Aces & Adventures is a Steam-only game, and it was released in February 2023 developed by Yogscast, and was bundled with the Yogscast Jingle Jam 2023. It has Steam cards and achievements, supports multiple languages besides English, and is playable on Steam Deck.
Aces & Adventures is inspired by Norse and Middle Eastern mythology. You are tasked with saving the Life Tree from evil. There are five characters to choose from: Enchantress, Hunter, Mage, Rogue, and Warrior, and each has different abilities/play styles.
Gameplay And Combat
You are given a poker hand for each combat with five cards and one ability. You take turns attacking and blocking, and the higher Poker card determines who wins the fight. The player does not need previous Poker experience to play the game, but it will make it easier to beat the earlier levels. If you reach a certain level, you can mulligan a card in your starting hand to increase the odds of getting pairs or face cards.
During an adventure, you can choose to heal (restore) or pick a character trait. If it is a special encounter, you get a choice between a new card ability related to the enemy or 1 of 3 character abilities. Also, there is a merchant that gives you the option to add bonuses such as higher offense or defense. Each class has nine traits to choose from, three choices per level.
It is essential only to use the abilities needed to defeat the current enemy. Your current hand rolls over to the next fight, so it’s important to have some abilities to deal with the enemy.
During the run, you can choose between going one or the other. Each path leads to a different enemy, but ultimately, you will fight the same boss at the end. If there were a consequence to choosing a different path, it would enhance the game’s story.
You need to hover over the enemy to learn what the keyword means. For the harder difficulties, you will be faced with enemies with stronger keywords. Enemy keywords vary and affect turn order, damage, spells, and other aspects.
- Harm Shield- Deal 1 damage on the opponent’s turn.
- Safe attack- No recoil damage taken when enemy blocks an attack.
- Double attack- Can attack twice in 1 turn.
- Reanimate- When enemy dies, draw a card and if jack or higher, enemy revives.
- First Strike- Enemy attacks before your turn.
When pausing, there is a help menu, but it only describes poker hands. This would have been the ideal place to explain enemy keywords.
Before confirming your attack, you can check how much damage it will do if enemy is unable to defend. Attack and defense stats will affect the damage taken. If your defense stat is high enough, you can deal damage for successfully blocking an attack.
After beating the Spring campaign, there are daily challenges to try and Slay the spire mode called The Invernal spire with map to navigate- fights, items, etc. Daily challenges have a leaderboard, and there are three new daily challenges.
The order is the order in which the player unlocks each class in the game. Voice actor descriptions are provided.
- Warrior relies on using shields to reduce damage and dealing damage by surviving—tough and honorable dwarf race.
- Rogue is about combo(Jack or higher to do double damage) and taping (freezing)enemies. Deceitful and spirited.
- Mage uses spells to deal damage, tap (freeze), and is good at killing multiple enemies. Wise and solemn.
- Hunter summons to gain benefits. Also, he can do multiple attacks in one turn. Bloodthirsty and relentless.
- Enchantress uses debuffs and manipulates attack or defense to get an advantage. Seductive and sassy.
You can get a S-tier rating if you finish a campaign quickly (within 2.5 minutes or less). You can choose any campaign to beat/retry after you beat the final one- Invernus. The icons on the bottom are the other modes that are unlocked after beating Spring.
Multiple difficulties are available, and you unlock the next difficulty after beating one. Spring is the basic one, and each harder mode will add enemies with more health and traits.
On harder difficulties, some enemies seem to have pairs more often than expected, and you can take heavy damage if your deck is not edited to defend. Cards to cycle and draw abilities are crucial for winning.
Deckbuilding and Progression
The max level is 30, and you gradually unlock new abilities for each Character. Each level gives random cards among the five Characters. Even if you win with mage, you can choose to level up a different character even if you only prefer using a certain class.
After getting levels, you can change your deck and add or remove cards from the starter deck. You can make several decks and name each deck, making experimentation easy for different modes. Each deck must contain thirty cards, and there are + versions of cards that are stronger than the normal version, but they may require a certain suit or poker card to be played.
One run usually gives 1-2 levels, which is fair. However, you cannot unlock specific cards. It would have been nice if there was a currency, such as poker chips, to buy certain cards for a character. For example, I rarely play enchantress but mostly hunter, mage, and rogue.
The edit deck menu is cluttered and could be organized better so players can easily add cards and view the deck. There are card searches and filters by suit/card features. Also, you can see cards that you have not unlocked yet. A suggestion is to show how balanced the deck is with offensive and defensive cards with a visual like many card games have.
Graphics and Sound
Sound effects are played when inflicting damage to the enemy. When you die and encounter a new enemy, you hear a short message or animal noise. When fighting a boss, the music gets more tense as well. The narrator adds a nice touch to the game by describing the next scene or setting the stage for a boss fight.
There are no blood visual effects, but there are weapon and death sounds. It can be played by teens and adults.
Areas For Improvement
- Glitch with Steam achievements. When you increase a character’s level, there is a Steam popup showing you got them to level 30.
- Repetitiveness. Hold pairs for defense and stall until you can kill the enemy. Most enemies don’t have abilities that make them dangerous. Most of the time, you will take only two damage if they have pairs and you can’t block. On harder difficulty, you usually lose because enemies overwhelmed you and did not draw the cards to block/prevent damage.
- After playing for 7-8 hours, you may get bored of playing the game. The other modes add a different way to explore the game, but you may want to take a break if you do not enjoy the poker aspect.
- No restart option in the pause menu. If you have a bad turn or take too much damage, I prefer an option to restart without exiting and choosing level/character again.
Luck of the Paw is free. Your cards appear with cat images. This DLC is for visual change only and does not affect the cards/classes.
A fun rogue-like card game with a variety of modes. This game takes inspiration from Slay the Spire with a unique spin on deck builders. Some features can be improved, such as editing your deck, achievement glitch, and some other minor aspects. Great for players that enjoy Poker and card games.