Allians – Early Access Preview

Have you ever found yourself arguing with friends over which one of you is the bigger gaming nut? Who’s better at survival horror or who’s the better fighter in the ring? An interesting new title currently in development looks to try and answer those questions, and it does this by way of your Steam accounts. From Swedish developer Claimony comes Alllians a new type of collectable card game where you are one of the cards and collected achievements determine your fighting prowess. Essentially it’s Top Trumps with a couple of unique twists, and recently I was lucky enough to give it a go.

Steam is the go to place now for all of your PC gaming needs with an enormous library of games for you to delve into and a healthy community of several millions gamers. It’s a good place then to grow a free to play game that harnesses an everyday function that everybody uses. What Allians does to create your unique cards is take the achievement aspect of Steam, places each one into genre for the game it was earned in and then assigns them to one of the games 5 PEARL attributes. Say for example you’ve got achievements from an RPG, they would go under either Aggression or Luck attributes. Your unique card is then topped off with your distinct profile pic. Now this is a collectable card game so you’re not on your own, you are given some initial starters of popular Steam and Youtube personalities but can bolster your deck by defeating opponents.allians02

The gameplay is simple enough and is best described as an electronic game of Top Trumps where a deck constructed of 15-30 cards of the bravest account users you possess accompanies you into battle. Rounds attributes rotates between the PEARL categories with the initial round being randomly. The Attributes consist of Planning, Endurance, Aggression, Reflex and Luck, and all players need to do is select a card from their hand with the best stat in that category. After the comparison the difference is then deducted from the losing players overall life points (100) and this then goes on till someone’s points are reduced to zero. All easy to get to grips with so far, it’s core gameplay is something anybody can pick up with ease. As I said earlier this is Top Trumps with a twist and that comes in the form of skills and powers.allians03

While initially daunting in the version I got to try out, skills and powers add a great deal of tactical depth. Skills can be broken down into Passive and Gambit. The former is tied to cards and is activated once the card is played, while gambits are activated if you correctly guess the outcome of a clash. Skills can include things like “steal 5 HP from your opponent” or “prevent your opponent from drawing additional cards”. They tend to just affect the round you’re playing but that can be crucial, particularly if it stops you from playing your power house cards. Powers play out much in the same vein but can be performed at any time at the cost of Energy or the Sacrificial offering of your friends and allies. For this early pre-alpha build deck construction involved me reading a number of documents trying to decipher the different elements I was looking at on screen. It was a lot to get my head around but you can see the potential and I did have quite a bit of fun just playing around with customising a deck, even if I could never find a way to beat Claimony’s fiendishly difficult AI system.

In the early Alpha all powers were freely open for me but for the full release they’ll all be locked until players achieve specific rankings. Competing in competitive battles earns you experience which then grants access to these powers over time. As for visual appeal the overall design is nice and simple but particularly during fights the screen can look a little cluttered. Still this is an early build so you can expect it to look a little rough. Claimony have said that they’ll be polishing the visuals and we’ll eventually see some fancy animations which you can assume would come out nicely during the clashes.

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The developers are hoping Allians will see full release around spring of next year if all goes well. In its buggy and unpolished format its way too early to say how well this game could pan out, but it certainly shows a lot of promise. The core gameplay is simple but enjoyable (everyone loves a game of Top Trumps) and the skills and powers add a great deal of challenge but could potentially over complicate matters. Of course there’s also the fact that you can become a collectable card that people around the world could use in their own battle. You might even be the one to deal the finishing blow in a frenzied battle, now who wouldn’t want that.

If you like the look of how this game is shaping up be sure to support the developers via their Kickstarter and you can find out a bit more about becoming a collectable card, additional details on how to play, and plans for the games future and beyond.

This preview is based off a pre-alpha build of Allians provided by Claimony.

Daniel Vaughan

Creative Computer Games Design graduate from South Wales. Enthusiastic gamer, otaku, games journalist, doodler and wannabe animator.

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