Parallel is a free-to-play competitive trading card game (TCG) set in the far future. The new kid on the very TCG block, does it stack up very well to the competition or is not playing with a full deck?

Parallel to Perfection

First off, Parallel’s design is surprisingly tight and well done for a free-to-play TCG. I found it easy to quickly understand the layout of the field and what to do on each turn. Everything from the sound effects to the character exposition lines, felt very on them, on point and fantastically set. The design leans into the futuristic theme. You are first put into the shoes of the Marcolian fleet facing off against a motley fleet of pirates. This tutorial is offset by a well-made cutscene. The cutscene grants tremendous exposition and entrenches you within the lore of Parallel.

Battle for Earth

After you complete the tutorial you have access to rookie mode, a game mode with a pool of rookie decks from each major faction. Although a bit lengthy to play all the faction decks, you get a good sense of each faction’s playstyle. The Augencore; a tech-obsessed faction, Earthen; the “good guys” who fight for Mother Earth, the Kathari; a clone faction that’s rapidly decaying, Marcolians humans from Mars, and finally the Shroud; a fanatic religious faction awaiting the arrival of the Great One. You’ll have the opportunity to play each faction at least 5 times in rookie mode, which makes for a great onboarding experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the lore text available on the cards. I am a sucker for lore it has to be said. But it has to be noted the amount of thought and care that went into the lore-building of Parallel.

Fear the Singularity

Outside of the design and lore, the gameplay itself is okay. It hits the mark of a playable competitive TCG but there is a few glaring issues with the current state of the game. The animations and on-screen prompts went a bit too quickly for my liking as I had to give myself a couple of seconds to figure out what had happened in any instance of damage or interaction. You would be assigning defenders, or playing a soldier and BAM a quick succession of almost blurred animations happens wiping your board. It created a strange disorientation which I felt didn’t need to be there so early! This was just after the tutorial mind you. More also has to be done in the way of balancing as the Shroud is by far the best faction, even in rookie mode I’d get stomped by Shroud decks early on.

Now the gameplay isn’t all bad, as I said the rookie decks are great for newbies and the overall design and card synergies with each faction really shine through in games. There is a promising TCG found in Parallel. However, I fear we may be a few patches away from it as the UI and user experience can really let it down early on, which may deter a lot of newcomers!

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