Card Survivors Review
Cards Survivors is a card game that combines action and roguelike elements developed by Family Devs. Your goal in this game is to survive; using the cards in your deck, you slowly but surely improve and refine over the course of your run. I really like my roguelikes, so let’s see what this game has to offer.
You know, when I think of Card Survivors, I didn’t really expect a sort of top-down shooter where the projectiles you shoot all depend on the cards you draw from your deck. From simple bullets and piercing shots to rockets and grenades, you'll need to improve and refine your deck if you want to have a chance of getting past Act 1. Now, it is a fine enough idea that can be fun, but it gets really samey, very quickly. You’re only tasked with one of three types of objectives in each fight: Kill X enemies, survive for X amount of time or beat the boss. There isn’t anything different other than the types of enemies you encounter, and even then, it doesn’t really matter because anyone other than a boss goes down in one shot. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either.
There are two modes: Roguelike and Survivor. Roguelike plays out as you expect, travelling through a Slay The Spire-style branching map full of battles, shops, and treasure chest, and at the end, you'll have to face a boss, having hopefully obtained better cards and bonus-granting relics to make it easier to beat. Survivor, on the other hand, just focuses on battles and seeing how far you can go before dying. They’re fine enough, but they are pretty similar. Survivor just cuts out most of the decision-making for just straight action.
That being said, as above, the action gets less interesting the more you play, especially the boss fights; they are terrible. They all play out the same, except for the amount of enemies they shoot at you. They move around the screen… and that’s it; No unique patterns or anything. They also do not have a hit flash or any indication of taking damage other than the progress bar at the bottom left corner of your screen. It really bothers me because I can't tell at a glance if I'm doing any sort of damage, and it makes all the shots feel like shooting peas. This also kind of leads into my next point, where runs just… end. If you aren’t keeping track of your hearts, losing that last one will just smash cut to the lose screen. Visual feedback is important, especially in a game where quick reactions are necessary. Don’t skip out on it.
You'll earn gold during runs, which is used to unlock more cards to obtain in subsequent attempts. I like that you can disable getting certain cards as rewards because, depending on what you unlock, it makes other choices obsolete. A one-cost single bullet can easily be replaced by a one-cost laser shot. There are some really interesting cards available, and it’s all earned just by playing the game more and more at a reasonable pace.
After all is said and done, Card Survivors isn’t bad, but doesn’t have a lot to keep you playing. Sure, there’s plenty to unlock, like starting decks, cards, and relics, but what’s there isn’t all that interesting to begin with. You can have fun here, but it’s better for breaks than long play sessions. Actually, it’s probably better as a mobile game.
Cards Survivors (Reviewed on Windows)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
Card Survivors isn’t bad, but it should’ve been so much more. It’s better as a mobile game than something you’d play on PC.