Deck of Ashes Short Summary Thoughts
Disclosure: These thoughts are based off of a review copy provided for free.
Deck of Ashes, developed by AYGames, is a game I’ve been playing recently and today it was released officially out of Steam Early Access. This is a singleplayer deck-building game that specifically caught my attention because of previous games I’ve played like Slay The Spire and Monster Train. Although Deck of Ashes features Badlands, an endless game mode similar to Slay The Spire, the singleplayer campaign experience is the mode I was most interested in. Without getting into too many specifics because I haven’t completed my version 1.0 experience, the singleplayer experience has a bit of a learning curve and can feel like a grind if things aren’t breaking right for you.
The campaign has four characters to choose from, but the Early Access only had three and I spent most of my time playing as the Pyromancer, Lucia, mostly to try to learn one character and the mechanics of the game and beat the campaign. Outside of the gameplay, the storytelling with the art and voice overs are much better than the story itself, as the overall goal is to stop Lady Death. Another typical story of power falling into the wrong hands, but the game does a good job of telling the backstory of each character. The gameplay is where the game will either keep you learning or lose you completely because of all the variables being presented before you. The game is a rogue-like experience, but if you lose you get reward points to unlock new cards for your next run. What the game does very well is that every battle appears lively with the animations and each character has a certain build that you are more likely going to want to try to build your card deck for maximum efficiency. The resources found in the game allow you to invest them with merchants in your camp and have game-changing effects to your experience, This is a blessing and curse to the experience, because until you figure out the best investments you will likely not go far in the game and have to constantly restart. Gaining rewards points and unlocking new things between runs isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but runs in Deck of Ashes can be long and frustrating if you lose.
Deck of Ashes gameplay is about making card choices, as the game revolves around upgrading and crafting cards with recipes. This is the part of the game I will be checking in my 1.0 experience to see if any major changes were made because there needs to be more options. I was able to beat the main campaign with the pyromancer on my 4th or 5th try. but that was mostly due to finding the most efficient formula for investment of my various resources and figuring it out the best crafting choices.
My concern with Deck of Ashes is accessibility and resource investment within the camp where bad choices are almost game-ending decisions. The crafting also needs to be a bit more expansive in the official release. This is just a short summary slice of how I feel so far, but I’ll be playing through the official release to examine if the experience feels different, not to mention a new character to play with and the Epilogue!
My complete review of the official release will be posted in the next several days, but these are just some thoughts I have of the game without getting into too much detail of everything.