I'm going to try and be as thorough as I can with this review. I've been playing the game since before it was released on steam. I think that now they've made it clear the game is almost finished I'm going to explain why this game is FAR from finished.
Let me start out by saying that I'm an old gamer, yeah an old guy still playing games. So, the definition of what was and what is now considered a ROGUE-like are two completely different animals. The old rogue-likes were fun games were you crawled a dungeon in search of treasure and weapons much like the new ones. After that the definition has changed. Old rogue-likes required you to use your wits to advance your character in such a way that you could accomplish your goals as long as you played your cards right "no pun intended". The new rogue likes are a smorgasbord of take it up the proverbial gluteus without any way to counter/block/prepare or even chance your way out of a situation. This growing trend of masochistic (why people think it is) enjoyment has literally turned rogue like games that could have been great from games that lasted weeks, months, & years into ones that only last a few hours, days, or weeks. That’s if you're willing to deal with them for that long.
This game has (with a quickly closing window of opportunity) great potential. Its play style is great, the graphics are excellent, and the concept is really good. The issue is with the little faults in mechanics that destroy its greatness. The little bits of masochistic garbage that has been added in because of the fan boys that have demanded more challenge. There are cards that instantly reduce your health by 50% with no way to counter them. Cards that do the same for food, max-health, or take your highest priced item with no way for you to stop it from happening. In 3-4 turns you can go from having 150 health, 60 food, and a good weapon down to having 24 max-health, 6 food, and your weapon stolen. Every one of these things under the frustration of them being uncounterable. I’ve died almost 9/10 times in this… game due to starvation because if you get food you lose food. If you have food it’s instantly screwed over.
I’ll come right out and say this, the card shuffling challenges (once again due to whining fan boys) are plain and simply garbage. Yeah sure you can do them at lower levels (maybe level 1-4). After that it becomes a 100% guessing game because the cards move so fast, are undetectable in their sequence when going that fast, and shuffle 2-3 times. The card shuffling is just plain bad. It’s not novel at all, and in my honest opinion it detracts from the game. Aside from that I’m not even sure what they could do to replace it. I understand the frustration of trying to come up with a type of skill challenge were cards are involved, but there has to be something better than a crappy shifting cups knock off. I’ve played the game for some time now hoping they’d come up with something better, or at least improve on the current style. To my dismay it not only didn’t get any better but worse because fan boys asking for the cards to go faster (stating it was to EASY for them to spot the winning cards).
This leads me into my next complaint. Multiple people on these forums have asked for game modes (AKA easy, hard, expert, & Masochistic). Apparently the Devs refuse to acknowledge these requests. Who knows, it’s possible that these modes will be added on the final release, but it’s starting to look like the compass isn’t point north on this happening.
This game is looking more like a game of luck than a game of skill, and because of that I just can’t endorse it. My heart bleeds for how much I so wished this game wouldn’t become another modern aged rogue-like. Bosses and mobs that Spam the same unblockable attack over and over again. Many of them don’t even give you enough warning to even say you’ve been warned (AKA rat men). Controls that are unresponsive in many cases. Fire shooting Lizard-man that do massive damage to you in one hit if you even miss one of their projectiles.
In closing I could go into intricate detail on certain cards that are extremely annoying in this game. Why they literally ♥♥♥♥ me off every time I see them, and why they’re the reason this game is more of a chore then a fun experience. Every patch they’ve come out with since its release on steam has fixed some things, but destroyed others. As stated in the beginning this game is FAR from finnished. So much potential in a game from a group of programmers that could have made something extremely great instead of what is starting to look like a money grab that is falling short of its glory because of masochistic fan boys.
added 2/12/2015 after morgan's post on 2/10/2015
I see that you’re passionate about the game. Hearing that it will eventually have game modes is a good thing. Especially for people that don’t like the over the top “luck based” system that is currently offered. I can see your point that many will consider this a finished product, and so I concede that it can be viewed that way.
As far as the taking the money and running quote. I’m sorry, yes I jumped the gun in the heat of the moment of my frustration in writing this review. If there are plans for game fixes in the future after the games release. Along with content updates that will surely fix the cards that will eventually be deemed less than enjoyable by many such as “example: choose to place on top or on bottom” then I will remove my negative post, and wait until a future time to once again try the game.
If I may, please make it so (if it’s not being implemented already) mob bosses don’t continually Spam their unblockable attacks. I don’t have a problem with the attacks so much as the constantly having to dodge the entire battle because they chain Spam the ability. Which ends up becoming problematic, repetitive, and less than fun when you have a Jack of Dust, and a King of dust doing nonstop power attacks along with 12 bandits swinging at you in tandem, and 3 of them throwing daggers almost the entire time.
Here’s the thing. The keyboard buttons respond better than the joystick buttons do. However, joystick movement is much easier to use than the keyboard. So it’s a toss up. Example, I can counter rat men dart throwers with the keyboard because it responds better even if I’m hit by one of their projectiles. Were as if you get hit by one of the projectiles while using the joystick it’s almost impossible to block the rest of the attacks due to the slow response time of the buttons (In case you’re wondering I’m currently using an Afterglow Xbox 360 controller). Not sure if it's due to my controler or if there’s a fix to this, but it’s extremely frustrating when you get hit by a plethora of darts because you failed to block the first one.
In the end I realize I can’t have my cake and eat it too, and that I'm just one voice out of millions that play this game. I’ll stick with you guys as a backer; your response time is well appreciated, and shows you do care, so if people read this post hopefully they’ll read this section. Unless you want me to remove the whole post, in which case if you do, keep this in mind. You might want to make it really clear to people planning on buying this game that it is a heavily luck based system. If anything this is something I want to get across to the buying community. The games concept is awesome, and I commend your team for the work they have done up to this point on the game. I’ll refrain from a refund, and I’ll stick with it. The way I see it I’ve already gotten plenty of hours of game play out of the game, and don’t feel it fair that you guys won’t get paid for the work you’ve already done up to this point.