Review | Card Hunter (PC)
Card Hunter has actually been around for a while now. However, it only recently released as a free-to-play title on Steam.
After putting some time in with it both pre- and post-release, it’s safe to say that Blue Manchu Games has a great tabletop game on their hands. Sure, it may not be as fun as being with friends rolling dice, but it does come close.
The comparisons to Dungeons and Dragons has to be made. Each dungeon is started with a module and background information before being tossed into a dungeon. Some only have one battle, while others may have three, four or more battles. Thankfully, health is replenished after each battle, so your team will be at their best for each battle.
The modules are entertaining to read when you come across them. Don’t just skip past the text, make sure to read about what castle you’re saving or swamp you’re wandering through. They’re funny to read, but also give information about the battles ahead.
In a dungeon, moves are all done via cards your character draws each turn. There are quite a few different types of cards, as well. They range from movement, to attack, to equipment, shields, abilities, and hybrid cards.
Like in D&D, you can only move a certain amount of spaces a turn, depending on your class and card used. However, there are augment cards, like Teleport, that can move you around quicker. Attacks also range from a weak attack to massive attacks that can take enemies down in a shot. Making things a lot easier, though, is the ability to right-click on any card to see what a card does and when the best time to use it is.
Better cards are earned through the loot you get in dungeons. The loot you get come with packs of new cards that can make you stronger or make your character focus on certain aspects in fights, such as healing or long-ranged attacks. It’s always good to have a balance of attack and ability characters, although certain battles can make having some certain abilities more advantageous.
Strategy also come into play with the cards you use. Sure, you could blow through your hand each turn, but it’s always wise to do a weak attack first to try and draw shields out, or see what an enemy has in their hand. If you know they have equipment, it’s also wise to use some stronger attacks to let some damage slip by their equipment.
You can also hold up to two cards back each turn. Any more than that and you’re forced to discard. Each round, you’re guaranteed one movement card, so unless you need a lot of movement next round, sometimes discarding a walk can be a good move to keep more helpful cards.
Outside of dungeons, there are towns to visit and recruit fighters from, shops to buy new weapons and armor from, and plenty of more missions to take on, with most resetting daily to grind and get more gold and XP. Shops range from common item shops, to rare items that cost 1,000s of gold and some ability tokens you get as you level up to rare items you can get in chests via pizza slices.
Pizza slices are the in-game currency you can buy with cash. They can let you buy cosmetic figures or extra chests with goods, or can be exchanged for more gold. The pizza can also let you subscribe to a membership that can give you an extra item every time you loot a chest, giving you rarer items quicker.
Another aspect I didn’t spend as much time with was the multiplayer, although it was a blast to play when I did. You can take on dungeons with friends to add new layers of strategy in, or just to mess around and level up together. You can also view other multiplayer matches to check in on their strategies and see what works and doesn’t work, and what to add to your own strategy.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the graphics. All the pieces in the game look like pieces you’d find in an actual tabletop set. They’re realistic, but look hand-drawn and colorful at the same time. The artwork is beautiful, and a big highlight of the title.
Overall, Card Hunters shows just how great a free-to-play title can be if it creates a unique experience around the in-game currency. I was often left wanting one more battle as time slipped away into the early morning hours, and never felt like I was missing out on a greater time by not buying pizza. The title offers a great game without spending a cent, one that fans of board games and humor shouldn’t miss out on.