South Park Phone Destroyer - Is It Pay-To-Win?

Katie Kilberg D'Agostine


blog image

Ubisoft and South Park Studios have recently launched a new mobile card game called South Park Phone Destroyer and it is making headlines around the online community. The free-to-play game brings together the clever humor of the franchise along with above average gameplay to keep players glued to their devices.

But, being called “free-to-play” has certainly taken on a new meaning. Yes, you can download and literally play the game for free, but in order to master it, the creators have - like with most mobile games today - added in-app purchases that help players buy or upgrade their cards. While most mobile gamers would be used to this already, the question arises as to whether the South Park Phone Destroyer game comes across as a pay-to-win game or not. Let's find out.

Subtle Warning

Right off the bat, the game introduces players to a warning that lets them know that there are in-app purchases and ads that can be viewed to gain rewards - as soon as it boots up. It even gives players instructions on how these ads and purchases can be disabled and cost real cash. The creators went the extra mile and asked potential players not to play the game on account of it requiring real money. Publicity stunt or honest request? Whatever it was, it doesn't seem to be working as the game is growing in popularity as we speak.

In comparison, we have The Simpsons and Family Guy titles to choose from as well, but with a reputation of being ‘cash grabbers’, Phone Destroyer would be a wise choice. For one, the game manages to maintain a balance between fun gameplay and revenue making. Still, we find ourselves asking the question of whether it's a pay-to-win game or not.

Well, that can only really be answered by the players themselves. Whether they choose to pay and play or use their skill (and time) to make their way to the top, is entirely a personal decision. For clarity, let's take a look at what you're paying for.

Cards, Cash, Coins

Cards, Cash, Coins

As with most card collecting games, Phone Destroyer gives players the opportunity to purchase cards whenever they want. As you visit the store (directed by Cartman), you can choose between the Basic, Silver, Gold, and Platinum packs. Each pack contains a number of items including cards, coins, gold, and more. In the beginning, players get a free pack to start with as well as a Premium pack with better goodies inside. Every couple of hours, a free pack is made available as well. To purchase a pack, you need in-game cash and to get in-game cash, players need to spend real-life money. Starting at $4.99 (for 500 cash) and reaching $49.99 (for 6000 cash), this is where in-app purchases come in.

While the Basic pack carried nothing more than some upgrades and coins, the Platinum pack comes with rare and epic cards, upgrades, coins, and more. Yes, it might seem expensive, but similar games usually give players a single tier to choose from without any add-on's. Apart from purchasing packs, the Cash can be used to buy gold. In all, the game contains three different ways to make purchases - Cash, Gold, and PvP Tickets (which are earned after playing against another player).

Is It All Worth It?

The South Park Phone Destroyer game is a great title to have on your mobile device, even though it's in-app purchases might make it a bit difficult to get ahead faster. Join Team Cartman to battle against Team Stan in various settings such as pirates, cowboys and Indians, and more. Use special cards as your energy meter replenishes itself and use the power cards at the right time to win.

Every character has their own special skill from assassins to gunslingers and more. The graphics are quite exceptional and look identical to what an episode of South Park would look like.

The Verdict

South Park Phone Destroyer is a unique game that manages to hold players in albeit their rather expensive in-app purchases. Yes, they can be avoided easily, but it would take a long time to reach a level wherein a player could compete with the best. With purchases that set a player up with upgrades and cards that are made to dominate the game, South Park Phone Destroyer is definitely a Pay-To-Win title.