Do you like magic? Summon mystical creatures? And especially deckbuilders? This game is for you. Cardaclysm is an indie game developed by Elder Games (Hungarian Studio) and published by Headup, which was released in July last year, but was released from early Access recently in February this year.
Cardaclysm cannot be easily classified in the video game industry as it is a very well-developed combination of several of them. It has the characteristics of a deckbuilder and roguelike, two genres that are very fashionable lately; Strategy and RPG, those genres that never go out of style and that many of us are in love with, otherwise I wouldn’t want to write about them and you wouldn’t be reading this.
Well, in Cardaclysm we’ll play like a lone Sorcerer. Yes, this way you will feel practically throughout the game as the interaction with other characters is practically nil.
The game contains an excellent tutorial; where they explain the basics of the game, although being honest is very easy to understand. However, pay close attention because they also teach you to run!
While the game doesn’t really have a really engaging story. It turns out that you as Sorcerer have gotten into a tremendous mess, things that you simply should have left alone or which pricking them with a stick from afar would have been enough, this while hiding from your home or at best from a bunker.
And what happened then? Well, quite simply, you altered the universe and now you’re being chased by four horsemen who fortunately will only chase you one at a time, they want to smash your skull to the ground. To fix the situation, you will go through levels collecting cards of different types (Fire, Ice, Nature, “Mercenaries”, “Darkness”) through encounters to make you more powerful. At the end of each level, a Boss will appear who will start chasing you, giving you two options; run to the portal that will take you to an interdimensional pub (rare but true) or feel ready to turn around and face it bravely.
Every realm we will be in seems to be a small world, floating in a big void and are randomly generated from a group of sections that you will quickly familiarize yourself with.
Graphically it is quite striking, isometric in 3D, these realms feel empty, without generating a special experience to hook you. The key you need to find to get out of the realm, the enemies you must fight with, the power-ups and artifacts that are placed directly in your path. The path is extremely linear without leaving room for the exploration that surely likes more than one, to beat all the monsters to be able to flee because otherwise it is impossible to get out. I believe that a simple node map would have been more eye-catching, useful and would have saved developers time and money.
The battle system is quite simple; you draw one hand (4 cards) from which you can choose which ones you want to discard and have different ones randomly. All monsters have an attack value; which logically will be the damage you can do and a health value; which represents how much damage you can take before being removed from battle. Each monster can attack once per turn, unless it has an ability called Rage which allows it to attack twice per turn, either simultaneous attacks or at different times in the same turn.
It is also important to inform you that they have a single retaliatory attack (defensive) during the opponent’s turn, well there are also creatures with retaliatory ability that is activated whenever it is attacked. The most powerful cards tend to have one or more abilities with a fairly noticeable advantage. Such as; thorns, which automatically deals “x” damage to the creature that has attacked you. Ambush, which will prevent the first attack or reprisal received; among others.
As you spend more time playing Cardaclysm, you will notice that there are too powerful abilities that will lead you to a very unpleasant fight, whether for, or against. To such a degree that sometimes makes you think that it depends more on the luck of having the right card at the right time and not so much on the ability to know how to play them. It is important to mention that if you run out of creatures on the battlefield, a single enemy attack will be enough to eliminate you and lose some cards which you can recover, as in that same instant a new realm will be generated
There are two resources that will allow you to play the cards; these are the gold coins and the soul orbs. The first ones are relatively easy to get and you will find several within the maps, contrary to orbs which are very rare within the game. Added to this, Cardaclysm does not have many options to generate coins or orbs within a battle. This also inclines the battles to be relatively short.
Cardaclysm has something different from the usual deck-building, card collection game; it has a surprising limit to the size of the deck: 14 cards (Yes, you read right) between magic cards and creatures. Fortunately it has its advantages, since you can see more often that card that you obtained recently and you like a lot but that leaves you with little margin to use different strategies and/or combinations.
The gaming experience in Cardaclysm improves in some way after killing the first boss, as you will unlock a new level of cards, but as you progress further, it starts to become impossible, since you have to grind too many levels to be able to have better options for your deck.
In the development part there is a certain problem when it comes to moving within the map, because clicking on certain areas simply didn’t detect it, getting the answer to move in a direction you didn’t mean to.