REVIEW: Culdcept Revolt

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Title Culdcept Revolt
Developer Ohmiya Soft
Publisher NIS America, Inc.
Release Date October 3rd, 2017
Genre Card Game/Board Game
Platform 3DS
Age Rating T for Teen
Official Website

Culdcept Revolt is a hybrid between a card game and a board game from developer Ohmiya Soft. This game is in commemoration of the series’ 20th anniversary, originally starting on the Saturn. We’ve only had a couple games in this series localized, and we didn’t get the last one, so it’s nice to have this one.

The protagonist of our story wakes up with amnesia, and the first order of business is to teach him how to play a card game. Pretty soon you find yourself in the company of a group that calls themselves the Free Bats, a group of rebels opposing the local government. People that can use these cards are apparently special, and the Count of the city has ordered all such people be killed. The story from there involves trying to restore your lost memories and escape this heavily guarded city.

The gameplay in Culdcept Revolt is fairly simple to learn. You move around a board, which has tiles corresponding to the elements of fire, earth, water, and air. When you land on one of these tiles, you can summon a monster from the cards in your hand. If an opponent lands on a tile you own, they have to pay a toll. You can level up these monsters, which increases the toll they have to pay. It’s not too dissimilar from buying property in Monopoly.

Culdcept Revolt | A game board

Unlike Monopoly though, if you land on an opponent’s monster, you can instead challenge them for its ownership. This brings you into a little duel between their monster and a monster of your choice. You also have item cards that can augment your monsters health and strength, giving you an advantage. If the monster and the tile they’re placed on are the same element, this also gives a boost to their health points. The more monsters you have on one type of element, the bigger the boost will be. There are spell cards you can use that can do things like changing how you move around the board, or do damage to opponent’s monsters.

The goal here is to acquire a certain amount of magic points before your opponents do. You get some magic points from summoning monsters, and doing things like making complete laps around the board. The best way to get them though is from opponents landing on your properties and having to pay a toll, or you landing on their properties and defeating their monster.

Culdcept Revolt | Deck building

If that sounded too complicated, don’t worry, Culdcept Revolt does a really good job of easing you into it and slowly introducing all its concepts. Once you get just one game under your belt, you should be good to go. Even though the game is simple, there is quite a bit of depth to it. Like any good card game, you need to build a deck intelligently with cards that can work together.

In the story mode, most matches will be one on one, but there are also 3-way and 2 vs 2 games. I think I preferred just one on one though. The biggest reason is just that you don’t have to wait so long for opponents to take their turn. Depending on what they do, turns can last quite a while. The 2 vs 2 games are pretty interesting though, and allow for different kinds of strategy. You can interact with your allies’ monsters and they can interact with yours.

Culdcept Revolt | Item card

One thing I really liked about the cards, which helped a lot in my deck building, is that each one has a little blurb on how to effectively use the card. Some are better at attacking other monsters, some are better at defending, some receive buffs in certain conditions, etc. It’s very beginner friendly in this way, and allows you to better strategize. Forming strategies is often fairly easy. Card elements tend to have a natural synergy with each other. Fire and earth work well together, and wind and water work well together. Some items or spells only work on monsters of certain elements or get bonuses. Using cards that work well together is key to building a good deck.

There is a ton of content in this game. The story is broken down into chapters and each one has main quests and side quests. Main quests propel the story along while side quests flesh out the characters a little bit. Once you beat the game, you also unlock post-game chapters and a slew of challenge chapters. It will take you quite some time to work through all of it. I recommend focusing on the main quest line at first, as the side quests were noticeably more difficult.

Culdcept Revolt | Card battle

Being that this is part card game and part board game, luck can be a pretty big factor to deal with. This is particularly the case in the early game when most of your cards don’t have any kind of elaborate abilities. Sometimes it can feel like your opponent drew just the right card or had just the right dice roll to snatch victory away from you. For just random matches, I don’t think it’s a very big deal. When you’re in a story mode setting though, and you’re trying to make progress, it can be frustrating at times.

Visually, the game isn’t exactly pushing the 3DS hardware. There is some decent looking pixel art for the cutscenes. When you’re in a game, the boards all look very simple. The monster fights also don’t have a whole lot going on either. The character portrait art is very good, however. A fight consists of just a 3D model of a sword, fist, or some other weapon attacking the other card. At the very least, this means fights go by quickly.

Culdcept Revolt | Match lobby

The music is composed by Kenji Ito, who you might know from some of the Mana and Romancing SaGa games. The music here is definitely pleasant to listen to. The only issue is that matches are generally a minimum of half an hour long, and you get one song looped throughout the whole thing. As good as the music is, I can’t say I enjoy listening to the same thing for so long.

Overall though, I had a lot of fun with Culdcept Revolt, and I think the mechanics of board games and card games are blended really well. The story took me probably 25-30 hours to beat, but as I mentioned before, that’s practically just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this game offers. I’m gonna be keeping this game on my 3DS for a while, I suspect. For $40, if you want a card game and don’t want to worry about microtransactions, this could certainly satisfy.

Review Score

Review copy was provided by the publisher.

About Jason Quinn

Been playing video games since before I could form coherent sentences. I love a wide variety of games, from fast, technical action games to slow RPGs. Aside from video games, I have a love of music, film, and anime.