Daily iPad App: Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs. Evil is simple but excellent deck-building action

Playdek is a developer that's caught my eye recently. They're the folks behind what I think are the best card games on the App Store, including the great Ascension (which Gary Games, now called StoneBlade Entertainment, actually designed but Playdek brought to iOS), as well as the excellent Nightfall and Summoner Wars. Their latest title is an adaptation of Cryptozoic's deck-building card game based on the Penny Arcade webcomic, and just like the other titles, it's a full-featured, well-made game that feels right at home on the iPad.

The game is not the best deck-building game I've ever played. The process, if you've never seen it before, is that you spend some currency cards to buy other cards, which then add in to your deck and unlock various actions and extra currency for you every turn. It's essentially a board game, though you're moving cards around, and Playdek more or less just sticks to digital versions of the analog cards rather than adding a lot of extra digital fluff to the game. But this company is now so familiar with these types of games that the tutorial is great and all of the movement is very intuitive as you play. The added theme of Penny Arcade can be a little off-putting if you don't like the comic or its dark and often gross humor, but the core game itself is solid and fun.

Just like all of Playdek's other games, there are multiple options for playing the game itself, and you can play with any number of AI players at various difficulties, or go online to play against other humans. I would like to see a few more cards in the mix, but just like the real-life card game, the proceedings are very expandable, and so you can expect to see some more packs added in the future, probably via in-app purchase. Even with just the included content (available for US$4.99 on the App Store), this is probably one of the most accessible games of this type out there. Try this to see what you think, and if you like it as much as I do, you can move on to a more complicated game like Nightfall, or the very impressive SolForge, set for a release later on this year.