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Matt Kamen sees what’s on the cards for Tekken Card Tournament

Collectible card games are hugely popular amongst anime and videogame fans, with the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon still enjoying enduring popularity. Japan itself seems to have a national obsession with gaming via little bits of stiff paper; if it’s on TV or in your consoles, chances are there’s a tie-in card game for it. Now, Namco Bandai’s fighting franchise Tekken is getting its own turn in the cardboard arena – but it’s doing a few things differently.

Tekken Card Tournament works on three levels. First is the card game itself, with booster packs released this May. Like its peer products, it will have a dedicated set of rules, with each card representing a specific character, move or ability, with the more powerful examples being harder to find.

On top of this is a free app version, available for smartphones, tablets and web browsers. This is closest to what Tekken fans may expect, with detailed arenas, original character models, and authentic music. “The Tekken team, including myself, have been heavily involved in this project,” said Katsuhiro Harada, Lead Producer on all things Tekken. “Not only are the character designs used from the original games, but we also provided all the animation and motion data.”

Gamers will create a deck of 15 virtual cards to support their chosen character, who they will level up through battles. Rather than hammering out furious combos, each round has players selecting from ‘Focus’ to charge up a card for use, ‘Block’, or ‘Strike’, unleashing your focussed stack. It’s short and simple, perfect for portable devices, and progress is saved across formats.

However, play both versions and the game gets more interesting. Each physical card bears a QR code and serial number. Scan the QR with your device’s camera, or enter the serial number into the browser version, and that card will be added to your digital collection. Importing cards into the app will also unlock a ‘Card Fusion’ system, allowing to you merge cards together, creating exclusives and allowing huge scope for customisation. Given Tekken thrives on its strong competitive element, once you’ve built your perfect deck, you can then test y

ourself against friends or online challengers in globally ranked matches. Also found in the physical packs are augmented reality bonus cards, which recreate Tekken character models in real space for photo fun.

Although Tekken is a series traditionally built on speed and skill, Card Tournament is intended as a way to share the experience with more people. “I had been thinking about a fighting game that didn’t require physical reflexes or have to suffer from online lag,” said Harada. “Sometimes your skills don’t catch up with what you want to do, especially for Tekken games – they demand a lot from players. However, the battle aspect is fun for everyone, the same as it is in Chess, Go or Shogi. This is truly a game where people from one side of the world to the other can experience the fun and excitement of battle, whilst using their knowledge and skill, with a bit of luck, to enjoy it.”

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