deck composition. Beyond that, they also grant you new cards. I don't see myself being done with Lightseekers for a long time. This is the first great game of 2019 for me.
Oh man... so back in February I declared Lightseekers to be "the first great game of 2019," and not long after Tetris 99 came out which would be "the second great game of 2019." Unfortunately, T99 pulled away my attention and became my go-to game for when I had twenty minutes to unwind before bed. As the year starts winding down, I thought about revisiting Lightseekers. And so much has changed.
There was a huge recent update to Lightseekers. Not just a gigantic card-dump. I mean the whole meta is different. There were a bunch of cards retired, which means that all my built decks from before my hiatus are no longer legit. This is both cool and not cool.
I remember getting to a point of frustration with Hearthstone. It got to a point where too many decks were the same. The big winners were using a lot of the same over-powered cards. And I didn't have the motivation to get those cards, nor did I want to feel like there was a "right" deck to be using. Retiring cards definitely kills that whole thing. It means that you need to stay current and continue to tweak your decks. In means that things will remain new and interesting.
On the flip, here I am - I can't even use ANY of my decks. It's like starting all over again. Which I probably will do. I truly do love Lightseekers. But my tenacity has been diminished. I'm not in the same rush to get back to the game now because of the work it will be to do so.
On the upside, I was given a free deck to start with that includes nothing but allowed cards. So that's fun.