First Look at the digital version of the popular card game, Magic: The Gathering Arena.

Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game created by Wizards of the Coast. You are a Planeswalker, a being (usually a Mage or Sorcerer) who had a dormant spark in them that enabled them to travel to different planes of existence once it ignited. These beings control lands and use the Mana from those lands to summon various creatures, use Spells or Artifacts to beat other Planeswalkers. Each card features beautiful artwork, for that fact alone these cards are very collectable.

Magic: The Gathering Arena takes that concept and places it into a video game environment. The game in question is in closed beta at the moment and I was lucky enough to get in on the test. What I write here isn’t a full review because of this fact. The game is developed by Magic Digital Studio for Wizards of the Coast. It is being developed using the Unity engine an open source multi-platform engine which suggests that the game, once completed on PC, is likely to make it to console and mobile (Android, iOS). It’s published by Wizards of the Coast.

You start off with a tutorial which explains the rules of Magic: The Gathering Arena and various basic tactics. This is entirely mandatory so veterans of the physical game or previous digital versions will likely find it boring and unnecessary. Once you complete this tutorial, you are then free to customise your decks in your profile or play random matches against real players. To get new cards, you use in game currency earned through daily tasks and matches or via real money gems.  The game’s interface is simple and intuitive, making it quick and easy to learn. While the cards available so far are limited as it’s in closed beta, there is a huge back library of cards from the physical game that will likely become available in the official release. My one related complaint is that you are currently unable to play against your friends (I have been informed that this will be part of the game). Aside from that only one other nitpick I have, they aren’t using the graphical power available to them to make the summoned monsters appear and fight each other. But this is likely due to there being other platforms to consider.

So far I am enjoying the game and would recommend, if you can get into the closed beta, to give it a try or failing that when it becomes available for open beta.