Review: Top Trumps 007: The Best of Bond (iPhone)

5 mins read

I’ll break one of the rules of writing a game review and give you the summary up front: Top Trumps 007: The Best of Bond is a game that only James Bond fans are going to get into. It’s a silly little card game that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the fan service is enough to see it through.

Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun… DUN DUN, dun dun dun

To describe the game in brief – there are 40 odd cards, each representing one character from the James Bond universe. Each of those cards, and characters, have six statistics assigned to them – the year they appeared in a Bond movie, as well as ‘style,’ ‘seduction,’ ‘brutality,’ ‘twisted,’ and ‘threat.’ The game is played by picking one of those variables, and then revealing your card at the same time your opponent does. The person with the higher value wins the cards. Then two new cards are drawn and the process starts anew. The person who ends up with the entire deck wins the game.

There’s a few special abilities to help introduce an element of strategy to the game, these range from taking a peak at the opponent’s card, to doubling the value of your card’s statistics for one round. In reality, the only use for these cards is to buff up the weaker character cards, and you’ll quickly learn who those are. From that point on, it’s pretty easy to win, as all the characters have very distinct strengths and weaknesses.

I honestly don’t understand how the card creators arrive at these statistics… they appear to be assigned completely randomly

The ease is compounded by the brain dead AI which does, at times, pick the weakest category for its cards when it does have a turn to pick. Luckily, there is multiplayer capability built into the game. Unfortunately, this is such a low profile game that it’ll be difficult to get a game going.

The other fundamental flaw in this game is the statistics themselves. They’re often arbitrarily assigned, and sometimes make no sense in the context of the characters they’re meant to represent. Furthermore, the values are all over the place. “Threat” ranges from 0 to 250 or so, while the value for ‘style’ never goes above 10. A cohesive use of statistics would have ignited the Bond fanatic in me, but because of the random assignment of values, I struggled to care here.

Eventually you’ll learn where each character stands on the scale for each statistic, after all there are only 40 of them, but until you do that you’ll be left wondering what these numbers are meant to mean.

At least with collectible card games, like Magic: The Gathering, the numbers make sense.

What makes Pierce Brosnan’s Bond 2 points more ‘brutal’ than Daniel Craig’s? (see above). That’s entirely wrong.

Esoteric statistics system aside, the presentation in the game is also quite cheap. The artwork on the cards (and given it’s some famous characters here, that’s a pretty important element) is quite plain and small, and animation is just a few frames per card. The music is a very poor remix of the original James Bond theme.

And yet, I keep coming back to this game. It’s easy to play for five minutes at a time, and I am the kind of guy who has seen every Bond movie multiple times. We’re probably some time away from a ‘real’ James Bond game appearing on iOS platforms, given that Activision owns the video game license, and Activision is… not throwing its weight behind the platform.

So, in the meantime, this will do.

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