Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards takes a number of Fox’s animation shows and puts them all into a card battle game. Developer Kongregate uses all your favourite characters from Family Guy, American Dad, King of the Hill, Futurama and Bob’s Burgers.
A free to play game, Animation Throwdown showcases both the best and worst elements of the free mobile gaming market.
Like most games in this field, there isn’t a plot really. Instead you’ll take your cards through an Adventure Mode where you will do battle across themed levels against the AI. Then there is the Arena where you can throwdown with other players (controlled by the AI) as well as take part in Challenges, Sieges and Rumbles. Plenty of modes but little variation as you would expect.
Animation Throwdown borrows from most other card battle games on the market. Your cards have an attack, a defence and various skills depending on the rarity of the card. These can include increased attacks, stronger defences, poison and much more.
Each card placed will automatically target the card opposite unless the space is empty. Then the card with no opponent to fight will attack the enemy hero. The aim isn’t to destroy all of the opposing cards but to defeat the hero.
It’s not just laying cards down though, you can also combo up cards to make them even more powerful. Most of these have to be researched first but once you have some unlocked you’ll find various combos that really pack a punch as well as raising a smile. Such as the combination of Meg (Family Guy) and alcohol to create Future Meg or Steve (American Dad) and music to create Daddy’s Gone Steve. It’s a lot of fun to discover all the wacky combinations that exist at least until the game’s free to play side does everything possible to suck that enjoyment out.
Timers are to be expected here, it’s a free to play game after all but holy hell, Animation Throwdown isn’t messing around. The early cards take a couple of minutes but before long you’ll be waiting hours then days. I’m not joking, later combinations take days unless you’re willing to dip into your pocket but I’ll get to that a bit further down.
Get used to timers though. Research is not the only place they come into play.
The further you make it in Adventure Mode, the harder it gets. The more opponents you defeat in battle, the tougher they become. Combo-ing cards becomes a necessity but the other way you can strengthen your deck is to upgrade them using Power. This comes from playing in Adventure Mode, recycling cards you don’t need and through card packs. After hitting the max level of one card in Power, you can fuse it with another of the same card of the same level to start again at level 1 but with a stronger card. It’s actually very simple and pretty nonrestrictive provided you have the Power to spend.
Elsewhere you earn coins that can be spent in the shop. This is where you can buy card packs and at first the game is really generous. You’ll have a huge collection of cards before you know it but the further you make it, the less coins you receive and the prices start to go up. Coins come regularly but the premium currency of gems? That well dries up.
Animation Throwdown wants you to spend and after giving you a few hours of gameplay, turns you upside down and starts shaking out your pockets. Adventure Mode costs energy to play and early on you won’t even notice it disappearing but later levels require more and more energy and you’ll be running out having to wait on a timer or spend gems to refill it. The Arena also costs energy but in a hilarious attempt to squeeze every penny possible out of players, it is a different kind of energy that also runs out quickly!
This game is purposely set up to lull you into a false sense of security. It’s easy and it’s generous then out of nowhere, the walls come crashing down and its smile isn’t looking so friendly anymore. A bit too much teeth on show.
What started as hours of fun gameplay trickles to a couple of minutes while you wait out timers. Unless you’re willing to spend real money. So what do you get should you reach into your wallet?
There are so many different options and packs that going into each one would take a very long time so we’ll keep it simple with some breakdowns.
The Super Epic Pack (3 cards with one guaranteed Epic or higher card). This costs 250 gems and the lowest amount you can buy is 400 gems for £4.99. That’s £4.99 for a few cards with a little change.
Want to play more Adventure Mode? Well why not increase the cap by 25 for the eye-watering price of £9.99!
How about the Research Accelerator? According to the description it significantly decreases research time although it doesn’t state by how much. That will cost you £9.99.
Or maybe you’re thinking big. Maybe you’re thinking about spending some serious money to make it worth while. Well, how about the Super Epic Pack x 10 (10 Super Epic Packs + 1 Free) which costs 2500 gems. Nearest amount of gems you can buy? 1700 for £19.99 and 825 gems for £9.99 or 4500 gems for £48.99.
For cards…in a game where they have made up these prices to reflect a commodity that doesn’t exist and is finite. If the thought of spending money on this game makes you shudder then you’re only option is wait the timers out and after a while you just won’t go back.
It’s a shame because Animation Throwndown is actually pretty good. It’s easy to play, easy to get to grips with and if you’re a fan of the shows it represents, fun and silly. As soon as those walls come crashing down though, it’s only going to end up in the delete pile.
Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards
The Final Score - 5/10