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Card Quest melds card combat with dungeon-crawling

Deal with it

Card Quest [Steam page] arrived in my inbox billed as a card combat roguelike dungeon crawler; a genre combo which caused a chill of fear to run down my spine. That or I left the window open and it's January.

Oh wait - maybe it was the window because I booted the game up and accidentally spent an hour-long phone call playing it in the background, trying to defeat the first scenario's boss.

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What you're doing is using class-specific decks of cards to fight bands of opponents. The whole thing has the pixel art look of games I remember from my childhood and, for some reason, that makes me happier about trying it than other card-centric video games. I think it's because it's an art style which felt right, rather than seeming like part of the mindless nostalgia boom, you know?

The main elements you're keeping an eye on are your stamina, which you spend to play most of your attack cards and defence cards, and whether you've managed to get a chain going, which amplifies the effects of subsequent attacks. Obviously you also have a health pool you're guarding otherwise you have to start all over again and all the other attendant bits and pieces of combat/loadouts in videogames, but generally it seemed to keep that side of things pretty simple, leaving you to focus on stamina management and combat planning using the cards you've been dealt.

One of the more pleasing aspects I found while playing was successfully planning and executing a defence. So, generally you can fudge the battling until you run up against a boss monster. The one I met had 40 HP (previous enemies had topped out at 8) and was resistant to stuns, so the battle became about saving my concealment options (I was playing as a rogue) for when he was going to attack as well as using the cards which let me dodge his damage and divert it towards an enemy, effectively using the boss's strength against his own posse. I'm also a fan of not having to build decks, although I suspect that lack of control or fine-tuning will be a right turn-off for other people.

Like I say, I've only played an hour, and only as a rogue, AND it's in Early Access so all of the usual caveats apply on that front as well. That said, I did rather enjoy that hour and will be going back later today to see if I can get a bit further, especially now that I defeated that first boss. The win earned me a lucky penny trinket which I can use for a bit of emergency stamina and the chance to deal a bit more damage. I will be UNSTOPPABLE. Maybe.

Tis £5.59/$7.99 over on Steam at the moment.

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