Mobile Terra Mystica is Out – First Impressions

Last Thursday, Terra Mystica hit our mobile screens, right on schedule.

It’s a great-looking app. Digidiced should be proud.

TM 5

I’m not going to go into the rules or how the game itself plays, however, as it would take way too long and probably wouldn’t make sense anyway. That would assume that I actually understand it.

I will talk about the app itself and how well it translates, though.

First, one of the minor problems with it before I get into the praise.

The tutorial is adequate but I can’t imagine it helping too many people who aren’t already familiar with the game. I have played the game on the table twice and bounced off of it both times, but I remember enough about it that the tutorial helped.

If you have never even seen the game at all? The tutorial can get you started, but I’d take a look at the rules or a video walkthrough or something. You will be lost otherwise.

TM 1

The game currently has four “easy” AI opponents, though more AIs are coming. It also has local pass and play and online multiplayer using the same “friends” system as Digidiced’s other games (Le Havre: Inland Port, Patchwork, and Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small). If you’re friends on one game, you’re friends on all of their games.

I haven’t had the chance to try out the multiplayer yet, but I’ve heard some people are having a little trouble connecting to games. Nothing too major, and from experience I know that Digidiced are very responsive to bug issues. I’m sure they’ll get sorted out.

TM 3

Everything you need to play the game is only a tap (maybe two) away which, considering how much there is to absorb in this game, is amazing.

Some people do complain about too many taps being required, but seriously. How much screen real estate would be required to put all of this stuff onto one screen? You’d need an iPad bigger than my 105″ TV screen (note: TV screen size may be exaggerated for effect). A few taps will not kill you, especially once you get used to where things are.

One tap gets you the player board for your race and what is available to you. Click on one of those arrows next to the picture and you will get your race’s description (and another tap there will give you their special abilities and what happens when you build a stronghold).

TM 10

Another tap brings you to the cult track.

Seriously, how would you get this onto the screen without making it a separate screen?

Some people, I tell ya… (start grumbling about young people these days…)

TM 9

The summary that’s at the bottom of each screen (see the last two photos above) give you the bare bones of everything you need to know regardless of what screen you’re on: number of workers available, priests available, gold, a basic rundown of where you are on each cult track, and how much power you have in each of your pools (don’t ask me to explain how power works or my brain will fry and this post won’t get finished).

TM 7

When it’s your turn, you tap on your race portrait to call up your available actions. You can always tap the “i” button to go back to your overall race screen, but it would be nice to have a “back” button so that you can come back to this screen directly. Right now, you have to exit out of the overall screen and then tap your portrait again to call this menu up.

But overall, the UI is very good. Not the most intuitive, but a couple of games under your belt will have you accessing the screens you need with no problems.

Overall, I’m very impressed with my first look at Terra Mystica. I can see myself playing this game and maybe learning it enough that I would play it on the table again. I’ve been avoiding it just because I was having trouble making sense of how to play it even badly (I would have to work hard to move up to the rank of “bad”).

TM 8

It’s currently $9.99 US on iOS/Android/Windows mobile and will be on Steam sometime soon!

Check it out, and maybe hit me up for a game.

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