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I have been on a huge card game kick recently. I have been laser focused in on competitive “Hearthstone” recently, and when I am not playing that, I am theory crafting decks in “Yu-Gi-Oh.” I also spent a lot of time on “Slay the Spire” last year, a rogue like card which focused on deck building and making your hero stronger through upgrades and items. Fast Forward a couple weeks and I see Jon of Jon Spencer’s Reviews playing a new but oddly similar game, “Arcanium.”
Given where my fixations have been for the last couple weeks, it felt like a no brainer to try it out. So, I went on steam, bought it for around 17 dollars, and gave it a spin last night on my stream. So, was it worth? Does it live up to some of its predecessors?
Well, its hard to say anything definitive after just a few hours of gameplay, but the game does have some very obvious strengths and weaknesses. First, “Arcanium,” in a lot of ways, does feel a bit more challenging than other roguelikes. The managing of three different heroes and decks both in combat and out makes it a significantly more involved experience. There were times when I would have to pause the music I had on just so I could concentrate on what I was doing.
This also brings up another related point, which is that with triple the characters comes triple the mechanics. In a game like “Slay the Spire,” managing your damage output and intake is limited to one body. However, in a game like “Arcanium,” understanding who your primary damage dealer, tank, and healer is becomes an essential part of playing the game well.
The deckbuilding in general in this game is a lot of fun. Given that each character has a max of 12 card slots, it becomes a lot easier to focus in on making characters do particular things. This again helps to better layout a character’s role and identity within the run.
However, there are still a couple of things wrong with the game. While I was able to figure out a lot on my own because of my history with the genre, it does feel weird that the game has no tutorial. Given how niche the genre already is, it feels like one of those things that is kind of weird to forget. I suppose one could argue that the lack of a tutorial gives the game a bit more of a challenge straight up, but still feels like a poor decision.
Even if the game did have a tutorial, though, I honestly am not sure how much it would help. This is because a lot of things in the game feel unnecessarily hard to understand. Part of this has to do with the smaller text the game uses, which is likely their given how much is actually happening on screen. This disorganization felt a like a turn off while first playing through the game, though it does become a minor inconvenience after a while.
Overall, while their are some minor flaws which prevent the game from being a masterpiece, I can definitely see myself spending quite a few hours in the game. Given its relatively low price point, I would say any fan of both card games and roguelikes would definitely be happy to have this in their collection.
Have you folks played “Arcanium?” How did you feel about it? Let me know in the comments below.
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