Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

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Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

Deck of Souls is unusual in that it combines the mechanics of a collectible card game, roguelite and… Dark Souls. Moreover, the title inherited not only the signature difficulty from the latter, but also other mechanics. We tell you what came out of it in the preview.

  • Developer:  Bigboot Studios
  • Publisher:  HeroCraft PC
  • Platforms:  PC
  • Release date:  June 20, 2024

Awakening in a crypt. You are a nameless knight. Almost everyone you meet on your way is an enemy, and none of them are so easy to fight. Deck of Souls begins, continues, and even ends like Dark Souls, but it is not another clone of it for many reasons that I want to talk about right now.

Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

But first – what about the plot? It is there, and it is more understandable than in “Souls”. The story tells about the struggle between Heaven and Hell, and on our way we will meet both monsters and angels with halos, wings and huge swords. The plot is presented through dialogues, but only those who speak English will be able to understand them.

You don’t need to be immersed in the story to play Deck of Souls – it’s fun without it. The combat system is card-based, almost traditional – the character has a deck of cards, which includes attacks, spells, defense, healing, and more.

However, to use them, the character spends his stamina, and it is not restored from the next turn – for this you need to use cards. The mechanics are unusual , but you quickly get used to it.

Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

The battle involves one to three enemies, and here we encounter another novelty for the CCG – under each enemy you can place only one card. That is, if there are three enemies, then we use three cards per battle, and if there is one, then you will have to think carefully about the choice. It is not necessary to attack everyone at once – you can, for example, use defense, evasion or recovery.

As for the difficulty of the battles, it turned out to be moderate. Simple dummies can easily knock out our knight, but this is provided that we do not read about their next attack and do not think tactically. Bosses are passable, but some have two phases. Surprisingly, hardcore is the least similar to Dark Souls.

Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

The game is much more similar to “souls” in other elements: bonfires along the way, where you can rest and level up, a system of improving characteristics and, finally, the souls themselves, which are the main currency. Moreover, there are heroic souls that drop from bosses and are needed to give equipment special properties.

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Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

Yes, yes, Deck of Souls has a full-fledged equipment system. Along the way we can find new weapons and shields, as well as armor elements – helmet, breastplate, boots and rings. Equipment gives a bonus to characteristics and, perhaps, gives the character special properties – for example, restoration of armor every three turns.

You can even upgrade your armor and weapons at the blacksmith!

Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

The structure of the passage is made like a bagel . There is an act, inside there are a bunch of events in the form of a road map. We choose where to go, and we can stumble upon a fight, a text event, a bonfire, a blacksmith, a mini-boss or a boss. If we lose, we will have to start over, but the accumulated souls will unlock new cards and pieces of equipment.

At the time of early access, the game has three acts, if you are lucky, you will complete them all in two hours. But this is unlikely, because with each act the enemies become noticeably more difficult. I am sure that it will take 5-10 hours to complete the existing content, which is quite a lot for this stage.

Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

Reliving each race is not a torment, but a pleasure thanks to the varied content. With each attempt, everything is generated in a new way, and random events dilute the battles and present surprises. In battles, you think tactically, study your enemies, look a few steps ahead – fans of tactics will be pleased.

It’s also nice to come across various references – for example, to Assassins Creed, and watch the character roll after using an evasion card, as in the same “souls”.

Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards
Deck of Souls Preview – Pixel Dark Souls with Cards

Let’s also note the pixel art – not too outdated so that you can turn away from the game, and at the same time not modern.


Judging by the roadmap, there will only be more content, although Deck of Souls already doesn’t feel like an Early Access product. Russian is sorely lacking, and some mechanics, such as upgrading equipment, still need some work.

We can confidently say that a worthy roguelight CCG awaits us, which has every chance of being on par with other popular representatives of the genre.

DECK OF SOULS ON STEAM

 
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