Card Hunter (PC) Review

By Aria DiMezzo 22.09.2015

Review for Card Hunter on PC

Card Hunter doesn't really bring any new ideas to the virtual tabletop, but it combines ideas in a unique way, and the end result is difficult to analyse. In many ways, Card Hunter is a Tactical RPG, along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions, but the card game elements leave it feeling a lot more like Paper Mario: Sticker Star than Magic: The Gathering. Gameplay becomes rather complex as a result of this amalgamation of ideas, but it is also limited to combat. Does this work? Cubed3 seeks the answer…

Translating dungeon-crawling board games into digital format is a no-brainer, and the execution in Card Hunter is done very well, although it isn't about rolling the dice, moving a corresponding number of squares, and then rolling more dice to determine whether the chest opens without setting off the trap. Exploratory elements are stripped away, and what is left is tactical combat. This is more like entering a room in one of those dungeon-crawling board games and finding monsters inside, and the combat isn't the reason most people enjoy tabletop titles. The end result is a series of tactical battles with a bit of story fluff, if the player cares to read it (seeing as how the "story fluff" is standard fantasy fare, though, nothing is missed by ignoring it).

Although many elements are noticeably absent, the combat does have appeal. A character's useable cards are dependent on equipment: attack cards on weapons, defence cards on armour, and movement cards on boots. A weak warhammer, for example, might have two Power Attack (5) cards, three Normal Attack (3) cards, and five Weak Attack (2) cards. This leaves a lot of room for customisation, but is there really that much of a difference between a weapon with three Power, two Normal, and five Weak cards, and a weapon with two Power, three Normal, and five Weak cards? Not really.

Screenshot for Card Hunter on PC

At the start of each round, each character receives three or four cards (it depends on how many are currently held by that character), one of which is always a Movement card. After cards are drawn, a card is thrown down and then it is the enemy's turn. At any point during this, it is possible to choose Pass, which begins the next turn, but a hand limit may force useful cards to be discarded. It must be added that this involves some of the most grating sound effects ever put in a videogame, as Card Hunter attempts to mimic how a Games Master at a tabletop session might sound acting out an enemy's grunts while being struck. That's intentional, but it's a little over-the-top and gets really annoying.

Card Hunter ends up playing a lot like Paper Mario: Sticker Star, although cards are replenished after each battle, and characters can't even move without a movement card. Since one movement card is guaranteed each turn, this is only a problem when a character doesn't get the correct movement card, or when needing to move again but can't. In some ways, that makes sense, because it's always been in tabletop rules that a character can only move once per round, but it's a bit clunky in this form.

Online Player versus Player is available, but newcomers have a distinct disadvantage, and much of the best equipment being prohibitively expensive is a problem. Although there is the option to trade real cash for in-game currency (pizzas—a true throwback to the early '90s, when "I'll trade you the last slice of pizza for two hundred more experience" wasn't an uncommon statement), Card Hunter is decidedly not Pay to Win, and the multiplayer offers much more challenge, in terms of tactics and strategy, than the single-player campaigns.

Screenshot for Card Hunter on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Card Hunter is good at what it does, and, on the whole, is a good game, but the lack of things to do really hurts it. It is the equivalent of playing Paper Mario: Sticker Star and only doing battles, skipping every other part of gameplay, but with a mostly meaningless tactical level thrown in. A few more RPG elements, such as exploration and true dungeon-crawling would easily have pushed Card Hunter higher, but there simply isn't enough to engage players long except the multiplayer, which, while it isn't Pay to Win, does give advantages through the store that are difficult to acquire otherwise. Card Hunter is fun to play, though, even with the annoying sound effects.

Developer

Blue Manchu

Publisher

Blue Manchu

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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