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The key to winning a match in a fighting game is predicting what your opponent will do—and then punishing him or her once you get the opening you're waiting for. Focusing on this more mental component of the genre, Yomi for iPad introduces aspects of poker and rock-paper-scissors to turn that combo-happy experience into a strategic card game that still feels like you’re fighting. You may not be mashing buttons, but Yomi offers intense and rewarding moments that put your skills to the test.
A match in Yomi is like one round in a fighting game: both sides try to take down the opponent to zero health with a mix of basic attacks, combos, and specials, guarding every so often or jumping away to avoid getting hit. Instead of physically moving a character, however, you’ll be drawing cards from a deck that offers several possible offensive and defensive commands. Aces, for example, are your character’s ultimate attack and require a few of the same type to play it. But it’s not just the cards in your hand that you’ll need to think about. Attacks are vulnerable to dodge cards, blocks can stop attacks from hitting, and throws can easily trump an opponent playing a block card and leave him or her open for a devastating combo. Each turn still provides that fast-paced feeling of exchanging blows with the enemy, but Yomi turns it into a satisfying and quite combative game of poker where you want Lady Luck on your side.
Luck isn’t the only thing that can affect the outcome of a match, though. The key to winning lies in knowing your character (or deck) and understanding how each card can help you at different times. And with 10 unique characters—ranging from defensive tanks to nimble hitters—to choose from, Yomi gives you plenty of room to find and master your favorite play style.
Originally a tabletop game, Yomi feels and looks great on iPad and offers an additional 10 decks to play with via an in-app purchase. Detailed tutorials definitely help you get acquainted with all its intricacies, and offline battles let you practice your skills before facing off against online opponents. Its presentation proves a bit lacking over time, however, as staring at bland, static images of your fighter or listening to the same repetitive music can get old pretty fast.
The bottom line. Intricate yet fun to learn, Yomi mixes fighting and card games together into a compact package that plays just as well on iPad as it does on your tabletop.
iPad running iOS 6.0 or later
Fluid and responsive controls let gameplay translate perfectly to iPad. Ten decks to choose from, each with its own special mix of commands and abilities. Sharp visuals capture the detail of every card.
Steep learning curve. Basic animations and sound don’t offer much to enhance the experience.