Originally published on Steam

If I told you this game is Rogue meets a collectible card game meets Arkham Asylum and that it's good , I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't believe me. None of the elements are particularly deep, but the combination is. The game starts with a standard set of equipment cards and a deck of encounters. When beginning an adventure, the Dealer shuffles your encounter deck with some of his own and deals out (face down) a pattern that serves as your map. Each turn costs food to explore the next location (by flipping over the card). You might get enemies to fight, a shop or the exit. But sometimes you get a challenge that awards you new cards for your next adventure.

Some of the challenges award you with the next part of a story. Each story is just interesting enough to not mind losing all your health and starting over. This isn't amazing writing, but just solid, workmanlike storytelling, which is rare enough in games. But you'll generally want to keep going in order to continue collecting more cards. You'll be collecting equipment, blessing and curses that change the rules of the game.

Fighting enemies works a lot like the Batman brawler games. Success depends on reflexes, pattern memorization and having the right equipment. (It also helps to use a controller. Mouse and keyboard works, but combat is tuned for analogue stick and buttons.) One of the little pleasures is equipping a weapon, shield, armor or helmet that not only helps you fight better, but also changes the way your character model looks. In particular, I always am happy to get a helmet that replaces the fairly ugly default head. There's a clear effect in combat for each equiped item, blessing and curse. And the results of combat, particularly health lost and gold found, translate up to the card game. There are even maze encounters that challenge you to dodge through a series of traps to collect treasure of various sorts.

All the while, the Dealer provides running commentary. It repeats quite a bit, but I always want to turn the sound on because the canned phrases are delivered so well and there's always new dialog added as you find new encounters. In a very real sense you are playing against the Dealer who wishes for your destruction, but always plays fair. Even the occasional three-er-four-card Monte you are forced to play from time to time can be won consistently if you watch carefully.

In the end, this is a game that manages to be more than the sum of its gameplay elements.