Parents' Guide to


By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Roguelike deckbuilder doesn't quite draw a winning hand.

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If you're designing a deckbuilding video game, you get help from Richard Garfield, creator of one of the legendary collectible card games of all time, Magic: The Gathering. Add to that the folks behind the Faeria virtual board game, and on paper, Roguebook looks like it has the pedigree to be a breakout hit in the deckbuilding game genre. Unfortunately, while it might have all the pieces in place to be amazing, it never quite lives up to that potential. That's not to say the game is terrible or that it doesn't have its high points. But it just can't seem to rise beyond a level of monotony and mediocrity.

The problem with Roguebook is that it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. It's one part card game, one part board game, one part roguelike role-playing, and the rest just filled in with whatever it can. The deckbuilding aspect encourages players to collect and use as many cards as possible. The larger a player's deck, the more abilities their characters can use. The downside of this is that deck quickly become unwieldy, forcing players to rely more on the luck of the draw as opposed to any actual strategy. The board game and roguelike portions cancel each other out, encouraging players to explore every nook and cranny of each chapter on the one hand, but resetting all of that with a completely different procedurally generated board every time the player restarts. And while the game has an absolutely gorgeous and colorful look, the story's confusing at best and paper thin at worst. It all makes Roguebook a "novel" adventure at first, but one likely to collect dust on the shelf soon after.

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