The review for Cardpocalypse is going to be a two parter. First part will be an actual review. Then some opinion. I can do that, I made this site.
So what is Cardpocalypse? It is a single player card battler with light RPG elements. One that takes cues from the likes of Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone. But merges it with an intriguing story to give you a reason to play.
The card battling mechanics initially feel like a very slimmed down version of the classics. You have a main hero card, you then play other cards to attack and defend. All whilst using others to gain powers, advantages and more.
As the story progresses you’ll also be collecting more cards and packs. Using those to build bigger and better decks. Which you’ll need to do, as the game gets surprisingly deep in terms of strategies you can use.
I have played other games with card battle mechanics that don’t quite measure up to the likes of Magic. In Cardpocalypse, there is a feeling this could be expanded upon. Breaking out to become something in its own right. Think how Gwent was born and then broke out.
The theme around the card game takes cues from the popularity of Pokemon and what that expanded into. Within Cardpocalypse it is the Power Pets that has become something super popular. The Dudsdale Elementary School pupils are crazy for Power Pets.
It would have been very easy to just give this a glancing bit of attention. However, developers Gambrinous have made you really believe in the popularity of Power Pets within the world they have created. I would be all over a standalone Power Pets game such is the love for it.
The hand drawn style graphics give a feel of a Saturday Morning cartoon and it really does work. The characterisation is excellent, with each single person within the game world having a personality. The world building again is absolutely fantastic.
Look, Cardpocalypse is a fantastic game. You really should pick this up. Regardless of whether you have experience of the CCG genre, or are completely new.
I mention that this is a two parter and it took me a while to decide on whether to bother with this bit. Mainly because I don’t believe that in 2020 we should be needed to shine a light on such a thing, But here we are.
Cardpocalypse opens up with a girl as the lead character. That girl doesn’t wear girly clothes, isn’t particularly girly either. Oh and she is disabled.
Imagine that, a disabled girl who isn’t ‘traditionally pretty’ as a lead character in a video game! This shouldn’t be a thing that needs praising, but praise the developers I shall.
Am I praising them for the character they are including? No, not at all. I am praising them as there isn’t a big song and dance made about it. There is a moment where the wheelchair gets a mention. This is done in a way a young person would ask out of curiosity. Aside from that, there is no big deal made of it.
As the game progresses and more characters are introduced, you start to recognise other traits from all of them. I mentioned in the main review that the characterisation is excellent. This comes down to characters all having flaws and imperfections. Not to drive a story, or even an agenda. This is done purely because, this is how people are!
I really didn’t want to draw attention to this and have delayed this review as I weigh up the decision. In the end I really thought that, yes, this needs to be pointed out and praised.
Other games have included LGBTQ+ characters, flawed characters, etc. Yet this has felt like a plot device, or a reason to shout out they are inclusive. Or even to cause some kind of controversy. But here is Cardpocalypse and at no point did I see any of that.
I hope this is the start of something and we see more inclusion in the future. I honestly believe that the younger generations are a lot more inclusive anyway and when those are the ones making games, they will start to include characters who aren’t defined by the physical or mental disabilities. Nor defined by their gender and sexuality.
We may be a way off proper inclusion happening in AAA titles. But once again the Indie scene leads the way. This isn’t perfection by any means, but it is one hell of a start.