By Dalton McClain / April 20th, 2020
|Release Date||September 19th, 2019|
|Platform||PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One|
I’m a massive fan of card games. From Magic, to Yu-Gi-Oh, and even the Pokemon TCG. So when I got the opportunity to review Cardpocalypse, I jumped at the chance. After falling out of love with Yu-Gi-Oh, I’ve been trying to find something else to capture that feeling that it once had for me. So was this game a fair replacement?
I’ve been reluctant to try card based games in the past, since they usually just revolve around the card game and don’t have anything else to draw me in. Call me shallow, but with a video game I want some sort of story hook, and boy did I get it with this game. You start as a kid named Jess, as you’re about to start your life at a brand new school. You find out about the game like most people used to, by watching your favorite TV show about the subject, and being handed some cards by a kid on the bus to use. Pretty soon however, things begin to go downhill from there. You end up getting the card game banned at school, and everyone blames you for the incident. After that, things slowly begin to rack up until you’re dealing with the real life versions of the monsters in the card game. It’s all very cheesy, and that’s what I love about it. If it wasn’t for the beginning being a little slow and grating, it would be a perfect intro to the world.
Speaking of the card game, it’s called Mega Mutant Power Pets, and as expected the whole school is in on the fun. You start with 20 cards, and take turns summoning creatures based on how many food points you have. Each turn you replenish your points, and gain new ones to summon out either more creatures, or stronger creatures. You each start out with a big card, called your Champion, that has a load of health. Your goal is to whittle your opponent’s champion to zero health, while keeping yours alive. It’s a very simple concept, but that works in the game’s favor, as it’s an easy to learn, hard to master sort of deal.
You gain different cards throughout the game, and even gain some new Champions. You can pick between one of four factions: Meowtants, Woofians, Sinnisers, and Pipsqweaks. Each of them has their own playstyle and cards. You can switch at any time, so feel free to choose what style works for you at the moment. There’s enough cards and champions in the game that you’ll never have to stick with one deck for too long if you get bored. For a deck-builder such as myself, this is a godsend. And if you like a card, but not necessarily the ability that comes with it, you can always just tear it up and make your own out of it. This adds in a whole new level of customization, as well as a cute little hand drawn graphic. After each boss, you also get the option to change the game a little bit, to make your decks even more potent. This adds a nice replayability factor into the game, which makes it worth coming back to.
When you aren’t battling other kids or monsters in card battles, you’re exploring the overworld. This includes interacting with some students and doing side quests to pass the time and possibly unlock some more cards. These are great and shine a real spotlight on some of the characters’ personalities. This was by far the most fun for me, as it was a nice change of pace from just constantly battling. Plus I really ended up enjoying a good amount of the characters, which is surprising.
Now, judging by the creativity in deck-building and card/rule customization, you’d expect this game to have some really creative visuals. And in that department it most definitely delivers. It does the usual card thing of having the smaller minions be cute, while the bigger Champions are “cool”, but I think this works. Cardpocalypse feels like a love letter to old card game anime, as well as just the games in general, so of course it would follow the basics. The cards are creative, and the overall art style of the game is very unique with all the vivid colors, sepia overlay, and angular designs. The game really stands out among the pack. The only issue I found in its style is the music. It matches the visuals well enough, but overall I found it kind of boring, especially after the 18 hours it took me just to beat the story. The trailer by far has the best music, but the rest of the OST just doesn’t live up to the rest of the game
I highly recommend this game to any card game fan. The story is hefty, and may have some very bad pacing at the start, but the game is fun and well worth the $24.99 that it usually retails for. You can pick it up on PC on Epic, or on other consoles. Or you can wait until the Steam version comes out later on in the year. I definitely suggest that you get your hands on this, you won’t regret it.
Review copy provided by the publisher.