Destiny of Spirits brings a card-style collectible to a portable console that lacks it. The best thing about this? Well, it is free to play.
1) What is DoS anyway?
Destiny of Spirits isn’t particularly unique and copies of its structure can be found in any App Store for mobiles, ever heard of: Marvel: War of Heroes, Star Wars Force Collection, Legend of the Cryptids, Galaxy Saga or Immortalis? I can go on, but the point is: this game is a carbon-copy of several app games already available.
Had Destiny of Souls been released on mobile it would have been an easily missed game, but fortunately for DoS it is on the PS Vita – that not only lacks a collectible card-style game but also free games in general.
2.Spirits, myths and legends
Putting aside its tragically unoriginal structure; DoS is based on myths, legends and other Vita games. You collect these spirits through missions (which are basically tedious bot fights) or by using summon stones, trading with friends and special events.
If you have a Pokemon “Catch em’ all” mentality – forget it because spirits are earned randomly with some only attainable in Europe, Asia or America while event exclusive spirits are even harder to collect. Unless you are willing to spend a ton of real money and more importantly: time, DoS is a get-what-you-can-and-be-grateful type of game.
The art design of these spirits on the other hand are beautifully done and despite the lack of description of the myth to go with the image, it still managed to seduce my inner-nerd. Collecting and reinforcing these awesome-looking cards quickly saw to it that I sank more hours into this game then I actually intended to.
Point 3. Basic, Boring Battles
Those that enjoy the thought and tactics that go into various card games may be disappointed to find out that very little thought is involved in fights. Depending on your spirit’s individual speed, the order of attackers are automatically decided and with 3v3 the only input you have to make is choosing who to focus on and when to use your spirit’s special ability (such as attack or speed increases and decreases, elemental changes, extra damage and a great deal more).
One of the most important, as well as one of the only tactics that can be formed are elemental advantages which have been conveniently put on display during battles on the bottom left-hand side of the screen.
Despite the lack of depth, much to a gamer’s surprise, a lot of hours can be sunk in enhancing, collecting and building up our spirits – this means combat comes in second as we put all our focus and attention into building our mythological army.
Point 4. Even Spirits are controlled by money
There are three types of currencies:
- Summon stones – obviously for randomly summoning spirits
- Destiny Orbs – purchased by spending real money
- and Spirit Orbs – to reinforce Spirits or fuse identical beasties for a level-cap increase
Destiny Orbs open up the option to advance summon as well as special summon once in awhile from other Vita games such as Gravity Rush. You can also use this currency to gain a small edge in events or broaden your spirit bank to be able to hold a larger number of spirits. While it contains the option to spend cash to gain certain advantages, it does surprisingly well to carefully avoid becoming another pay-to-win ‘freebie’.
With the cruel fact that you still have a very good chance of summoning a rubbish spirit even after spending real money, it seems like a missed opportunity that they didn’t give us a single, free draw for those of us that owned the other Vita game that DoS were basing spirits on (in this case, owners of Gravity Rush) Due to this towering fact, the Destiny Orbs earned by logging in throughout the month are better off being used to expand the number of spirits you can hold.
Point 5. Time killing Events
With no story, objective or any particular meat on its bone, Destiny of Spirits bets all its chips in events on a monthly basis to keep us hooked. It awards us the opportunity to find powerful spirits or earn some virtual currency. The perfect time killer as you are usually given five points with each attempt to beat bosses costing one of these precious points that regenerate (usually) one at a time every 30 minutes. If you want these unique spirits you need to keep checking in until the event ends. A diabolical yet not uncommon approach towards trying to reel us in.
There are many things that could be added to improve the quality of DoS, one that instantly came to mind as I played was an obvious chance to add clans or guilds as it is only playable with a constant internet connection – or at least including an easier, more encouraging social and battle interaction system.
I would call this a fun time killer rather than a game as it has no particular content nor objective other then to collect and strengthen spirits. For those that automatically think: “Well, games are meant to kill time”, there is a clear difference between nonchalantly looking for a game to kill extra time with on one hand and willingly using our valuable time to play a game that promises to be an enjoyable investment on the other.
With the added fact that it cannot be played without an internet connection and considering that WiFi Vitas are popular… it cannot even kill time when we need it most: travelling.
In complete honesty It may be a better option to simply use your 3G mobile (unless you have a 3G Vita) to play the aforementioned games that provide the same thing but with Darth Vadar (courtesy of Star Wars: Force Collection) or Captain America (in Marvel: War of Heroes) instead of mythology. The art design is easily the biggest selling point of DoS and an interesting attempt at trying to seduce us but there isn’t much else to compliment.
It would be unfair to review and score a app-game intended to kill time along the same criteria as other Vita games so DoS will not have a rating like my other reviews. It is satisfactory, nothing more, nothing less and the only thing you can waste by trying it out is time, which seems to be the intention of this game anyway.