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Urban Rivals

Urban Rivals is a browser-based collectible card MMO set in a comic book inspired world. It features a unique, secret attack multiplier mechanic making its gameplay more Poker-like than many other card games.

Publisher: Boostr
Playerbase: High
Type: Card Game
Release Date: January 17, 2006 (International)
Pros: +Huge collection of cards (over 1,200). +Over 25 clans (each with unique cards and bonuses). +Free-to-play
Cons:  -Dated web interface. 

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Overview

Urban Rivals Overview

Urban Rivals is a free-to-play collectible card MMO available on internet browser and the iPhone app store. Players build decks full of quirky characters and unique traits, belonging to a variety of different clans, using them to fight other players and the game’s own NPCs for game currency and cards. One of its unique traits is the use of Pillz to boost each card’s attack power in secret. Because they are only revealed upon play, Pillz make gameplay feel strategic and exciting. Urban Rivals also have a unique deck building system that allows players to be a true free-to-play environment while having the option to pay for cards if desired.

Urban Rivals Key Features:

  • Card Variety – massive collectible card game over 1,200 cards and 25+ clans (Each clan has 50+ unique cards and a special bonus).
  • Multiple Game Modes – such as Survival, Tournaments, and Missions.
  • Polished Comic Book Inspired Art Style
  • Fast-paced Gameplay each game typically takes ~5 minutes.
  • Multi Platform Play game available on Web, Facebook, iOS, and Android.

Urban Rivals Screenshots

Urban Rivals Featured Video

Full Review

Urban Rivals Review

By Margo Sikes

Urban Rivals is a free-to-play, browser-based collectible card MMO game developed and published by Boostr, a French game developer. It is a relatively long-standing game, launched initially on January 17, 2006 and has continued to regularly release content. Urban Rivals is available on Facebook, on its own website, and became available on the App Store for free in 2009. The game has elements in common with games like Hearthstone, though it is more simplistic and faster-paced, as battles rarely last longer than five minutes. There is also a sister game to UR called Fantasy Rivals, which shares many of the same mechanics but has a different art style.

Starting Out

At registration, the game asks players to pick the style of their first characters: Brute Force, Slow Death, and Control, each composed of cards from three different clans with varying playstyles. The player is then thrust into combat with the game’s tutorial character, Kate. Kate explains the game mechanics in pop-up windows as you move through your first few battles, covering "Pillz," "Fury," clan bonuses, and end goals (further explained below). After completing each battle, players receive experience points and "Clintz," the in-game currency, and are shown their progress for various Missions, which act as the game’s achievement system. Missions grant rewards such as Clintz, cards, and Mission points which act as a completionist ranking system to compare players against each other.

Card Battles

Urban Rivals, at its core, is a fast-paced, strategic card game focused around its Pillz mechanic. The game starts by drawing four cards randomly from a deck, acting as the team for the entirety of the match. The player with the most star cards in their hand goes first, and selects a card that is shown to the opponent, while secretly boosting the character’s attack with Pillz. Each Pill used multiplies the character’s base Power damage by the number of Pillz used. Once a player’s attack is submitted, the opponent, who can only see the picked card and not the amount boosted, picks a card and boosts it. The card effects are important as some have defense and counter-attacking strategies that will affect the amount of Pillz players will want to spend. Pillz can also be used to add Fury to your attacks, which consumes three Pillz in order to deal an additional two damage to the opponent. Juggling the amount of Pillz used to multiply character attack and whether or not to gamble on the Fury is where the major strategic elements of the game come into play, as both of those decisions are private information.

After both attack values are compared on top of additional bonuses, the cards deal damage to each other. Once a card has won, it does an attack to the opponent’s life, equal to their damage value. This continues until a player has either lost all of their life points, or have ran out of cards, in which case the player with the highest amount of health wins. If the players have the same amount of health at the end of the battle, the game is a draw, and there is no mechanic in place to resolve the tie.

Card Experience

At the end of every battle, cards in the player’s deck gain experience. Experience is used to enhance their star level, which typically starts at one and can get as high as five, depending on the card. After gaining a star, cards evolve into a new card with new abilities, stats, and artwork. If players have a deck composed of max-star level cards, the experience pools into a reserve that can be used to boost lower level cards in their collections. Experience can also be purchased with Clintz to boost cards up to higher levels quickly, unlocking their full potential.

Battle Types

With many game modes and goals in the game, players have a lot of content available from the get-go, with additional content unlocking as the player increases in level. The first mode that becomes available is Practice mode, which acts as a risk-free way of testing decks against players in a mode that has few requirements. Also available is Classic mode, which consists of regular PvP matches, with no rankings to deter players from experimenting. The last initial mode available is Solo, which is an AI driven single-player mode that pertains to Missions and achievements, with unique challenges not necessarily found in PvP modes. Solo mode sometimes gives cards as rewards instead of just experience and Clintz as the other modes do.

As the player gains levels through playing the different modes, new modes unlock. Tournament mode unlocks at level 7 and runs for an hour, every two hours. Players have to win as many matches as they can within the time frame, allowing greater rewards as they are more and more successful. A second Tournament-style mode is ELO, which is unlocked at level 15. Elo involves more strategic gameplay based heavily on Deck building. ELO mode has more strict deck requirements than the Daily Tournaments and run over the course of a week. Another mode that unlocks at level 15 is Survivor, which is an intense mode to win as many battles in a row as possible with a big jackpot for long winning streaks. The final mode is Duel, unlocked at level 20, which allows players to win a new card daily from challenging the tutorial character, Kate.

Card Collection

Cards are attained over time from different sources, either from using Clintz to purchase them from the player-driven market; using the game’s premium currency, "Credits," to purchase packs; and from winning different game modes. Cards can also be won from completing certain missions. These include Legendary Cards which are rewarded from a series of missions completed within a certain amount of time.

Deck Building

One important strategic aspect of the game is deck building which initially moves slowly. Cards picked at registration will last a player a while if they do not purchase cards from the cash shop, as decks are very commonly made of only one or two clans. As there are twenty-five clans in the game with different themes and bonuses, it is not always easy to get the cards and clans you want out of game modes. That said, cards in the shop are relatively inexpensive, and players can put theirs up for sale if they decide they do not want to use the card or the clan they have in their deck. This interaction makes Urban Rivals feel like an actual MMO. I prefer this kind of interaction over Hearthstone's crafting system.

As an exception to the one or two clan rule, clan-less cards exist that are called Leaders. They do not benefit from clan bonuses but have special abilities and higher stats than regular cards. Only one Leader can be in a player’s deck at any point as they cancel each other out. It is also important to pay attention to the game mode that the deck is focused on. The requirements of the game modes force players into building a limited deck, either with banned characters, a limited amount of cards, or a limit on the strength of the cards.

Cash Shop

The cash shop of Urban Rivals offers as a speedy way of building a dec, and as a way of acquiring the newest cards for a fair price. That is, it offers no experience boosts or otherwise pay-to-win elements and is a fair option for players who choose to pay instead of spend hours playing. Packs purchased with the premium currency, Credits, can be filtered to only contain Clans that the player wants. All-in-all, its cash shop is just enough to be useful for players looking to get into the game quickly but not powerful enough to leave other players in the dust.

Final Verdict - Great

Urban Rivals is a fun, highly strategic card game that moves quick enough to keep its users queuing for more and more games. The gameplay is simple and quick to learn but difficult to master due to its massive array of cards and Poker-like strategy. Its few negatives are primarily graphical as its user interface is sometimes buggy and its art style can be inconsistent and spotty. Nevertheless,  Urban Rivals is an overall great game that deserves its enormous player base and standing in the upper rungs of free-to-play trading card MMOs.

Screenshots

Urban Rivals Screenshots

Videos

Urban Rivals Videos

System Requirements

Urban Rivals System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Equivalent
Video Card: Any Graphics Card (Integrated works well too)
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Disk Space: 100 MB (Cache)

Urban Rivals is a browser based MMO and will run smoothly on practically any PC. The game was tested and works well on Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and Chrome. Any modern web-browser should run the game smoothly. The game is available on mobile as well through the Apple App story and Android Google Play store.

Music

Urban Rivals Music & Soundtrack


Additional Info

Urban Rivals Additional Information

Developer: Boostr
Publisher: Boostr
Platforms: Web (browser), Apple iOS, Android, and Facebook
Release Date: January 17, 2006 (Worldwide)

Development History / Background:

Urban Rivals was developed by French game studio Boostr Acute Games and is powered by a web-based interface. The game originally launched in January 17, 2006 for the browser and later quickly expanded to Facebook as well as iPhone and Android in 2010 and 2011. Simon Leloutre originally created Urban Rivals (then known as Clint Fighting) for the iMode and Wap mobile platforms, but it was quickly ported to the web to be more accessible. To further expand the game's reach, Boostr localized Urban Rivals into over a dozen languages.