So I went into this expecting something wildly different. I was told it was like a city building solitaire with battles. I mean they weren’t wrong, but the second a little rat start led tossing all my other cards around I knew this was going to be something weird. I said other cards because the rat too was a card. A sentient little shithead only concerned with messing up my beautiful layout of cards. All tucked into clean ordered rows. Something you will have to give up on very early in the game for sanity’s sake. Though I’m jumping ahead of myself, so what is it?
It’s a simple single player deck building game where you pop packs of random cards to see what you can mess with. Each pack has four random cards from it’s own “set” letting you streamline things a bit. You start with one pack that will always have one villager in it. Loosing all your villagers is game over. So first things first, villager gotta eat. Right? We all need food, specifically 2 food per adult villager each moon.
Placing a card on another card, or stack of cards, can make something new. Like that old Alchemy mobile game a lot of the charm comes in figuring out what cards can mix to become something else. Now you can get random idea cards that will give you recipes. As well as any cards you already made, these ideas cards will be in a tab for reference on every subsequent playthrough. So each time you play you can make a goal. Much like actual solitaire, you make a plan to hopefully get further. Some players try to build up the ACEs early on, others prefer to run down the deck, and still others focus on flipping face down cards to try to free up the board. Which is just examples of solitaire playthroughs. Here you have many more options. Focus on food sustainability? Perhaps you prefer increasing your max card limits? Even making larger armies to handle the goblins. Because yes there are goblins.
Hostile creatures can come at you anytime, from every gameplay mechanic possible. Each game phase is called a moon. Sometimes monster portals pop up at the start of each moon. Mobs can pop from packs. Still others jump out of other cards on the field. A field very quickly to be full of cards.
It can be easy to lose track of what might be happening at the corners of the table. If some nasty little critters start shuffling about. As they can move about freely wriggling through your stacks and piles to kill your little men. Honestly that is far worse than the death, all the disorder. Granted with the RNG nature of the game you can very easily be dealt a no win scenario from the start yet plow through it anyway not realizing obvious warning signs. It will take you several tries to beat the game. That’s just unstoppable unless you use a guide. So if you are like me as you start to last longer you begin to feel entitled to win. Each death a painful set back. Stop it, it’s not worth it. Nothing in game comes from beating the last boss. The game just goes on anyway. It’s like getting mad at Tetris for not reaching level 100 everytime you play. The last boss is a fun goal sure, but don’t base your entire game around it. Just enjoy the silly little card pack game for what it is.
That is that it’s a game about that rush you get opening a pack of cards. The same rush of getting a good hand in a combative card game. It’s just so rewarding getting the exact pull you need at the perfect time. Mainly because nothing is worse than needing soil and finding a rat. A game about pulling a plan together with no real control on if you can achieve it in time. It’s real time game play is also a fun juxtaposition with the card game theme. I highly recommend this quirky little indie game if for no reason other than it’s an experience. The very way the game chooses to be played is novel to me. That and it’s rougelike design lends itself to just a few playthroughs every so often just to kill some time. It’s more interesting than fun. It’s a refreshing change up in my usual game time choices. So I’d give it a solid four out of five. It could use a little more content, but likely the more complexity you add the more charm you’d lose. So where it’s at, I say is a fine place to be.