Apr 26, 2017 Last Updated 5:21 PM, Apr 26, 2017

Card Quest Early Access Review

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Card Quest is a role-playing game that utilizes cards to attack and defend. Combat is fairly straightforward, but the strategy required to survive can be hard to fully master: improper planning can easily spell the death of your character.

For anyone looking for some challenge, Card Quest is one to check out.

As it stands in Early Access, there are three different classes to level up, and luckily any experience gained is not lost should you die in battle. A boss battle can be tricky if you don't strategize properly, and yet this sort of challenge is precisely the aspect of Card Quest to enjoy. Yes, you can grind to level up and become stronger, and at certain levels for each class, you'll gain the option of an alternative "school" of cards to equip, which offers other tactical and defensive cards. Don't expect to become overpowered, however. Card Quest is tough and bosses, in particular, pose a challenge.

They won't be easily defeated, at least not at first.

Once you become better acquainted with strategies to use, finding out what works and what doesn't, the difficulty drops down. Some.

WinterSpring Games does need to do some balancing act before the game releases, though. The three classes are somewhat imbalanced; perhaps the increased amount of stamina the warrior's attacks require help counteract the fact that some of his cards shield him from future attacks.

Still, I found the rogue easier to use and harder to kill in comparison. Managing his stamina also seemed quite easier, and his progression faster: I was able to plow through a wave of enemies quicker; there were many times he would clear a wave within a single turn.

The wizard was perhaps as hard as the warrior to use; I found myself dying just as quickly, and at times my whole hand of five cards was exclusively defensive or tactical. No way to attack whatsoever. Of course, becoming better at strategizing would help, and perhaps my experience stems from the fact that...

Hey, I'm a natural with rogues.

The rogue is also the only class that doesn't have an extra resource to manage. The warrior utilizes tactics, and the wizard, arcane charges. At the beginning of a battle, both of these start at very low levels and must be generated; and in the event that you are unable to produce them, some very useful cards in hand could be unusable in battle.

There are currently three campaigns which one can undertake, each with its own unique set of enemies and bosses; and each of these features a multitude of other regions to explore once the first is beaten.

But be warned!

Card Quest is unforgiving in that it embraces perma-death: dying means you must restart from the first region of a campaign. On the bright side, any experience and items gained are kept, which means you can gradually get better and hopefully get further and further with each attempt.

Upon completing a level within a campaign for the second time, you won't gain an equipable item as you did on your first run. So, farming isn't possible. On the one hand, this does incentivize you to go further in a campaign, but on the other, it might be disappointing if you think grinding is a treat, and have a wide array of equipment to use to bolster a character's statistics.

Technically, Card Quest isn't perfect.

It crashed once, right after beating a boss. Thankfully, I rebooted it and was able to continue where I had left off (well, at least at the beginning of the boss battle). Halfway through, it crashed again. Given that Card Quest is still in Early Access, you cannot expect it to be polished and perfect; hopefully, the issue will be fixed before the full release. Additionally, upon beginning a campaign, there always were delays of a few seconds when getting cards. The lag isn't too bad and only seemed to occur while actively playing.

Also noteworthy.

Interface and layouts are easy to navigate. The soundtrack is a bit too atmospheric and relaxed to match the thrill of combat, but sound effects are good. Additionally, each level features a brief prolog which is well written; it adds a setting that nicely complements Card Quest's gameplay.


The Verdict

Card Quest is innovative in combat mechanics, and while its competitors can be fun to try, this card-based RPG especially left me wanting to play more. The system in place for progression gives exciting edges in combat, and it's somewhat addictive. With each battle and every turn, you must plan to survive. You must beat the level. You must complete your quest... Yes: if you enjoy card-based RPGs, definitely check Card Quests out.

Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

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