Yesterday we reviewed Magic Realms, a free to play collectible card game for Windows Phone. The game impressed me with its fast and simple battle system, social features and player-versus-player battles, cloud saves, and a truly vast array of beautiful cards to collect and battle. I did wish for a few improvements such as a faster energy recharge rate and smoother campaign difficulty, though.
It looks like our review was well-timed, because today Magic Realms received an update. This update shrinks the file-size down by a hefty margin; it was a 62 MB game but now takes up only 48 MB. And of course it fixes a few bugs. But the update introduces a few new problems, and does nothing to solve the issue some users have with being unable to launch the game. Head past the break for full details.
Magic Realms version 1.0.5 release notes:
- World Tree system update.
- Maze bug fixed
- Fixed problem in which Deck 3 could not be saved
- Friend list send and receive energy point fixed
- Card crafting system introduced (possibly not active yet)
The World Tree note is curious. I’m a little fuzzy on this, but I believe that’s a feature found in the iOS and Android versions but missing from Windows Phone so far. The World Tree is a timed event during which players battle for specific parts of land on a map. Although this update appears to lay the groundwork for World Tree events to come to Windows Phone, no such event has started yet. Hopefully it will kick off soon.
Another positive I’ve noticed since the update is that clan request notifications now appear properly. As mentioned in our review, we have a thriving WPCentral clan within the game. When players asked to join our clan, I had to manually visit the Clan Requests menu in order to see those requests. Since this morning’s update, the “New” notification appears on the Social and Clan menus, making requests much easier to see. Want to join our clan? We’re at maximum capacity now, but send a request and speak out in our clan forum thread and we’ll get you in as soon as a spot opens.
One step forward, two steps back
Minor improvements aside, the new update actually makes the game worse in a couple of ways. First, it appears that the developers increased the game compression in order to shrink the file-size. More compression means longer loading times. Visit a new section of the map and the background art actually takes a second or two to load now, even on my beefy Lumia 1520.
Similarly, card art and runes often take a moment to show up within battles and menus. Until then, they’re represented by a generic “galaxy” image. The odd thing is Magic Realms wasn’t a very large download to begin with. Shrinking the game from 62 MB to 48 MB will make almost no difference in whether or not people can fit it onto their phones. But the change slows down the game and makes it look worse at times – the exact opposite of a benefit.
The update also brought some graphical glitches to the table. During the “Enchant card” menus in which players select cards to sacrifice in order to level up another card, a dark border appears over all of the cards. That could be an artistic choice, but I suspect the dark area is supposed to be behind the cards instead of in front of them.
I’ve also seen rune backgrounds fail to display entirely, even when zoomed in on the runes. Runes are equippable items that provide benefits like damaging enemy cards or healing the player’s cards. You can still equip them even after the update, but the graphical glitches make it more difficult than before.
Finally, several readers are still reporting that the game won't launch for them - even after reinstalling. The start-up crashing has affected them before and after the update. The problem isn't that widespread though, as many players have experienced no such problems.
Avoid updating for now
The graphical glitches and slower loading times are surely unintended consequences of today’s Magic Realms update. Hopefully developer iFree Studio acts quickly to fix them with another update. You don’t have to install the latest update in order to play (so far), so I recommend sitting it out until the next one comes along.
Technical problems or no, Magic Realms is one of the very best collectible card games on Windows Phone. It offers so much content and such great battles, card battling fans are sure to keep coming back for more. Check out our review for more details.
- Magic Realms – Windows Phone 8 – 48 MB – Free – Store Link