Aces & Adventures is the latest release from Yogscast Games (Golfie) alongside indie publisher Triple B Games. The game is a deckbuilding fantasy RPG where combat is powered by poker. Luckily for me, you only need to know the main combinations of hands available. The closest comparison I’ve played is Slay the Spire but Aces & Adventures definitely is making its mark on the deckbuilding genre.
Aces & Adventures is available now on Windows PC.
Aces & Adventures up’s the ante in this high-stakes fantasy game
I was excited to play Aces & Adventures as I’m a fan of the genre and Yogscast Games. If you’re enjoying the game or excited to please leave a comment below about what you think.
Aces & Adventures takes place in Cardrasil, a fantasy land home to the Life Tree. Both are under threat from Invernus, a great evil steadily growing in power unless the 5 main heroes stop them. The main campaign mode shows the epic journey across 13 chapters which can be completed by each of the heroes. Each chapter takes place in different regions of Cardrasil and paints a picture of a world I would love to learn more about. With each new chapter, the art and voice-over narrator captivated me almost immediately. However, I would have liked to have known more about the world. And with the 13 chapters, they begin in Spring and the following seasons are increasingly more difficult, almost like a new game plus mode.
I wasn’t sure what to think of a deck builder built around poker but Aces & Adventures made it work. Having a basic knowledge of poker such as aces are high, pairs etc will you keep you in good stead. The better hand wins and deals damage based on the number of cards or forcing a draw for no damage. And after a time the poker part of gameplay blended with the fantasy story and the numerous ability and equipment cards each hero has. With 5 playable characters based on classic archetypes from the warrior to the wizard, there’s a class to suit everyone. I had a lot of fun with the variety of each character and the library of unique and powerful cards they have. Discovering the playstyle which worked best for me was so satisfying, especially when finding my rhythm with custom decks.
Each chapter of Aces & Adventures comes with various enemy encounters which kept me on my toes. The abilities and tactics they employ were equal parts fun and frustrating but did encourage me to try new approaches. Each character can reach level 30 using mana obtained through combat and gain all sorts of specialised cards. Spending mana is key to upping your game as the enemies do. The chapter system works well with how easy it is to leave and pick up where you left off or even revisit earlier points in the game.
I did feel thrown into the deep end without really knowing how some mechanics worked e.g. the number of cards an enemy draws is based on their defence minus the PC’s offence. In combat encounters, card movement often wasn’t smooth and even bordered on irritating sometimes. So if you wanted to take a break from the main campaign there is the War of the Branches which is a procedurally generated mode where you follow a branching map choosing where to go, similar to Slay the Spire. I enjoyed War of the Branches as something different and a good way to test my mettle with some custom decks.
Graphics & Audio
Aces & Adventures has various settings & effects and while not necessarily needed, will keep PC gamers happy. These include resolution up to 2160p, high-quality graphics mode, animated lighting and ambient occlusion. In my 10 or so hours of playing, I found that the game ran smoothly even on the highest graphics and resolution. I mentioned it earlier but the card design is stunning and easily my favourite part of the game. Even the most unpleasant monsters appear with vibrant designs and detail that even after losing combat encounters I still felt the cards didn’t lose their shine. I really enjoyed card animations the top-down perspective during combat and how it went hand in hand with the description of enemies encountered.
Being built around deckbuilding, I really enjoyed how the story was delivered in the form of cards too. I found the voice of the narrator did a great job of delivering the story piece by piece. From hearing tidbits about the characters to the world itself, I was invested almost immediately. Even when I was in a hurry to get back to a fight I just lost I’d still appreciate the narration. Other aspects of sound design from hero one-liners NPC voices and creature sounds to the environment were all fun. Often times this made the outcome of combat encounters more impactful, whether having won or lost. The audio is definitely another strong plus of Aces & Adventures.
I have played over 10 hours of Aces & Adventures as I can see easily double that in the campaign alone. The variety of deckbuilding among the five heroes and the different tactics available on the branching routes across chapters gives a lot of replayability. I have only completed Spring so far so finishing all four seasons too will keep players busy. As will work to get all 59 Steam achievements. I only scratched the surface of War of the Branches which is a procedurally generated mode similar to Slay the Spire. You choose the route along a map and the various points show encounters you face along the way. I suspect there will be many hours of content for everyone to enjoy here just like I have so far.
Aces & Adventures pleasantly surprised me with its engaging narrative & worldbuilding and incorporation of poker as the primary combat mechanic. Don’t let the poker element put you off as the card library and enemy encounters will help you find your perfect deck. I did feel thrown in the deep end a bit but it is worthwhile to power through.
The game looks and sounds great, especially when going hand in hand. The card designs are stunning and the narrator had me hooked on the story and keen to learn more. And between the main campaign as the seasons go on plus War of the Branches mode will keep you busy for many hours.
I had a fantastic time playing Aces & Adventures and I’m excited to play more. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more content. I hope you enjoyed what you read then check out my review of Trolley Problem Inc. also from Yogscast Games.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.