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Daily iPad App: Magic 2013 finally brings Magic to iOS

Magic 2013 arrived on the App Store recently, and it was a long time coming. It's the first real version of Magic: The Gathering that we've seen since Apple's platform was first created. The iPad's touchscreen seems like a no-brainer for collectible card games, and there have been quite a few of them out there already. But we haven't had a real, official Magic: The Gathering app until now, which means Magic 2013 is the first app that actually lets you play the official game that's been so popular for years and years.

Unfortunately, Wizards of the Coast has had to make some concessions, and those shortcuts are problematic. First of all, this game is actually modeled off of (and created by the same team as) the Xbox Live version of the game, which means it isn't a "pure" version of Magic (where you can create your own decks at will). Instead, it's sort of a "sampler" version, with a bunch of different decks to play with and only slightly customize, rather than free access to the collectible cards.

The other issue is that because this version is based on a controller-driven game, it's not nearly as tactile as you'd imagine Magic on the iPad to be. That's a shame -- instead of designing a different version of Magic just for the iPad, Wizards essentially ported the (already popular) Xbox Live version. Not being able to do things like interact with the cards in a realistic way is a bummer.

There are obvious reasons for all of this. Wizards certainly doesn't want to cannibalize sales of the actual cards, and the Xbox Live version is already a proven success (not to mention relatively cheaper to port over than to create a whole new game). Magic 2013 is an excellent title if you like Magic. It definitely allows you to play cards, make moves, and play out the full game, against the AI or other players. It's just too bad we didn't get something a little more suited to this platform, instead of a copy of Xbox Live's big title.

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