Developer: SCEJ/Q Entertainment
The great news about Destiny of Spirits is that, as Free-to-Play games go, it’s pretty awesome. There’s no matching or tapping or any of that nonsense usually associated with F2P games. Instead, it’s a turn-based RPG/strategy game, with a heavy dose of…I don’t know, Magic (or some other card-based game) thrown in for good measure. There’s no restrictions on how many times per day you can play, and there’s not really any “Share to get X!” going on, either. It might help your game a little if you want to spend money to get better orbs, but in general, you earn more than enough of those just playing the game.
What makes it all work, of course, is that it is a game you’ll want to keep playing. I’ve never been big on strategy games, and I’ve never been able to figure out how card games work, but Destiny of Spirits makes it all seem like the easiest stuff in the world. It’s not quite strategy for dummies or anything (at least, I don’t think it is), but everything is presented so clearly and intuitively that it sucks you in almost right away. I mean, there are definitely intricacies I don’t quite get, but the basic gameplay is incredibly easy to grasp, and the difficulty increases at the perfect level of challenging-but-not-too-challenging.
And what is the gameplay, exactly? As I said, it’s a little bit turn-based strategy, a little bit RPG, and a little bit Magic. You’re given a few spirits to start the game, and you take them around the world — literally, since it’s all location-based — fighting demons in turn-based battles. The location stuff actually has a use, too, in that you can rent (for lack of a better term) spirits from elsewhere in the world to fight alongside your squad, and different places and strengths bring different levels of compatibility. It’s executed incredibly well, and the matches all happen so quickly it’s easy to get addicted.
Unfortunately, the location stuff is also tied to the game’s one major flaw. In order to access it, you need to be online…and, for some reason, I consistently had a really hard time connecting to the server. Maybe I just had lousy timing or horrible luck, but it seemed like half the time I started Destiny of Spirits up, I’d get a message that the server was undergoing maintenance, and I’d get booted back to the title screen.
As annoying as that is, though, we’re not talking about a Sim City-style fiasco. Destiny of Spirits is, after all, a Free-to-Play game, and it doesn’t cost a cent to play online, which means that the cost of admission is owning a PS Vita and the time it takes to download the game. You should already be doing the former, and the game is addictive enough that the time it takes to download it should pale in comparison to the time you spend playing it. As returns on investment go, that seems pretty hard to beat.