RTS-inspired deckbuilder Prismata goes free-to-play(ish) for the weekend

Prismata

Prismata is a bit of a hard sell because I can’t think of any other strategy game quite like it. It looks and controls like a Magic: The Gathering inspired card game, but flows like an RTS, and while you do gradually expand your construction options between matches, there’s no randomly drawn booster packs or loot boxes.

While previously the only way into the game’s early access release was to buy the $25 Founders Edition, this weekend you can jump in and play multiplayer and the start of the solo campaign free, from now until Monday, 10am Pacific, with those who get in on the free weekend seemingly able to keep this cut-down edition of the game.

While Steam user reviews aren’t the greatest measure of quality, it is rare to see anything in early access with a 95% positive rating, so this one may be worth a look for the card-slinging strategists among you. I just took a look at the first few missions of the story campaign mode, and it really feels like a turn-based RTS, if that makes sense. The game is a resource-management balancing act for the most part, with unit counts in the dozens, and a UI designed to support that, with you able to swipe across an entire regiment of troops to send them to attack en-masse.

The free version of the game contains the first¬†episode (of a planned five) of the campaign, plus an unlockable Expert mode for each mission, with quite a bit of sci-fi banter about drone warfare in-between combat scenarios. Founders Edition owners get the second episode now, with the third coming in June and the remainder set for release by the end of the year. There are plans for this free-to-play ‘lite’ edition of the game to become the standard Steam version later on, so I suppose this weekend free event is to test the waters.

While I’ve only just tested the shallowest shallows of Prismata’s depths, I get the feeling there’s quite a bit to this one. The developers Lunarch Studios boast that even good players will find themselves challenged by the bot AI, which is coded by the winner of the 2013 Starcraft AI competition, and there do seem to be a decent number of matches going on, with plenty more available this weekend: Steamcharts says there are over 100,000 players trying the game out right now.

Prismata’s PvP and multiplayer are free and open to all this weekend via Steam, with those who jump in now apparently getting to keep the Lite version even after Monday. The Founders Edition of the game – effectively purchasing it outright – costs ¬£19.49/$20.

6 Comments

Top comments

  1. Dominic Tarason says:

    Some additional confirmations:

    Yes, if you grab Prismata's free version before the end of this weekend event, you get to keep it forever.

    The free version is basically the full game minus some cosmetic goodies and the latter four episodes of the story mode. Upgrading to the full game costs $25.

    There's still a ton of solo content in the free version in the Training section, which you'll unlock a few missions into the story.

    This game is really neat.
  1. cyrenic says:

    I got a beta key several days ago and have been playing it the last few days. It’s really fun, and surprisingly polished. As Dominic mentions it’s a pretty unique game, I’m enjoying learning it.

  2. lavenders2 says:

    Well here comes a card based/rts hybrid that is completely free to play in multiplayer. All cards, modes and events for multiplayer are free, so really no reason for you not to try the game.

    IMO this is one of the best strategy games on the market right now, easy to learn and very hard to master. No RNG beyond the initially chosen cards and whether you go first or second. Everything after that is pure skill.

    Pretty much all the “hearthstone has X problem” complaints are pretty much solved in this game. Obviously not the exact same game style, but similar enough.

    Very highly recommended. If you don’t believe what I am saying, just try the game for yourself.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Gassalasca says:

    Does anyone else, every time they hear the name of this game, immediately think of this:

  4. Dominic Tarason says:

    Some additional confirmations:

    Yes, if you grab Prismata’s free version before the end of this weekend event, you get to keep it forever.

    The free version is basically the full game minus some cosmetic goodies and the latter four episodes of the story mode. Upgrading to the full game costs $25.

    There’s still a ton of solo content in the free version in the Training section, which you’ll unlock a few missions into the story.

    This game is really neat.

  5. Kitsunin says:

    The server has been crashed.

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