I dont usually prejudge games before playing them, but I would be lying if I said I didnt get excited by the sheer mention of a new Rocketcat game. Five Card Quest($2.99) is that game and it is cool + awesome. Even though it could be described as a Card Battler/Tactical RPG/Roguelike, it doesn’t play like a hybrid game. It is a sleek and challenging dungeon delver that really stresses making the right decision and playing the right card each turn.
The point of Five Card Quest is to beat the bad guys and get your stalwart band out of the various labrynthine dungeon levels they find themselves in, hacking and slashing and shooting and casting all along the way. The game pits your team against roving bands of miscreants and ne’erdowells that are trying their best to destroy you. Your team stands across three lanes of combat ready to unleash devastation against bad guys that all have attack patterns that can be learned and anticipated so as to reduce incoming damage and maximize outgoing damage.
Each hero you can choose from(you get your choice of 2 at the start) has their own deck of cards that get shuffled together with the other members of your team. At the beginning of combat you are dealt a hand of cards that is mixed between each class. There are a wide variety of defensive, offensive and utility skill cards for each class. A solid understanding of these cards is the backbone to success in FCQ. Once you know what each class is capable of and what types of cards you need in a given situation, discarding, buying extra turns, and mitigating damage all become very important tools you can learn to use to alter the course of a combat.
There is very little in the way of story for FCQ. There is very little in general to draw your focus away from the gameplay actually. The graphics and music are both clean and while they may not be winning any academy awards, once again they lend themselves to serving up the gameplay on a well functioning platter. The fights become more and more perilous as you adventure forward, sometimes facing large groups or individually monstrous opponents. I found that fights that included more than 5 opponents usually meant that I would not be leaving unscathed.
Getting a chance to play with game creator Kepa Auwae looking on was a great experience and representative of one of my favorite perks of streaming on a service like Mobcrush. There is really nothing like playing through a game and discussing future features, fixes, add-ons and tweaks with the developer in real time. While we are on the subject of Mr. Auwae and Rocket Cat Games, it is worth mentioning that this game, much like Wayward Souls($7.99), is not noob friendly. While this game looks like it could be appealling to a casual crowd, I must emphatically state that there is very little room for error in this game and it is designed to be close to unfair. Maybe fully committing to the “unfair" label is overstepping, but it is really really close.
I feel like the difficulty is fully intentional. There are a number of Rocketcat games that are indeed frustratingly tough and they seem to share a similar thread of small challenging interactions that add up over time to a death by a thousand cuts. It takes a special game that can introduce difficulty and still make it feel fair. I think FCQ is one of those games from a developer that has achieved that balance in the past. Whats great is knowing that even with a solid level of balance, the conversation is still ongoing for tweaks and adjustments. Since last week’s release, there is already a content patch including a fix to blocking to include status effect resistance, a pre-fight bestiary, a fix for banner of victory, and a little more story intro at the beginning of the game.
Rocketcat is known for great games and amazing app support so I feel confident that this update is not the last nor the biggest nor the brightest we will be seeing to add onto this already fantastic game. The only warning I would leave you with is this: you are going to have to bring your ‘A’ game if you want to beat this one, but it’s most definitely worth the effort!