Pixel Tactics Online is a digital adaptation of a video game-inspired physical card fighter from Level 99 Games and will be released on Steam this summer. (So it’s going to be a video game inspired by a card game inspired by video games.)
The cards in Pixel Tactics represent characters based on well-known RPG classes such as Paladin, Assassin and Summoner. Each player usually starts out with an identical 25-card deck of cards plus a 3×3 grid to wager them on. Which field a card is placed in affects its stats and abilities.
Players take turns drawing and moving heroes in their unit grids to maximize their synergies. It’s a bit similar to Autobattler like Teamfight Tactics, but with direct control over each of your units. The goal is to eliminate the opposing leader in the center of each player’s grid. I enjoy playing the small box card game when I want a quick, tactically satisfying 1-on-1 game with little set-up time. Even with the first core box set, matches are breakneck and highly repeatable.
According to a recently released Q&A livestream with the publisher, Pixel Tactics Online will play even faster than its physical counterpart as the number of actions players can take in each round has increased from two to three. (I wouldn’t mind adding this as a new house rule for the card game as well.)
In addition to online PvP, Pixel Tactics Online offers a solo mode with 25 levels, each with three levels of difficulty, with the publisher claiming a total of 75 unique levels. As with the physical card game, there are no microtransactions or booster packs, although the price has not yet been revealed. Players will unlock additional cards by completing the stages in solo mode so they can customize their deck with cards from other sets.
The original Pixel Tactics card game was released in 2012 and spawned several sequels and spin-offs, including an officially licensed Mega Man version with all robot masters instead of fantasy classes (and optimized rules). Judging by the screenshots, we can unfortunately assume that the Mega Man license does not apply to Pixel Tactics Online.
Level 99 Games is an independent board game publisher and developer known for anime art styles and designs inspired by video games. The largest game series, BattleCon, is a card-based 1v1 fighting game that was ported to Steam in 2018 as BattleCon: Online.