I’m on the turn. That is, if it’s turn-based and card building strategies as Neoverse is another excellent title that has me questioning this genre, sub-genre – whatever you call it.
Decking out one of your leading ladies with a balanced selection of offensive and defensive strategies is on the cards (ha!), as well as mastering the buffs and debuffs.
One of the problematic aspects of card-based games for newcomers is the complexity. Countering an attack with an equal defence, stacking up various buffs and pulling off combos…this Neoverse review didn’t come without a few learning curves, but it’s more accessible than most.
There are three keys players in the world for this Neoverse review: Naya a gun-wielding powerhouse with the fashion sense of Bayonetta. Claire is an almighty paladin who keeps the faith, but bizarrely has a penchant for vampirism. Then’s there’s Helena who can summon gryphons and all other sorts of fantastic beasts. She knows where to find them.
Forgive me for not explaining the game’s premise as it’s a bit forgettable. The good news is the gameplay is worth your investment and not one of those ‘have a quick game’ titles.
Here you’ll end up battling it out against increasingly difficult enemies, which look great by the way, and even in the likely event that you die, you get the option to replay the level several times, which is so tempting.
There are three modes to pick from:
- Adventure Mode – choose a starting deck, completing a selection of challenges to unlock new cards, and bonuses, all the way through 20 odd levels.
- Challenge Mode – much more difficult, and the one I foolishly started with. You can’t use gear that you unlock, and it consumes your trophies (one when completing feats), but the rewards are better.
- Hunter Mode – awards bonuses and costume unlocks the further you progress. Kind of a survival option, and arguably the most appealing.
Playing a card is intuitive as you drag and drop. Forgive the ignorance as deck building is still new to me, but this is your loadout. Cards comprise of attack, defend, instant, constant and evolved cards. The latter is an easy one – you invest some points into a card to increase its effect.
Mana points represent your number of turns, and you start with five, though they can increase. Each card costs mana and that cost is displayed at the top of the card. In essence, you can play five cards each with one mana, or if you’re lucky, zero cards that cost nothing.
When mana goes, your turn is over. Before going all out, you can hover over enemies to see their next move. Countering will offer multiple boosts, as will finishing an enemy with a card that’s the equivalent of their current health.
Unfortunately, enemies can drop debuffs into your decks, and you’re forced to use them, resulting in some detriment, but freeing up a new space for the next hand.
Better Than Staring At A Tabletop
The presentation certainly helps. Though you can’t directly control your characters, it feels like a game of Final Fantasy, only with cards along the bottom of the screen.
The UI doesn’t feel cluttered, despite the screenshots. It’s possible to zoom in on the action, should you feel the need, but it’s not something I felt compelled to do as the default viewpoint captured it all.
It looks at a little overwhelming, but again, as a card novice, Neoverse was one of the most accessible in terms of getting on with it. Sure, I still don’t get (the shuffle), but that didn’t stop me enjoying, nor making progress.
Show Me The Money
Neoverse rewards players with their progress, awarding coins and skill points to spend at your leisure. The data store is the place to be. Here you can select from a range of exclusive cards, items, skill points, or the option to refresh the stock.
Items can be equipped for battle too. These include attacks, defence and buffs, but they only have one use. Surprisingly, they can turn a battle on its head in a very subtle way, and relatively cheap.
There are five tiers to the skill tree with a legendary set that’s available through progression. You don’t have to follow a set path, and you can stack up as many as you like, pending you have the points, and they’re all abilities that significantly boost your survival chances.
Stacked Against The Odds
What frustrated me was not the difficulty or the cards on offer, but the shuffle system. I couldn’t get to grips with it. In some of the more difficult stages (during the Hunter Mode), it would get to the point where there were no attack cards left, or the opponent would stack regeneration cards.
Round after round Claire (the paladin) would stack her armour, but the only attack was a stamina drain. At full health and tonnes of defence, I was invincible. Still, the match was so ‘epic’, due to the minimal damage going on, and dragged out action.
No doubt there is a straightforward explanation as this can’t be a feature, where you lose all your attack options in a round. If you’ve played the game, or even if you’re a member from Tino Games, you might be shouting at the screen saying “You just need to do X, Y and Z”. Maybe you only need X?
Regardless, it was a trying experience that was hard to shake off, marring the battles having got so far only to wait 25 minutes for a debuff to do its work, or restarting the level. Undeterred, repeat plays were not unheard of, and Neoverse is one of the best card games I’ve played.
Neoverse Review Summary
It’s quite hard to exit out of Neoverse. The battle system is intuitive, it’s pleasing on the eye with decent visuals and a varied selection of enemies. While the difficulty can be ruthless at times, the rewards pay off, and I’d encourage watching some gameplay, even if you aren’t a fan of deck-building games.