Spectromancer is the kind of game that is easy to pick up, easy to play, but difficult to master. Like the card games that obviously inspire it (Magic, Seventh Sea, etc.), Spectromancer revolves around two players summoning creatures and magic to destroy each other on a limited playing field.
Spectromancer isn't exactly a huge release, and it's obvious that Apus Software spent their time on creating a solid framework for their card game, and then filled in the blanks with art and a story. As stories go, it doesn't reach the ludicrous (and excellent) heights of Puzzle Quest, nor does it completely lack a narrative. Suffice it to say most players won't be worrying much about the history of the troubled land you find yourself battling through. If you want to though there's back-story to be had, so everyone should be satisfied.
Spectromancer is based around two key game mechanics: playing cards and placing cards. In practice, this means that there are two important decisions to be made every turn: what card to play, and (if applicable) where to place it. Cards are either creatures or spells, all of which have their own peculiarities and special abilities.
The game features single player and a host of multiplayer options (both hotseat and online). The single player component is a nice way to test your skills against a less exacting opponent than you'll find online. Hotseat especially is enjoyable, as such modes always are.
Multiplayer is a bit more of an alarming proposition, due (no doubt) to my own lack of skill at such endeavors. There's no doubt about the number of people out there willing to play Spectromancer with you, it's just that most of them probably have a better idea of how to construct decks or use decks than I do.
Obviously this shouldn't be something that stops you from taking Spectromancer online. On the contrary, if you enjoy learning the ins and outs of card games, and want to have exciting matches with people just as enthusiastic as you, then you're in for a treat: Spectromancer has its own community quite ready to welcome you into its ranks, and you'll find no shortage of combatants willing to take you on.
Unfortunately, Spectromancer does very well at the few things it sets out to do, and neglects to create an interesting world in which to play. It doesn't matter how interesting the tactics and cards available, the artwork and presentation won't be getting any better. They're fantasy-lite at best, and really don't do the best job of selling the fantastical world you find yourself in.
This doesn't mean gamers should write Spectromancer off as a lost cause, however. This is just the impression that Spectromancer gives one at first glance: a competent, workmanlike game that never surprises you. If you're looking for a new computer-based card game, this could be it, especially if you don't want to cough up the money for something like Eye of Judgment.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 70%.