Release Date: December 17, 2020
Reviewed On: Xbox One
Genre: Deckbuilder RPG
Sometimes my preconceived judgment can limit me from picking up a game I know nothing about. One look at the Tinogames-developed deckbuilding RPG Neoverse and it’s tough to justify a purchase unless you’re a fan of cute fantasy characters. However, while the character’s looks open the door, I found a decent deckbuilding experience with an addictive gameloop.
I think Neoverse has a story, but I honestly can’t remember any of it. All I know is that you’re allowed to play as three characters who have no real distinct personality traits outside of their looks. The story somehow has these three characters who stem from different universes team up to fight some monsters and save the world. Yea, as you can see, the story isn’t significant at all. Sure, it would have been a nice way to understand these character’s situations further, but the developer didn’t even attempt to explore a narrative here.
Regardless, what sets these characters apart are their decks, which revolve around 300 cards and many unique skills for each character. Each character has a few deck types to begin the adventure with, which will play into your strategy. The main adventure mode has you fighting through 15 waves of enemies, with bosses that cap off every 5 stages. Following the last battle, you complete the game and start over with some new unlockables.
Neoverse’ lacks in unlockable content that mostly has you playing for enhancement items and costumes, but that’s really about it. The roguelike elements revolve around really knowing which kind of deck you’ll end up with after your general choice of themed cards. For example, if you choose to start with a poison deck, you’ll find build a deck around this theme, but it’s also possible to purchase cards outside of it to create a variety of possibilities.
Strategy during gameplay also plays into the hero that you choose. Playing as Naya and using her status effect decks provides an extremely different experience compared to Helena’s summoner deck, where the matches are a bit longer since you’re relying on staying well defended while commanding your creatures to do the dirty work. Further, playing the same starting deck twice will force you to discover new strategies based on the significant amount of cards available.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed figuring out the best ways to approach the matches, but like any roguelike, there are runs where you get dealt a bad hand and will meet an early death. In retrospect, Neoverse is exceptionally difficult and doesn’t take it easy on the player. Without a plan in place, it’s easy to die on the first wave of enemies.
Thankfully, the game telegraphs enemy turns appropriately by letting you know what cards they are going play. Characters have 5 SP to use each turn, with cards using anywhere between 0 and 4 depending on the card’s strength. Looking at your HP bar will show if the enemy is about to attack, so you know how much to defend, which was super helpful.
While there are ways to heal during a battle, the game doesn’t make this too easy. Items can be purchased from a store with gold earned during the run, but these items are also randomized. Skills can also be unlocked after gaining levels during a run, which provides passive abilities to characters.
What allows Neoverse to stand out is the type of cards available. There are some fun combinations to discover and ways to turn around a losing match in your favor after drawing the right card. These also played into the characters’ skills and had me playing multiple matches to test my ability to adapt to card types.
Enemies also have the ability to add cards to your deck that hinders your choices. Things like not being able to attack or defend are just a few of the ways your strategy will need to be adjusted. This is also affected by status effects that can cause recurring damage or other hinder effects. However, you can also stack the status effects on your enemies with cards that can easily cause serious damage.
Now, let’s take a quick second to point out the sexual aspects, which come with the three main characters. The point is, if you can’t get past these visuals, then this game might not be for you, even if you’re a fan of deck builders. Given that the clothing gets destroyed at low health and the main unlockable content are extra costumes, your decision might be easy to make. I found that it wasn’t as in your face as it could have been and only wished that I understood why each of these girls was fighting.
Neoverse suffers from only a dash of premium benefits for those who put some money in early on. If players purchase a costume pack, they’ll be given 100 trophies to buy items, which will make the game exceptionally easier. If you want to restart after a death, it’ll cost 5 trophies, so it also lowers some of the more frustrating elements of the roguelikes systems.
There are other modes available and daily quests—each with their own scoring system and rules to play. What’s most important is that no matter which mode, character, or deck you choose, your experience will be unique, which only keeps you coming back for more.
Neoverse doesn’t have a reason why these women jump through portals to fight monsters, but who cares with a deckbuilding roguelike system this addictive. Its high difficulty will force you to stay on your toes, but there’s enough here to keep playing for hours. Still, if you can’t get past the lack of narrative, uninspired rewards, and design, then you might want to play something else.
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