Eugene Sax reviewing for Gamecritics.com. Today, we’ll be looking at Cardaclysm: Shards of the Four.
Cardaclysm is a deckbuilding collectible card game with action RPG elements built in. Players take control of a sorcerer who tried to bite off more than they could chew, and unleashed the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Escaping through a portal, the dark sorcerer takes up his deck of monsters and spells and will try to seal away the end of the world.
Players will explore procedurally generated worlds, defeat enemies and collect resources like golden runes and soul orbs used to play cards. While exploring, players may come across buffs to help them in their next battle or artifacts that will give bonuses to cards that share the same allegiance as the artifact.
Combat is turn based. Players will draw four cards, play as many as they want, and can attack with each monster. Monsters may have special abilities like poisoning monsters for extra damage, frostbite to decrease the attack power of a monster, or regenerate to restore health between turns. After the player makes all their moves, the turn passes to the enemies for their attacks, and combat ends when one side is defeated.
Once players defeat all the monsters in the area, one of the four horsemen will try to chase the player down. Players have the choice to take on the boss to progress the overall story, or to find the portal to escape back to the interdimensional pub. This pub serves as a place to buy or trade cards, accept quests so they can earn free cards, or store cards that players aren’t currently using.
I admire the game moving away from the other roguelike deckbuilders on the market to give itself a unique edge. Allowing players to collect cards to fine tune their deck between each world really gives the player a chance to make their deck their own and to learn the ins and outs of all the cards in it. However, the grind for that exact right card brings the game’s pace to a halt. Similar to a physical collectible card game, grinding through levels to try and find the card needed to make the deck perfect can be tiresome, even with the combat being as good as it is.
Resources also tend to be a detriment to the game’s progression. It’s very unbalanced in how often players will be able to pick up runes and orbs to be able to play the stronger spells and monsters they will pick up, especially compared to the difficulty of the monsters they’ll be fighting. I appreciate the game wanting me to change up my deck and be adaptive for each fight, but the tools don’t make it easy, or sometimes possible to do that. There were many occasions where a monster that was significantly more powerful than anything I had earned up to this point stopped me dead in my tracks.
Overall, I got what I wanted out of Cardaclysm. It scratched the itch for building a deck that didn’t reset if I lost (like a normal roguelike would) so I could hone in my strategy after each match with each new card, but couldn’t get past the game not giving me the resources to be able to try everything I wanted to do. At the end of the day, that grind unfortunately just stops being worth it.
The game is starting to get quite a lot of updates to tweak the balance of resources and the cards, but I”ll give it a couple of updates before I dive back into this game again.
Overall, Cardaclysm, for me, gets a 6 out of 10.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Elder Games and published by Headup. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 12 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated not rated. Many of the monsters sling fire or stab with weapons, but there is no blood to be found. One of the demons wears some scantily clad armor. There is no foul language in the game.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Text on the cards and hovering over them will increase the size slightly, but the text is not resizable overall. Playing with no sound doesn’t hinder gameplay. This game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: This game has no remappable controls, and there is no control diagram. Players can user WASD to move the character, or can click with the mouse to move the character. Clicking will also interact with NPCs like the merchant in the pub to buy cards, and is used to drag and drop cards to play them.
While Sonic and Street Fighter were great places to start, his first love was Final Fantasy X when his dad bought a PS2. Ever since, that love for gaming has evolved -- there are a number of game worlds out there, and he intends to explore them all. RPG to horror, platformers to casual and everything in between -- if it’s available, he’ll play it.
While his time is short between writing reviews, tabletop gaming, and attempting to start a cheesecake business, he has caught all 806 pokemon and can speedrun Star Fox 64 in less than 40 minutes. He’s always looking for new things to try and new challenges to conquer. You can find him on Twitter -- @eugene_sax.