Inscryption – One Hell of a Hand
Who likes digital card games? Personally, I love them! So, naturally, when I saw the trailer for Inscryption, I was instantly sold. It looked like a simple and possibly addictive game that I could chill out and sink my teeth into for a nice review. After 16 or so hours though, I’d realised that Inscryption is so much more than a simple card game, and I’d never been so happy to be so wrong in my entire life … although the addictive part remained very true.
In the early hours of this delightful title, you’ll be fooled into thinking you know everything there is to know about this game. You move a token on a board one step at a time, choosing alternative paths, each one resulting in a different set of encounters represented by a symbol on the board. Some give you additional cards, others buff your existing ones, as well as new items. Eventually, you’ll end up having to battle your deck against an AI foe. The gameplay dynamics are easy to understand, it’s a simple turn-based affair, each card has attack and defensive points (as well as special abilities), and your goal is to tilt your opponents scales five points in their direction to win the match.
Strategy can often be your key to victory and if you’re lucky enough on your draw, you can even win in your first turn. The opposite can be of course true as you can also lose quite quickly as the battles can go pear-shaped in the space of a couple of turns. Boss battles add an extra element to the formula and once you understand what they are, you can strategize accordingly to secure the win and move on to the next act. Naturally, you’re doing to lose a lot as you plough through each act, sometimes it’s unlucky, often it’s bad deckbuilding or generally bad planning. Don’t fret too much though, you’re meant to lose and there are some rough-like elements that enable you to have better cards and items to help you out in the next run.
Right here you’ve probably drawn a picture in your mind about what Inscryption is all about and what to expect. Don’t worry, my brain did. Even though the game was hinting at some mysteries and lore in between my turns (where you’re able to get up from the table and walk around) nothing really prepared me for what would happen once I’d beaten the first big boss. Without dumping any spoilers here, the game … changes. More story, more mystery and flipping the core gameplay on its head! This meant learning new rules, figuring out new strategies and building decks that complement them. Inscryption continues to do this right up until the end. Finishing the game will likely leave you with many questions in your head due to the nature of the game, you’ll likely miss a bunch of secrets throughout your first playthrough. To find the answers, you’ll find an abundance of help from the community that has tied into the ARG elements that Inscryption has woven into its experience.
It’s rare that a game comes along that encourages more than one playthrough. Usually, this is because time is a factor, but also because I’ve “been there, done that” and feel no need to repeat the experience. Knowing that I’d missed hidden secrets in the form of items, cards, and lore, I felt compelled to run through it again. This is made a lot easier when the gameplay itself is insatiably fun and addictive! The battles can become easier once you figure out some optimal combinations and deck building, but sometimes the RNG God’s just aren’t on your side, and you can still lose an encounter very quickly if you’re not paying attention. This alone makes that second run all that more interesting and enjoyable.
Inscryption is full of charm, humour, and a healthy dose of mystery. Forget what you think you know about this game, it’s so much more! It’s the type of game that you’ll revisit, talk about and even buy for your friends to join in on the action. It’s simply that good! Definitely a game you’ll want to grab today.