Card games are conventionally divided into two types: those where you have to defeat your opponent and those where we fight abstract evil. Deck of Ashes – rather the second case. The deck in it serves as a weapon against evil forces, and the gloomy world absorbed a pinch of Dark Souls, a bit of The Witcher and a drop of Darkest Dungeon.
Darkness, ashes, hopelessness
Legend has it that the fantasy-medieval universe of Deck of Ashes has always been an unpleasant place. Here, since ancient times, malice, envy and hatred have been honored, and sticking knives in the backs has become popular fun.
They usually say about such a situation: “Lord, burn”.
And it happened: once a gang of thugs decided to steal an artifact called Ashes Casket. At the crucial moment, the kidnappers snapped between themselves, breaking the magical object. Ashes poisoned the world, filling it with diseases, monsters and curses. Rake up the consequences of this cataclysm, of course, we are with you.
Each of the would-be thieves suffered a curse in their own way. For example, Lucius (who is to play for) fell on the fire for witchcraft, was resurrected due to magic, but remained burned. Enlisting the support of the mysterious Master of Ashes, Lucius went on a crusade against the Lady of Death to save herself from pain, and the world from nightmares.
You go to the right – you die, you go to the left – you die
We mentioned Dark Souls for a reason, where the creators of Deck of Ashes were looking for inspiration. Here the world is also divided into regions, each step is fraught with a fatal mistake, and decisions have to be carefully weighed. The path always begins with the camp, where they give you to fill up the deck, pump and restore strength. But it is necessary to go beyond the threshold – the end of rest.
Battles, treasures, surprises – this is how almost any role-playing game can be described. The special feature of Deck of Ashes is that the local treasures do not guarantee immediate rewards, and surprises are mostly unpleasant. In addition, each action takes in-game time – on the top of the screen, the timer crawls steadily until the boss of the region appears. Needless to say, it is simply impossible to collect trophies and look into all corners before the final battle?
Deck of Ashes is a constant race with time and choice on the go. Do you want to open the nearest chest with the key obtained in battle or hope for luck and look for a richer treasure chest? Spend an extra hour collecting resources or getting to the portal in the other side of the region? Will you kill precious time for recuperation in the camp, or take a chance and get involved in another fight? The situation is aggravated by the irreversibility of the death of the hero in half of the available difficulty levels. Each step can easily be the last.
Three, Seven, Ace
Most decisions need to be made, of course, in battle. In this aspect, the Deck of Ashes is revealed to its fullest and makes the brains move.
To use the card, you need to find its recipe, create it in the camp, wait for the battle when it moves from the deck to the hand, and only then apply it by spending action points. After that, the card turns into ashes – goes to a special deck, for returning items from which you have to pay with the health of the hero in battle or money in a peaceful environment.
As the cards burn out rapidly, you are constantly torn between the desire to save resources and the desire to quickly kill an opponent.
Thinking over the deck is from the first assembly. The easiest way is with purely attacking or defensive tricks: here the fireball was thrown into the face of a zombie, he cut up the regeneration there, and that's fine. However, even the easiest fight does not win on such a primitive.
Most of the cards have additional properties: some after the application are returned to the main deck, others spend their health instead of action points, and some only work if you take them out of the Decks of Ash. Add the state of the character and the region, the effects of strengthening and weakening the disease, curses … Battles often resemble attempts to keep the spinning plate on a bamboo stick – the slightest mistake can be thrown back to the beginning of the level, or even the beginning of the whole adventure.
The game is now in early access – in other words, an incomplete version, and even with flaws in the balance. But there is already room for experimentation and reflection in Deck of Ashes, especially if you are a fan of the genre. Other gamers should wait until the developers fully discover the potential of their creation.