Final Fantasy-inspired card battler Pixel Tactics is coming to PC

Pixel Tactics Online is a digital adaptation of a videogame-inspired physical card battler from Level 99 Games, and it's releasing on Steam this summer. (So it'll be a videogame inspired by a card game that was inspired by videogames.)

The cards in Pixel Tactics represent characters based on familiar RPG classes such as the paladin, assassin, and summoner. Each player typically starts with an identical 25-card deck of characters, as well as a 3x3 grid to deploy them on. Which square a card is deployed on affects its stats and abilities. 

Players take turns drafting and moving heroes around their unit grids to maximize their synergies. It's a bit similar to autobattlers such as Teamfight Tactics, but with direct control of each of your units. The goal is to eliminate the opposing leader in the center of each players' grid. I enjoy playing the small-box card game when I want a fast-paced, tactically satisfying 1-on-1 game with barely any setup time. Even with just the first core box set, matches are cutthroat and highly replayable.

According to a recent Q&A livestream with the publisher, Pixel Tactics Online will play even faster than its physical counterpart, because the number of actions players can take every turn has been increased from two to three. (I wouldn't mind adding that as a new house rule for the card game as well.)

In addition to online PvP, Pixel Tactics Online will feature a solo mode with 25 stages, each with three difficulty levels, with the publisher claiming 75 unique stages in total. Like the physical card game, there are no microtransactions or booster packs, though the price has not yet been announced. Players will unlock additional cards by completing stages in the solo mode, allowing them to customize their deck with cards from other sets.

The original Pixel Tactics card game released in 2012 and spawned several sequels and spin-offs, including an officially licensed Mega Man version featuring all the robot masters in place of fantasy classes (and more streamlined rules). Judging from the screenshots, we can sadly assume the Mega Man license does not extend to Pixel Tactics Online.

Level 99 Games is an independent board game publisher and developer known for anime art styles and designs inspired by videogames. Its biggest games series, BattleCon, is a card-based 1v1 fighting game that was ported to Steam in 2018 as BattleCon: Online.