Culdcept Revolt (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Lex Firth 07.12.2017

Review for Culdcept Revolt on Nintendo 3DS

Though games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering have long since passed the peak of their late 90s popularity, it's hard not to see the presence of their impact even today. The popular trading card games of the previous two decades live on in the form of online simulators, whilst newcomers like Cardfight Vanguard and Future Card BuddyFight have seen more recent success on a physical basis. There's no better time, then, for video game card battler Culdcept to make a brave return to consoles after almost a decade of absence, but does its 3DS iteration retain the magic?

For those who are new to the Culdcept series - and that's likely to be a large number of people, as the last Western entry was 2008's Xbox 360-exclusive Culdcept Saga - the rules are as follows: the action takes place across a giant game board expanding in multiple directions, with several "gates" positioned throughout. Passing through a gate rewards the player with magic, essentially the currency of this game.

Magic isn't just the basis on which the game is won - whoever reaches the predetermined magic limit and arrives at a gate first is crowned the champion - but it's also spent on summoning monsters, by far Culdcept's biggest draw. There are over two hundred of the things; each has their own ability, and can be used to guard claimed squares (sort of like a hotel in Monopoly, but with teeth), or fight other guardian monsters to wrestle ownership from the opponent. Owning squares on the board means charging passing players to gain extra magic for them, so it's within everyone's best interest to own as many as possible. It's capitalism, with claws.

Of course, there's more to it than that - Culdcept wouldn't be as popular as it is today if it were that painfully simplistic - but to explain the entire rulebook would be to turn this review into something of a novel. Equippable items and extra spell cards enhance the strategic depth, whilst the ability to create multiple card decks means there's countless room to experiment with the almost 450 cards on offer; facets such as fatigue affecting how much certain monsters can be used, and special cards that grow in strength the more often they're used also bring an extra layer to the package. It's all a little daunting to those unfamiliar with the series, and thankfully there's a fluid, carefully planned tutorial on offer here. It doesn't overwhelm the first timer with a frustrating overload of information, but it's also not so basic as to insult the more experienced player.

Screenshot for Culdcept Revolt on Nintendo 3DS

It meshes well with the story, too, although that's perhaps where Culdcept Revolt shines the least. There's no exploration here at all - it's simply battle after battle, with just sections of dialogue between them. It's well-paced, offering a decent way to learn key strategies, but otherwise it's an overly lengthy distraction that just isn't as engrossing as the rest of the gameplay. It's not only clichéd, but also repetitive with so little extra to do outside of the occasional side mission, such that it doesn't stand up to longer play sessions.

A key frustration is also the amount of time it takes to wait for three other AI players to finish their turns, meaning there's a lot of sitting around waiting to regain control. Thankfully, that's where multiplayer comes in, and there are plenty of options. Local multiplayer comes with a completely customisable rulebook, whilst online multiplayer offers a number of different difficulty levels, meaning that complete newbies needn't fear being obliterated by seasoned professionals. The only real disappointment is the lack of Download Play, especially in such an obviously niche game where it would be harder to find local players with a copy of the game.

Visually, the game looks great, with brilliantly designed characters (by the same artist of Code of Princess, no less), some great card artwork, gorgeous spritework, and a clean UI. The same can't be said of the sound design, however - it's not out-and-out bad, but it's the most easily forgettable facet of the game. The limited amount of voice acting, similarly, is a nice touch, but feels like it could go a little further.

Screenshot for Culdcept Revolt on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Seasoned card battlers and intrigued newcomers alike should be interested in Culdcept Revolt. Its complexity and customisability makes it one of the most replayable games in the 3DS' library, even just in single-player, while its accessible online play and well-crafted tutorial make it a perfect jumping-on point. More than just a card gaming simulator, there's plenty of care and attention poured into this; its wealth of cards and malleable multiplayer make it a genuinely viable alternative to traditional tabletop games.

Developer

Omiya Soft

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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