Published on August 12th, 2020 | by Michael Newman0
Haxity Sets a New Level Of Fun For Card Based Games
Prior to the pandemic of 2020, my friend Dave and I would spend a lot of our free time playing living card games. Everything from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, but of all the numerous games we’ve played, the one we’ve played the most is Netrunner. For those unfamiliar with the Netrunner Living Card Game, it takes place in a dystopian cyberpunk future, where corporations rule the world and runners (hackers) attempt to break into systems and bring down these corporations. When I booted up Haxity, I was immediately hit with a familiarity and a nostalgia for our time playing Netrunner.
Haxity, is a collectible card game on PC developed by Megapop. It, much like Netrunner, takes place in a dystopian cyberpunk future, where you choose one of three characters to traverse the city, collecting money (to buy additional cards) and battle various opponents in one on one battles for superiority. The battles take place in an arena where you and your opponent square off against each other in a Street Fighteresq fashion.
There are three characters to choose from, each with their own unique decks and style of fighting. Dr. Ratz is a half-man/half-rat abomination that utilizes swarms of rats, claws and numerous toxic chemicals to defeat his opponents. Then there is Copperson, a former cop (hence the name), who utilizes powerful ranged and melee attacks to take down his many foes. Last, but certainly not least is Banshee, dubbed as a ninja assassin on roller-skates, she utilizes quick moves and brutal melee combat to devastating effect.
The game is played out in a series of rounds, where each turn swaps initiative. You pick three cards from your hand in an effort to do the most damage to your opponent and ultimately KO them. The cards are broken down into three main categories (Ranged, Melee, and Skills), each with their own unique traits and/or damage. Haxity uses a rather ingenious Rock/Paper/Scissor mechanic where each type beats another type. For example, a Ranged card beats a Melee card, A Melee card beats a Skills card and a Skills card beats a Ranged card. If the cards match up, they will tie…however some cards have the special ability of being fast or slow. A fast card will win a tie (causing the opposing card to X out), and a slow card will always lose in the event of a tie. The slow cards, which might be a bit riskier than a fast or standard card type, typically make up for it in damage or abilities. Once the cards are shown, you can utilize various hacks at your disposal, that allow you to swap out cards, flip slots, move them all one space to the right, etc. This way if your opponent out wits you and successfully negates some or all of your cards, you can still manipulate the battlefield to your advantage. As you progress through the game you have opportunities to gain additional cards by events that occur between each battle, or by going to the store and purchasing cards.
I should mention a bit about what happens in between the battles. While the battles themselves are the key to Haxity overall, there are some unique opportunities that arise in between battles. You’ll come across characters, make choices, and these choices can have a positive or negative impact on your character. I came across a mad scientist who offered me a rare card if he could experiment on me. You then make a choice and live with the outcome. In one situation, I ended up with a negative health impact which severely impacted my chances to win the next couple of matches. It’s these unique little encounters that mix up the game a bit and give you the opportunity to modify your deck as you go.
Graphically the game is unexpectedly colorful, for a game that takes place in a dark world. The characters are wonderfully detailed, offering a gritty cartoon like appearance. The music and sound is subtle enough that it blends into the background during the heat of the moments, but still adds to the overall feeling of the game. Since each of the battles take place in a sequence of turns, performance issues are certainly not a concern here.
Haxity is fun, and the cards and decks are numerous enough to vary your game play each and every time you go through it. There is a tutorial that introduces you to the mechanics of the game, although does tend to ignore some of the finer points which you will discover as you progress. The main story mission allows you to make “runs” against opponents (who look the same as your three main character choices), the AI is fantastic and plays to win. The AI understands all the intricacies of its cards, so don’t be surprised if you get beat down a lot as you are learning the game. There is also an online component that allows you to play against your friends or others online.
As varied as the cards are, the same can’t be said about the other fighters you will face along your journey. You’ll regularly come up against others who look exactly like you and are playing similar cards from the same deck. While each deck will be slightly different, and each character will play differently, the lack of variety might be a turn off for some. There isn’t a story per se, although you do learn interesting things about the city along the way, and I liked the events that took place in-between the battles which broke up the sameness of each battle a bit.
Ultimately Haxity is a blast to play, it looks great, it plays great, and has enough variety that even after several hours of play, the game hasn’t gotten old. If you are a fan of card games, and like the cyberpunk vibe, then Haxity might just be the game you are looking for
What I liked: Great variety of cards, Unique approach to battles
What I liked less: lack of variety among opponents, lots of trial and error figuring out what cards do
4 out of 5 stars