If you're in search of a tablet-friendly dungeon crawler, Card Quest for Android may be right up your alley. Folks who've played Slay the Spire on Windows should find this familiar: You get a deck of attack and defense cards like Magic: The Gathering (but with more streamlined rules) and use them to fight your way through a chain of increasingly difficult encounters until you die and have to restart or, with the right combination of luck and skill, to make it all the way to the end. Let's see if this trending game is worth its $5 price tag.
Lots of tactics: While mobile games have a reputation for simpler play styles, you actually have to play smart in Card Quest if you want to win. Since this is a roguelike game, you have to start from the beginning if you die, and health points are hard to come by. There's not much you can do to heal your character, and he doesn't regain any when he levels up.
Speaking of which, leveling him up lets you upgrade one of three attributes, such as health, action points, and higher defense, which introduces an interesting strategic layer. It also rewards players who can figure out what upgrades best fit their play style.
Lots of value: The game features four character classes that all play pretty differently. The rogue, wizard, fighter, and hunter each get a unique deck of cards with abilities that make sense within their roles. For example, the wizard can cast lightning bolts that chain to multiple enemies, while the rogue has an evasion move that redirects incoming damage to another enemy instead of himself.
Meanwhile, the game has three dungeons to fight through: "City of the Undead," "Dwarven Mountains," and "Enchanted Forest." Like Slay the Spire, there are branching routes, but they eventually converge on a boss fight. You can play any of the three dungeons right away.
Then there's loot. Each of your four heroes gets six item slots, one of which is their "school," or manner of combat. This is basically a subclass, and more get unlocked over the course of the game, giving you even more tactical choices to consider.
To prevent you from feeling overwhelmed with possibilities, each character class has a detailed tutorial to help you find your sea legs, and they award you with some modest loot upon completion. And there's a generic tutorial that covers the basics of gameplay common to all four classes.
Appealing retro feel: Card Quest evokes vintage dungeon crawlers from the late 80s and early 90s, with its pixelated text and graphics, and simple animations. Its lo-fi aesthetic also lets it run more smoothly on older devices, while draining less of your battery.
Scaling of text size and artwork could be better: Testing on a 5.2-inch 1080p screen indicated that the text in Card Quest is not easily legible for most phones. (Card Quest was originally a Windows game, where players are used to viewing things on a monitor.) Some of the card artwork also looked similar enough at this size that we played the wrong card on a few occasions.
We had much better results with an 8-inch tablet, but we can't recommend that you go out and buy an Android tablet just to play some games on a bigger screen. If you already have one, we'd strongly recommend playing Card Quest there, rather than on your phone.
If you have an Android tablet, Card Quest is a deceptively nuanced game that should appeal to roguelike fans who are willing to experiment with a card-based approach to dungeon crawling. However, playing on a phone may be frustrating due to the size of the text and artwork.
Card Quest is a dungeon crawling adventure game with unique card combat. Play with a variety of unique character classes, and customize decks to fit your playstyle. Explore the strategic depth of tactical roguelike gameplay, and crush your enemies.
Play as a Rogue, Wizard, Fighter or Hunter. The choice is yours. Each has its own unique gameplay style and 3 custom specializations to add even more variety! Turn your rogue into a Swashbuckler or an Assassin, your wizard into a Pyromancer or Necromancer, your fighter into a Berserker or a Paladin and your Hunter into a Sharpshooter or a Fey Archer!
Unlock new items by defeating mighty bosses. There are dozens of different pieces of equipment and items for each class to further customize your heroes; granting them new cards and abilities.
Level up your heroes to increase their stamina and health and gain useful passives and unlock new specializations.
Dungeons to explore. Traverse a city cursed with an undead plague, a dwarven mountain full of dangers and treasure, and an enchanted forest where few come out alive, each with over 12 different areas to explore and lots of items to unlock!
Fight over 25 different bosses and more than 90 enemies! Many of them with unique skills that require creative strategies to defeat.