Roguebook Review

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Roguebook is a roguelike deck-builder from developer Abrakam, Richard Garfield (of Magic the Gathering fame) and publisher Nacon. The game expands upon Abrakam’s previous game, Faeria and plays out on the pages of its Book of Lore. When first watching the trailer for Roguebook it tickled the part of my brain that fell for Hearthstone years ago. Have we been dealt a duff hand, or are we going to be flush with success? Read on to find out more!

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em.

Choose your team of two legendary heroes and enter the pages of the Roguebook. Build your deck from hundreds of cards as you play through each unique randomly generated run. Use your brushes and ink to fill in the map as you go! If you enjoy this review, why not check out my Not Tonight 2 review here.

Roguebook battling a boss
Carefully choosing a card to attack a boss


A successful run through Roguebook will see you traversing three randomly generated chapters, each ending with one of three boss battles. Each chapter starts with a mostly blank canvas. Your two heroes will use brushes and ink to gradually reveal the map and find gold to buy items in the chapter’s shop. You’ll discover additional cards, things to tweak your existing cards, and more brushes and ink to fill in more of the map.

Roguebook painting the map
Using ink to reveal hidden treasures

When starting a run, you’ll need to choose a team of two characters to face the dangerous world of Roguebook. This choice is easy at first, as the game starts with only two characters unlocked. An additional two characters become available as rewards for beating bosses, and a third is unlockable via DLC. Each character brings unique abilities to the battlefield, and choosing a complementary team that maximises each character’s abilities is key to success.

Roguebook buying a new card
Choices, choices. Which card to buy?

Exploring the map is all well and good, but Roguebook is all about combat. This is turn-based, with cards for both characters dealt cards from the same deck. The cards allow characters to attack and block in various ways or activate a unique ability. Some cards swap the order of the team as a side-effect. Ordering is crucial because the character on the right is in the firing line for any attacks from the enemies. Planning your use of offensive and defensive cards is key to ensuring a particular character is at the front. Playing defensive cards on a character only to accidentally swap them for their unprotected companion was a frequent mistake. Health isn’t replenished after a battle, so avoiding damage and seeking out healing potions is vital to keep your team in tip-top fighting fitness.

Graphics & Audio

Roguebook is an excellent looking game with a beautifully drawn overworld and battle backgrounds. Personality abounds in the well-animated characters and enemies. User interface elements are clear and intuitive to use. On-screen text is legible at a distance, too (convenient for my ageing eyes). Some beautifully drawn artwork accompanies special in-game events. The deluxe edition contains a digital artbook showcasing the drawings from initial sketches to finished pieces (this is also available to download as DLC).

Roguebook starting a new adventure
Entering the world of Roguebook

I played Roguebook on PS5, and the experience was always smooth with no graphical glitches. There are some nice particle effects when attacking, and it’s evident that a lot of time and effort has gone into polishing the look and feel. Sound effects and music are pleasant and atmospheric. There’s a good variety of tunes that suit the game well. You’ll be playing over and over again, so a melodic tune rather than an annoying one is a definite bonus.


In theory, Roguebook has almost infinite longevity. You’ll never play the same game twice with 200 cards, randomly generated chapters, and 20 difficulty levels. Add in the four playable characters, a wide variety of enemies and bosses, and there’s enough content to keep anyone busy for many hours.

Roguebook another boss battle
Battling another boss in Roguebook

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed playing Roguebook very much. It’s simple to start, but scratch the surface, and you’ll find hidden depths that reward repeated play. Roguebook has the ‘just one more go’ factor that will keep you playing way too late into the evening. There’s a lot of game for the money, and if you love roguelikes, then Roguebook is a beautifully presented example with enough twists and tweaks to keep your interest. Roguebook is well-deserving of the Thumb Culture Gold Award!

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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