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    Roguebook review

    Need to know

    What is it? Deckbuilding dungeoneering.
    Expect to pay $25
    Developer Abrakam Entertainment SA
    Publisher Nacon
    Reviewed on AMD FX-8350, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, 32GB RAM
    Multiplayer? No
    Link Official site (opens in new tab)

    Check Amazon (opens in new tab)

    Those who’ve found their niche in the recent trend of deckbuilding and dungeon-crawling roguelikes will find something to enjoy in Roguebook, a confident, competent release from card game development veterans Abrakam Entertainment, the creators of Faeria. Set in the same world, it’s a colorful, whimsical, and charming fantasy. It also very proudly fits the genre mold, a run-based game that lets you iteratively unlock new cards, treasures, and characters for increasingly powerful builds to take on self-paced challenges. 

    Roguebook lifts some great design from other recent roguelite games. It pulls in a Hades-esque buffet of advanced challenges to mix and match after you first “beat” the game. It has Slay the Spire’s flurry of weird artifacts to collect and use. It even relies on an old deckbuilding staple, asking you to mix-and-match two card pools each run, which was used to such great effect in Monster Train. Your deck itself even levels up, with your card count giving you points to spend on randomized talents.

    To its credit, and to its detriment, nothing in Roguebook is particularly novel. Its familiar parts are arranged in a new way with a few clever twists. Your deck is a combination of two out of the four characters, each with their own unique card set and talents. With your two picks you move into the book’s blank pages, a hex grid, and explore by spending limited brushstrokes and ink splats to reveal unmapped parts of the book. Out there you find gold to use at the shop, magic cubes to draft new cards from, adventure events with weird consequences, and combats to flex your deck’s muscles against.

    (Image credit: Nacon)

    See, getting new stuff is based on exploration, which is based on revealing map hexes. There’s some strategy to that, using your ink pots cleverly and brushes sparingly you can puzzle out how to optimally reach the things on the map. But you can never reveal the whole map, and you can really just… luck out. Sometimes you don’t get enough cards, or gems, or gold, or items. Sometimes you don’t find half of the good stuff you know is out there.

    It’s emblematic of Roguebook as a whole. The mechanics largely work, and when they’re going smoothly they’re a joy, giving you the kind of run-based deckbuilding fix you want. But games like Roguebook have to rely on either being immaculately and tightly designed to achieve perfection, or else provide such a sprawl of fun content that you won’t care otherwise. Roguebook doesn’t have either. A good game for both enthusiasts and idle fans of deckbuilding, but it doesn’t reach for the stars.

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    As seen on PCgamer

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