Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

[Review] Roguebook – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Abrakam Entertainment 
Published By: Nacon
Categories: RPG, Cards
Release Date: 04.21.22

Roguebook. It’s a book…and it’s a card based roguelike led by the creator of Magic the Gathering, Richard Garfield! What isn’t to be intrigued by this?

Ok, so I get it, there’s a lot of roguelikes on Switch. An honestly absurd amount. Yes, I really enjoyed Roguebook…despite it absolutely kicking my ass at first.

Card based roguelikes aren’t even that uncommon on Switch believe it or not, which is always great for me, since I am a fan of card games.

Upfront, I am particularly fond of the artstyle. Lovely hi-res art for characters and enemies, all of which have designs I like. Roguebook as a whole has this painting like style, which I adore. Don’t mistake this for there being a lack of detail as other painting-styled games have, characters, cards, items, enemies. All have lots of detail. Roguebook is truly a great looking game. Audio wise, I find it satisfactory. It does the job, and I’d say the music is good, just not very memorable.

Lets talk gameplay. First thing first, you’re on a hex-based grid. You can move freely on painted in spaces. To get more spaces to move, you’ll need to paint them in. You’ll get bottles to fill in single spaces or lines, or you can use your brush to fill in wide spaces. On the field you can pick up objects or money, go to a vault to purchase more cares, towers to fill up more spaces without using ink, receive blessings to grant new abilities, craft weapons with items you can find and earn, etc…There’s a lot of stuff to do, it’s not just a point a to b thing. Oh yeah, you can also fight.

Surface level, the fights have two kinds of cards. Offensive, and Defensive. A little self explanatory, but lets actually do so. The Offensive ones do exactly that, attack. Some attacks can cause bleed effects which can stack damage, some just do damage. The Defensive ones are made for stacking. Say you have an attack with a value of 10 coming your way. Drop down two cards that have 6 block and you’ll have 12 block. This means that attack from the enemy will be null and void. Doing this is absolutely vital and required if you don’t want to get completely destroyed. Blocking and specific cards can rotate characters too, so keep this in mind when trying not to die. Roguebook is a hard game too, so learning this as soon as possible is a must.

Combat also has other intricities to take mind of. You can get allies, which are cards that can give perks per turn and can be stacked. My favorite is getting a dagger for some free damage each turn. This is a good time to mention card values. You usually have 3 points of stamina to start out with per turn. Most cards use 1, some take 2, some can even take 3 or 4, or even more. It all depends on what kinds of cards you put down. The standard attack and defend ones are cheap, but ones that have powers to cause bleeding or block AND attack, or perhaps attack multiple times, those are usually more expensive.

Your main character, or rather starting character is Sharra. She’s fast and hits quick and hard. Having her up front makes your attacks stronger. She doesn’t have much HP though, so play wisely. She’s thankfully not alone, as you’ll team up with others, either starting on your side, or meeting them along the way. Lets talk about Seifer, who you get after beating the first area. He’s mean, and hits even harder than Sharra. He can take a hit too, and you might want him to. Whenever struck, Seifer gains Rage. Rage when hitting it’s peak outs Seifer into a powered frenzy and can completely wreck any opposing forces.

Each character has their own unique abilities. The more cards you get, the more abilities you can unlock. Maybe it’s just getting extra power next turn if attacked, maybe it’s starting with lots of rage by default. This is all optional, but I’d really recommend doing so, just to get those little pushes. Finding more pages of a book can help you unlock “Embellishments” as well. These are permanent upgrades that you can use for every run, not just the current. These take substantially longer to upgrade, but are definitely worth it. Just remember too, dying isn’t the end, it’s just a new beginning, like in all roguelikes.

Roguebook feels grand, as it should with it’s pedigree. Just taking one look at the game’s compendium should say it all too. It’s a good thing that I was hooked, because that just raises me chance of experiencing most if not all of what it has to show one day…if I quit dying that is. The dev team has a good thing going here.

4/5

Buy Now: $24.99

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*Game Download Code graciously supplied for the purpose of review

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